new year's resolutions for writersFirst things first, how’s that turkey hangover coming along? Mine’s progressing rather nicely, although I am starting to grow slightly sick of eating sweets and chocolates I received…

Just kidding. I’m gorging away, and I hope you are too.

Anyway, I hope you all had a great Christmas. Mine’s been nice, although somewhat surreal without the blog in my life for two weeks or so. Bear in mind I’ve been posting two-three times per week for six months prior to my self-imposed Christmas break, so it feels like an age since I last committed words to blog.

Has it helped? I think so. I’ve reframed a few of my goals, been able to take a step back from my output and assess what really matters to me. I’ve learned a lot in these last couple of weeks (in between drinking and turkey-eating) that I hope will provide a strong platform going into 2013.

Joe Konrath recently blogged about his New Year’s Resolutions for Writers in 2013. He does a ‘resolutions for writers’ post every year, and it’s interesting to have a look over it and see how his goals have changed over time. Coupled with the festive spirit, I figured it’d be a good idea to do a writing resolutions post myself, largely based on what I’ve learned in my first year as a ‘proper’ writer, and my intentions for the next twelve months.

So, with no further ado, my New Year’s Resolutions for writers going in to 2013. These aren’t only my new year’s resolutions, but yours to adapt to your own goals and lifestyles too.

I will write, write, and keep on writing

This one is kind of self-explanatory. The first of my New Year’s resolutions for writers is to keep on writing, no matter what.

Dean Wesley Smith’s recent post on goals and dreams really put lots of writerly targets into perspective for me. In my own head, I kind of had a target of finishing a new book in 2013, with maybe a novella to accompany that. One book and one shorter release per year — a sound option, right?

Well, kind of, but think of things mathematically (I know, I hate maths too), and the target can be set even higher.

Inspired by Dean’s post, I figured out I can pen 1,000-1,500 first draft words in an ideal hour (let’s call it 1,000 for the sake of this exercise). In the space of a week, I’d say I have an hour free to write every day, and I will find that time no matter what I do. So, 7 x 1,000 = 7,000.

Still with me? Good.

7,000 new words per week x 50 weeks (Dean suggests taking two weeks off per year, and I’d concur with this) = 350,000 new words per year.

350,000 words! For an hour a day of writing. Even if you take weekends off, that’s still 250,000 fresh words of prose per year.

350,000 words is, what, four novels and a novella? 250,000 words is 3-or-so novels. A whole series, if you want. So, in line with this calculation, my #1 New Year’s Resolution for writers is to keep on writing fresh words. Personally, I’m aiming for a target of 350,000. I will write 350,000 words of prose in 2013. I will write for one hour every single day, with a two-week holiday at the end of the year. If I miss a day, I will take one day out of my end of year writing holiday. Discipline, people, discipline.

I will price my work at a respectable point and refrain from tinkering

I’ve spoken about pricing in the past, and think about it every day. Since launch, What We Saw has been $2.99, $3.99 and now $4.99.

What have I noticed from these different price points? Not a lot. UK seems to outsell the US by 2 to 1, which doesn’t surprise me considering it’s a very British novel. I’ve seen little difference in UK sales at £1.99-£2.99, and experienced a nice little post-Christmas boost.

From now on though, I’m keeping my standalone novels around $4.99/£2.99. Along with the paperbacks, every copy sold puts £2 in my pocket, which is a nice figure, and the lack of ‘traction’ standalone novels have without a series to support their weight is worthy of a more premium price-tag, I feel. Maybe I’ll be proven wrong, but I won’t tinker too much apart from the occasional offer here and there from this point onwards.

My thoughts on pricing for new writers going into 2013 are as follows:

Short stories: 99c

Novellas: $2.99

First novels in series: $3.99

Standalone novels/Sequels: $4.99

*bear in mind these prices will probably come into play as I release more books.

I will not obsess and will chill out more

Marketing. Writing. Self-publishing. KDP. Smashwords. ePub. Mobi. Price points. Beginnings. Ends. Free promos.

It’s easy to obsess over writing. I used to churn up inside if I didn’t have a good idea for a blog post on the day of writing. Sure, that probably helped me put out some good content on a very regular schedule in the early days, but obsessing does noone any good in the long run.

One of the key things I’ve learned in my ‘writerly retreat’ is to chill out some more. Nothing to tweet about on the day? Don’t tweet. No idea for a blog? Don’t bother. People don’t hate you for being human. In fact, they’ll probably respect you some more.

In 2013, I’m going to tweet when I want to tweet. If I see a useful blog post, I’ll share it, but if not, I’ll leave it.

In 2013, I’m going to blog when I want to blog. I’ll try to blog one or two times per week, but if I don’t manage to, I won’t stress out about it.

In 2013, I’m going to promote occasionally, but not lose sleep over the promotions. If I have an offer running, I’ll let it do its thing without fussing over scheduling or sales reports, instead putting my focus on new words.

In 2013, I’m going to make writing my priority. Everything else is a bonus.

Don’t take this as a break from blogging or a retirement or anything like that. A few months ago, I spoke about a new chapter in my life, and I guess this is the third chapter. The life of an author, with a few pieces of work out, focused on the next thing.

The truth is, I want to put two novels out there in 2013. I’ve got a first draft written in the last two months for the first one, which should hopefully launch around May (more on that in the coming weeks and months). I’ve mapped out a crime novel I really want to get started on, and I think I can get that out in 2013 too.

Writing new words (all 350,000 of them) may be my priority, but I tend to take 4-6 weeks to rewrite, so I’ll find time for that too. We’ll see what happens, but if I’m sat here this time next year with 350,000 words written, I’ll be a happy man.

Some other New Year’s Resolutions for writers to think about:

– I will finish this first draft

– I will write for an hour every day

– I will find the time to write every day, no matter what

– I will find out how many words I can write in an ideal hour, and write that amount every day

– I will set up my website and blog when I have something interesting to say

– I will connect with fellow authors and readers via Twitter and Facebook

– I will stop neglecting Google+ (okay, that’s just me)

– I will conquer the rewrite

– I will seek the help and advice of critical friends

– I will help others

Other resolutions, a little more personal and not writing related:

– Achieve good university grades

– Keep my friends close and my enemies non-existent

– Travel the world

– Remember how fucking good the good feels when things aren’t going quite so well

The list could go on. Feel free to add your own in the comments. Have a very happy New Year, and enjoy the celebrations. Here’s to 2013!

What are your New Year’s Resolutions for writers in 2013? 

Image courtesy of Camera Slayer via Flickr.

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