January 03, 2016

12 Ways to Make the Write Resolution by Steph Beth Nickel

Happy New Year, one and all!

As much as possible, I want to incorporate the following 12 goals throughout 2016:

1. Be on the lookout for inspiration.

Unless you have a better memory than I do, you’ll want to record inspiration when it hits. I have a half dozen tiny notebooks for different subjects (i.e.: blog ideas, quotes, books to read, etc.). You may prefer to use your smartphone instead. I would, but mine died.

2. Set up your writer’s nook.

What do you need close at hand when you write? Pictures of your family? A shelf of skills development books? Your journal and a stash of multi-coloured gel pens? Your favourite beverage and the busyness of a crowded coffee shop? I’m most productive when I sit at my computer and stay off the Internet. A clutter-free workspace is the best, but it’s rarely a reality.

3. Enlist your support system.

You, my fellow writers, are a tremendous encouragement to me. Knowing I’m part of a community that “speaks my language” is amazing. I encourage you to connect with other writers from time to time. Although my writers’ group doesn’t meet over the winter months, we stay in touch via Facebook. Plus, I’m a member of COMPEL and The Word Guild as well as InScribe of course.

4. Write regularly—if possible, every day.

I recently heard of a pastor who also writes books. If the blank screen is taunting him, sometimes he types gibberish just to get his fingers moving. There’s something to be said for simply writing “whatever” until the words begin to flow. Obviously, we want to go beyond typing random letters and writing nonsense to actually creating something we’ll be pleased to share, but we all have to start each session by simply putting fingers to keyboard or pen to paper.

5. Set a specific writing goal.

Do you want to write a new blog post each week? A short ebook or novella for publication online every two to six months? A full-length novel or nonfiction book for print within the year? If we break each task into bite-sized pieces and set deadlines for each piece, we are much more likely to achieve our goal(s)—at least I know it’s true of me.

6. Read skills development books and blog posts.

There’s always more to learn. Plus, it’s important to incorporate what we’re learning rather than just accumulate the knowledge.

7. Read other books as well.

No matter what we read, we can pick up on things we’d love to incorporate into our own work—and things we’d like to avoid.

8. Enter writing contests regularly.

Entering contests is a great skills development exercise—even if we never win. I’m not sure I’ll have time to enter many contests in 2016, but we’ll see.

9. Join an online writing challenge.

I participate in OctPoWriMo (October Poetry Writing Month) and PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) each year. In October I write 31 poems and in November I come up with 30 ideas for picture books. I often attend Camp NaNoWriMo once or twice a year but have never participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), though I would like to do so one of these years. You can learn about these and other challenges online. I may try to participate in OctPoWriMo, but with the other things that are on my plate for 2016, I’m pretty sure that will be it.

10. Attend a writers’ conference or one-day workshop.

From skills development to networking … from inspiration to feeling understood … there’s nothing quite like hanging out with other writers and industry pros. We shouldn’t feel intimidated. No matter how far along the path, every writer has more to learn. And every writer was a newbie at some point. Since it looks like I’ll be filling in for our church administrator while she’s on mat leave, I don’t think I’ll make it to a conference this year. But as a member of COMPEL and Goodriter, I have access to lots of great training online.

11. Join or start a writers’ group.

I had the privilege of being one of the original four members of Women Writing for Christ. Over a decade later, we still meet monthly (except in the winter) and share the adventure of writing. We each write in different genres and for different audiences, but it is a wonderful opportunity to encourage one another. It’s a highlight of my month.

12. Be patient with yourself.

As in any area, it’s important to create SMART goals. Pace yourself and add one or two realistic goals per month. You can do this—and so can I!


  1. An excellent set of goals, Steph! I try to do all of the ones you stated except I rarely enter contests or online word challenges. I find I have too many other writing projects on my plate to do either of those. (Not saying they aren't great things to do, though!)

  2. Well balanced and thought through!

  3. I'm aiming for #4 (write regularly- encouraged in my U of T class), #5 (set a writing goal - I need to break my memoir down into pieces and try to meet them) and #8 (enter contests - this is something I haven't done and I think it would be of good for me). Thanks for taking the time to create this list. All great ideas.

  4. Anonymous8:38 am GMT-7

    Excellent! Thank you. One of the goals I set is to always be reading a book on writing along with my other reads.

  5. The recent moving out of our youngest daughter freed up a room that I could finally make into my writing nook. An actual room instead of a corner! And it has made all the difference in the world.

  6. I appreciated the great list of ideas to put into practice. My calendar has been marked with the Oct. poetry write … one I want to try. (Easy to say now, 10 months away?) But I am meeting up with someone monthly and we are trying to keep each other accountable.
    Thanks for this post!

  7. Did you look over my shoulder and copy my list? ;)

  8. These are excellent goals, Steph. I think I'm going to copy and paste them and pray through how they apply to what God wants me to do with my writing this year. And goal #12 is an excellent cap to the list. Thanks.

  9. Great goals for a writer. I used to love to write but stopped for the most part. Just seemed to have lost focus and confidence ;)

    1. Theresa, I have no idea what style of writing you do, or what contributed to the loss of focus, and confidence. I know that Part of why I write is first to make sense of those exact things. I often say I write to right my life. I'd encourage you to keep your personal journal style writing going.

  10. I laughed my head off at the first goal where you said your phone died! Story of my life. I tried to keep my goals and ideas in my notebook on my phone but more often than not - you guessed it! And just at that important time. Good old pen and paper notes now for goal setting and ideas! Besides, I love my old green ledger anyway! Great list for everyone. Smart ideas.

  11. I used to be better at notebooks than I am now. The last few years, I've gone astray by using bits of paper that also go astray. I have been talking myself into getting back to these notebooks. Then at least I can tape the bits of paper in the right notebook or the right section of a notebook. Thanks, Steph, for sharing your lovely list. :-)


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