New Year, Old You: Restarting a Failed Writing Resolution. A few tips to getting back on track with your New Year's resolutions, specifically on writing.
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New Year, Old You: Restarting a Failed Writing Resolution


New Year, Old You: Restarting a Failed Writing Resolution. A few tips to getting back on track with your New Year's resolutions, specifically on writing.

Less than two months ago, many of us took the time to write out long lists of New Year’s resolutions. We dreamed of becoming the next Bob Goff or Shauna Niequist—not only finishing the writing and publishing process, but also seeing our books at the top of bestseller lists. The reality for many, however, is strikingly different: Most New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February.

If you haven’t touched your computer in a week or the last “date modified” on your work in progress shows you haven’t accessed the file since January—don’t fret. You can still jumpstart your failed New Year’s resolution to write a book in 2019.

Time Management is Key with New Year’s Resolutions

The first step in reviving your writing resolution is to take a fine-toothed comb to your schedule. With 168 hours in every week, an inventory of how you spend your time is vital. Identify what you allot every hour of your day to. This includes work, sleep, family time, TV, social media, exercise, and more. Be ruthless in your data gathering stage. Once you have the daily breakdown in front of you, begin to pare down the extraneous activities. Then fill in those newly free time blocks with writing time. For instance, if you spend three nights a week watching TV for an hour and a half, reallocate those four and a half hours to writing and watch your word count soar.

6 Tips to Reach Your Writing Goal

Once you have a grasp on your schedule, use these steps to restart your writing resolution:

  1. Identify your “why.”

    To connect with and stick to your writing goal, you must have a personal attachment to it. Ask yourself, “Why do I want to write this book?” Your answer is your “why.” On the days when you have a head-on collision with writer’s block or you have to decide between an hour of mindless scrolling on social media or writing a few more pages, your “why” will guide you back to your goal.

  2. Think small.

    When goals are too big, they feel unattainable from the start. Go back and review your writing resolution again. If your broad goal was to “write a book in 2019” reduce that resolution to “write three chapters per month.” That is the equivalent of 33 chapters by the end of the year. Was your original writing goal a specific daily word count? Revise it to a daily page count goal. Smaller numbers induce less anxiety, which makes your writing goals easier to reach. Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Work Week, says that continuous success with smaller goals helps us build more confidence. That newly attained confidence then propels us forward to reach more milestone goals.

  3. Write it down.

    Scribble your writing goal on a bright-colored sticky note and place it on your bathroom mirror so it’s right in front of you at least twice a day. The daily, visible reminder will keep your writing resolution top of mind.

  4. Be flexible.

    Rachel Hollis, author of Girl, Wash Your Face, said if she hadn’t learned to write outside her comfort zone, she’d never finish writing a book. Instead, she wrote most of her best-selling book on airplanes and in hotel rooms. So, train yourself to take a notepad or your laptop wherever you go and squeeze more writing time into your schedule.

  5. Incentivize yourself.

    Who doesn’t love a good reward system, right? Your incentives don’t have to be lavish. If you love ice cream, maybe you reward yourself with a bowl of ice cream when you write 4,000 words in a week. Then, at 20,000 words you treat yourself to a manicure—that hand massage at the end would be a treat for overworked hands. Place a list of your rewards next to your computer to serve as motivation to keep writing.

  6. Be kind to yourself.

    The truth is, no matter how organized you are or how enticing your reward system is, there will be days when you won’t be able to write. Give yourself the grace to be okay with those less productive days. When the pressure becomes too much, give yourself a period of rest then try again the next day.

Which tips from this article do you plan on infusing into your 2019 writing resolution? Don’t let the things you cannot change bog you down. Get right back on the writing wagon and check this off of your New Year’s resolutions list!


Erika Bennett is the Content Manager for Xulon Press. She has worked in the publishing industry for more than a decade and her passion is to make sure great books find their way into readers' hands. You can also find her writing on

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