Most people make resolutions about the personal changes they want to make in the new year: lose weight, save money, spend more time with the kids. These are all great ideas, but they're aimed at improving your personal life. What about your life as an author? This list of authors' resolutions gives you seven different new habits to form that will take your writing career to the next level.
Write Every Day
If you think you should only write when the muse hits you, you're never going to finish one book, much less create a career as an author. Working writers write. It's their job. You may not write for eight hours a day (not even Stephen King does that), but you've got to get into the habit of writing something every single day. Set aside a time during which you'll do nothing but write and stick to it, even if you only produce 100 words to start. Don't worry, you'll get faster.
Cut Back on Social Media
Yeah, sure, social media is a great way to meet other authors and get great ideas. The problem with it is that it's such a time suck. Unless you set an alarm and stick to it, every time you log onto Facebook you're risking falling down a four-hour rabbit hole of kitten videos and author memes. Schedule your social media time just like your other daily appointments, and only after you've produced your words for the day.
How many more books could you sell if you could write twice as fast? Instead of spending twice the amount of hours working on your novels, learn to use dictation. The king of dictation right now is Dragon Naturally Speaking, although there are lesser options available. It's very common for authors to double their word count within a couple of weeks of daily Dragon use. You know those authors that publish good books monthly? Most of them use dictation.
Go to a Writer's Conference
Look through the listings and make plans to go to one writer's conference this coming year. You'll get a little bit of inspiration just by signing up and buying the ticket. A writer's conference is a great opportunity to take classes, learn new skills, make friends in your genre, replenish your idea box and have some fun while doing it. Plus, you might get a chance to talk with some of the writers you've loved for years. It's a fantastic way to take your career to the next level.
Learn New Tech
Whether you love new tech or still love your flip phone, there's always something new to learn that can help you in your career. Do you write in Word? Check out Scrivener or one of the other novel-writing programs. Always in a rush? Look into Evernote and find out how many words you can add by writing five minutes at a time. Look through a list of apps to find Pomodoro timers, productivity helpers, writing prompts, and a whole host of other author aids. Try downloading a good keyboard and writing on your phone in short sprints. Keep experimenting until you find some new tech that works for you.
Solidify Your Branding
If you're going to have a career as an author, you've got to create a brand. Think of a Stephen King novel. You can always pick one from across the room, right? The same goes for James Patterson, Debbie Macomber, or any other bestselling author you can think of. It's not an accident that everything always looks the same when you look at their work. Make a decision about fonts, colors, backgrounds, attitudes, and anything else you can think of. Check everywhere that's connected with your author brand and make sure they all match. Your Facebook profile should match your email signature, your website, and your newsletter heading.
Up Your Newsletter Game
If you've got a newsletter, great. If you don't have one yet, start there. Dedicate this coming year to killing it with your newsletter. Learn to set up a series of automatic emails that everyone gets when they sign up for your newsletter. Create a short story in your series world that readers can get for free just for signing up. Start sending out newsletters every two weeks, filled with personal information, book recommendations in your genre, questions for your readers, and anything else you can think of to keep people engaged. Make them your pen pals, not just your customers.
Keep the Faith and May the Force be with You!