I had a good laugh with this. I wrote it, posted it, and then discovered I’d blogged on this same topic in October. Ditzy! Oh well. After removing it, I decided to repost it. Maybe someone needs to hear it twice. Here ’tis…

It’s December. You know what that means, writers. Before the Christmas rush is fully upon us and then the new year, it’s time to plan for 2014.

Every year at this time, we writers need to set some goals for the next twelve months and plan how we’re going to meet those goals. Maybe I can help by offering a few suggestions. Or, if you’re like me and you work best when someone actually expects something from you, consider this a homework assignment from me. If you don’t complete the assignment, I’ll come by your desk and rap your knuckles with a ruler!

1. Resolve to come up with at least three new book ideas during the year and write a full proposal for each one. But before you go to the agonizing trouble of putting together a full proposal, it wouldn’t hurt to simply query a good editor or fellow writer and see what they think about the ideas. No sense going to all that work if the idea is a non-starter.

2. If you write fiction, resolve to write one complete first draft of a new novel…one you’ve not yet started.

3. If your writing career is stalled, ask yourself why. List the reasons and the solutions. Are you bored by your writing? Discouraged? Distracted? For each reason for your stall, I want you to come up with three viable things you can do to remove whatever obstacle is holding you back. Don’t just think about this part of the assignment, write out your answer.

4. Decide which writer’s conference you’ll attend in 2014. Not IF you’ll attend a conference, but which one. It should go without saying that you really must make attendance at a conference a high priority. If finances are an obstacle, please know that several of the major conferences offer partial scholarships. Hold a bake sale if you have to. Or ask your church to support this as part of your writing ministry. I’ve known a few writers whose churches have paid their way to a good conference.

5. Decide exactly what you’re going to do to improve your craft. Take a class? Read a good book on writing every month? Take an online course? (Christian Writer’s Guild is a great option).

6. Do you have a good agent? If he or she doing a reasonable job? If not, consider moving on after talking with the agent as to why the relationship isn’t working. (Maybe it’s your fault, not the agent’s). If you don’t have an agent yet, is it time to find one?

7. Evaluate how your writing space is working out. Do you have a space dedicated to writing or are you still using the kitchen table? Maybe it’s time to set aside a place and a time for your writing and stick to it.

8. Do you have the tools you need? If you’re a fiction writer, do you have (or need) Scrivener or some other software program? How about a new computer?

9. What will you read next year? You really MUST be an avid reader to be a better writer. Read, read, read!

10. How will you pray differently for your writing next year? Has God given you a Word about your writing you need to heed? If not, ask God what He wants you to do. Who knows, maybe He’ll tell you He’d really rather see you take up Rhumba lessons. Not everyone is meant to write. But if you are meant to be a writer, planning ahead will help.

11. What will do you to increase your ability to market your writing? Yes, I know. You want to write, you don’t like all that marketing stuff. I don’t either….but it’s part of the process of becoming a successful writer. My advice is to start small and take it one step at a time. It all adds up eventually.

12. Stay focused. See yourself as a writer and act accordingly. Having goals helps. Go for it in 2014. No more procrastinating! (Or I’ll rap your knuckles again!)

If any of you are already planning, feel free to add to my list. What did I leave out?

5 replies
  1. Judith Robl
    Judith Robl says:

    Thank you for re-posting this, Nick. Some of us could use a re-post once a week. In lieu of which, I think I’ll print and tack on my bulletin board. My writing space is currently a total shambles in the process of moving to a new room in the house. So if you have a spare prayer….

    Reply
  2. Kathy
    Kathy says:

    Yes, I’m glad for the reminder, too. I actually have this printed out and planned to take it on a mini retreat this weekend. I’m helping with a brand new grandson, instead. So now I can work on it during those 2:00am feedings.

    Reply
  3. Janalyn Voigt
    Janalyn Voigt says:

    I followed my vision and invited other writers to share costs for a yearly week-long writing retreat. We don’t schedule anything except a church service Sunday morning. That way we can focus on writing. We’ve found it so useful that none of us would miss it. We’re going on our fourth year. When we started, only one of us was published. Now just one of us isn’t.

    Reply
  4. Kathy Bailey
    Kathy Bailey says:

    Yeah, thanks, Nick, I read this in Oct. but it’s worth hearing twice, like watching some Christmas specials I can quote by heart. Some of my goals for this year went up in flames, but it’s surprising how much I did accomplish. It’s better to aim at something than not to aim at all.
    I started something new this year, praying for every agent and editor who rejected me. It was a bumper crop.

    Reply

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