Resolutions for Writers

2011 will be behind us in a matter of a few days. While you may or may not remember the past twelve months fondly, the start of a new year always seems full of endless possibilities and opportunities. That rosy glow of newness and untarnished optimism is all January has going for it, in my opinion. The month is like a fresh snowfall, before all the exhaust and dog pee of the rest of the year ruin it. (I’m looking at you, February.)

So make the most of 2012! And to help, here’s a list of potential new year’s resolutions for writers.

Work smarter. This might mean write faster, to stop second guessing yourself. Or, this might mean write slower, to think about your characters and their motivations a bit more carefully. I tend to fall into the second category, where the story is in my head but not on the page. (Only, I *think* it’s on the page.) Anyway, what’s your weakness? Plot development? Character arcs? Now that you’ve identified it, how can you overcome it?

Keep it classy. Don’t diss other authors, pubbed or unpubbed. Don’t badmouth agents and editors, either. If you get negative reviews, try to rise above. I haven’t been doing this long, but I have noticed the romance community is fairly small and professionalism matters. Remember, people have short memories for good deeds and looooooong memories for bad ones.

Network. If I had a dollar for every writer pal who has answered a question for me, offered comments on my work, or said a kind word at exactly the right time this year, I’d be vacationing somewhere warm right now. A support network is valuable and rare, and I’ve found most writers to be a helpful, supportive bunch. So get out there and connect with other writers, pay it forward.

Challenge yourself. Are you still tinkering with your manuscript, too scared for anyone to see it? This year, make a goal to send your work out to contests and critique partners. Or maybe try writing in a different genre, see where that takes you. Improve your craft by taking a creative writing class or a workshop on character development. Pitch your story at a conference. Whatever it is, take a risk in 2012.

Read. Use those Amazon and Barnes & Noble gift cards you got for the holidays and read whatever you can get your hands on. Include classics and best sellers. See what the popular authors are doing and try and figure out why it works. Try new authors, too. What about their debut story caught an editor’s eye?

Write. It’s easy to fall into a funk and stop writing. But force yourself to sit down and bang out some words–even if they’ll get changed later. I’m aware this is easier said than done, so find what works for you and make it a habit. I’m neither a morning person nor a night owl. (More of an afternoon gal, to tell the truth.) So most of my writing gets done as soon as the kids are at school, and I’ve had a cup of coffee.

Happy new year from the Femmes! We wish everyone a healthy, happy, and productive 2012.

So, let us know your resolutions this year….

Leave a comment


  1. Janet Pepsin

     /  December 26, 2011

    Are you talkin’ about ME? I resemble that remark…and that one…and that one.

    Great post, Joanna, and of course, has me wondering…is this a virtual kick in the butt from you to me? As you know, I’ve been in that writing funk. Luckily, like your third point, I have a network of supportive writing peeps who keep encourage me, while at the same time, keeping it real.

    Resolutions made, with one more…to stop being so hard on myself. Better to write crap, than to not write at all.

    Thanks for all your support this year. Our next Femmes post will be in 2012!

    • Ha! No finger pointing on my end, I swear. But if it helps motivate you, then I’ll take some of the credit. 😉

      • Janet Pepsin

         /  December 26, 2011

        Ohh, boy, better proofread my comments better…two typos. I need a drink!

  2. Resolution number one – to visit more often on blogs such as this! Number two – to make 2012 a year of learning, starting with your suggestions on networking and reading. Thanks and Happy New Year!

  3. Great post! This year, I’ve made a lot of progress in the networking area. From getting my fab critique partner (you), to now having the rest of the Femmes and others. It feels like a writing family and it’s great to feel so much support and encouragement.

    Next year I’m going to continue to refine my craft, focusing on CONFLICT. I’ve had Deb Dixon’s book, Goal, Motivation, & Conflict, on my bookshelf for the better part of the year and have yet to read it. That’s on the TOP of my 2012 “to read” list.

    Happy New Year. I see great things happening for us all!!

  4. hieubietusa

     /  December 26, 2011

    Great and insightful…I received three different types of flashlights for Christmas…I think people were telling me I am in the dark.
    Anyway, do you think adding non-fiction reading to your research for your fictional story is worth a mention?
    I find “true life” full of incredible incidents and minor details that are stranger than any the imagination can devise.
    A critique partner…yep…I think the key is to award that partner total authority on what to keep or change. (And only that person!)
    Thanks again, your posts are steroids to my soul…they add muscle to my words

    Hey, that was a pretty good line.

    • Hi Joe! Good point re: non-fiction. I’m reading a biography on Thomas Rowlandson (Regency cartoonist) as research for my next ms. So it’s definitely a good idea to read whatever you feel might benefit your stories. Good luck with all those flashlights!

  5. Great post! I totally agree with everything you’ve said. Networking and meeting such wonderfully supportive people, such as our fab. critique partners has made me a more confident writer, and hopefully a bit more savvy about business of writing. Cheers!

  6. Good advice! Thank you for being part of my valuable and lovely writerly support network this year 🙂

  7. Nicole Doran

     /  December 28, 2011

    Great points Joanna and I too need that virtual (or literal) kick in the behind this coming year. I’m going to focus more – set the goals – whether daily or weekly and stick to them. I find I’m much better with a deadline – self imposed or not. And, I’m going to find a critique partner more solitary writing for me.
    Good luck in 2012 and let’s all make it productive and successful!
    Cheers! Nicole Doran

  1. Resolutions for Writers » Joanna Shupe

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