Ten Ways to Make New Year’s Writing Resolutions a Reality

It’s early January, and my New Year’s writing resolutions have been set. Now the question becomes how am I going to see them become realities? How do I make sure that they don’t pop quick as a bubble?

There’s an often quoted list of J.K. Rowling’s top 13 writing tips that circulate through the blogosphere. And her first and primary tip is: “Be ruthless about protecting writing days.”

So how do writers go about protect writing days? That’s a very good question. And the answer is – – I have a good idea of how but sometimes I veer off course. But when writing is going well and I’m in the flow, here’s what works for me.

1) Writing regularly starting in the morning.
Once upon a time I used to be a night owl but mothering three and all nighters collided, and I had to force myself to become a morning person. Left to my own devices, I’d probably would still write into the night and the wee hours of the morning. But that’s not where I’m at these days.

2) Write first and then check email.

3) Write first and then check social media.
If number three sounds like number two it is. But I figured they each deserved their own little section, because they are both so deliciously distracting.

4) Give myself a deadline, and preferably an outside deadline.
But that isn’t always possible. So I’ll sort of make up deadlines. When I used to regularly send my work to editors and agents at conferences that worked well. But now my regular critique group and critique partner serve this function very well.

5) Use Freedom software so I can’t cheat and violate number two and three.
Basically Freedom software turns off or rather locks up the Internet for a designated period time. It’s an internet, social media and app blocker. I’m weak so I need this.

6) Read books that inspire me to become a more fearless writer (and reader).
Really trying to work on getting over being a weanie.

7) Tell my husband that I will not be responding to text messages and email when I’m in the writing room.
I tell him that if he needs to speak with me, it needs to be urgent. Of course, it’s amazing how urgent grocery lists can be lol.

8) No movies or television during the week.
My chill time involves exercising and books. Believe me, I’d not always so perfect on this one.

9) Don’t over volunteer.
This is very hard for me. But I’ve gotten much better over the years. There was a time when I was doing too much and running myself ragged. Now I try to be very choosy. But I never say no to bake sales.

10) Remember why I’m doing this writing thing. Remember to have fun.
Sure, that’s a cheat since it’s two things, but they’re related, I think.

How do you make sure that you execute your resolutions?

Hillary Homzie is the author of the Queen of Likes (Simon & Schuster MIX 2016), The Hot List (Simon & Schuster MIX 2011) and Things Are Gonna Be Ugly (Simon & Schuster, 2009). She can be found at hillaryhomzie.com and on her Facebook page.

Hillary Homzie
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  2. Yes, I completely understand.

    I really do enjoy the connecting with writers, readers, teachers and librarians via social media. The trick, for me, is to make sure that all of my writing time isn’t on Twitter lol!

  3. Rosanne,
    I really like your timer idea. That would help a lot. Could work for an early email check as well (it’s tricky–right? You want to be responsive but not get lost).

    Okay, the timer is going to go on my list! Thanks, Rosanne!

  4. Great tips Hillary! I’m not a morning person at all and I can’t entirely ignore my email first thing in the morning but I do like to set a timer when I go on social media. A ten to fifteen minute check in first thing and then at lunch helps me balance the need to be in communication with agent and editors and maintain my social media presence with forward progress on new work.

  5. These are great suggestions! Especially two and three which I seem to have a particular problem with.

  6. I agree, Natalie. It’s funny how I’ve become more of a morning person after so long as a late nighter. But I like it. It’s dark and quiet and I can hear my own thoughts.

    And I agree about the schedule/appointment. It really helps me. However, I have friends that do great with binge/purge writing.

  7. I think I need to read this list before I started writing this morning, Valerie. The first thing I did after I got up was to check some social media responses/correspondence. Not a bad idea but easy to get lost. Better for me to work 30 minutes to an hour and then check it.

    Thanks for the reminder about intention. I needed that!

  8. I love this list, Hillary! I am practicing some of these, but need to be more intentional about others. Thank you.

  9. Great tips. I’m a real morning person, so I like to get up and get my writing done too. Showing up at the appointed time is so important.