Setting writer resolutions for 2019

Cooper Smith
Dec 31, 2018 · 4 min read
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

No doubt, at some time in your life, you’ve set a New Year’s Resolution. A promise you make to yourself to be a better person, make better decisions, or even turn your life around. Still, year after year, many of my friends and colleagues fail within months. What do all of them have in common? They aim too high. There is a popular saying; shoot for the moon, even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.

While this sounds nice, it is some of the worst advice I’ve ever heard. Without setting up a doable goal and solid plan, things are bound to fall through.

Don’t shoot for the moon, aim for it.

So, when you set your 2019 resolution, because you absolutely should, use it as a chance not to change your life but to move forward in it.

My 2018

At the end of 2017, I took a look where I was and thought about where I wanted to be. I realized that I had hit a dead end. I needed to turn my life around. So, I made a goal. A small one. A simple one. A goal that, I knew, would ultimately set me on the career track that I needed.

It wasn’t some extravagant aspiration to start my own business, receive an insane promotion, or to even make more money. It was a small bump in the right direction that I needed.

For this year, before you set your resolution, make a decision about what you want to accomplish in the long term. Don’t worry about taking everything on at once, but set yourself in the right direction. Then, make a plan to work on it through the year. If you try to get it all done in January, you’ll just burn out.

To show that I’m there with you, this story has two parts: my goals for 2019 and how I plan to accomplish them.

My 2019 goals

I have two goals for 2019. The first is simple, progress in my career. I’m currently a content writer and just want to continue down that path. Easy. All I have to do is not get fired. The second is a bit harder.

I’m going to write a novel by the end of 2019.

I know, it isn’t original. Thousands of writers every year decide that they are going to finally finish their novel. Here I am, going into 2019 with nothing written. Just an idea, a journal of notes, and a crudely drawn hero’s cycle.

My tools for 2019

Here’s the thing, when you break it up through the year a novel only takes 200 words a day, 7 days a week. You could even do 280 words a day and take the weekends off. There is really no reason to not finish a novel in a year. The problem many face is that they get too caught up in how large the project can be. They try to write thousands of words at a time, often without planning that far, and then go for weeks or months without writing a word. Others will spend all of their time planning. Writing an extensive encyclopedia dedicated to their world but never get around to writing the story.

The thing that many writers, colleagues of mine, and even myself, fail to do is set up a timeline and goals. That is why I created a tool with that in mind. I thought anyone reading may like it as well. Check out this quick clip below (it is only ten seconds):

Notice how the cells change color with different values? Each cell is set to be marked as “complete” when the count is 200 words. Anything less and you’ll get another shade of green, or even gray, to represent how behind you are. The “Week End Totals” automatically sum up the days and the week before, so there is no need to calculate anything. Similar to the cells that represent each day, you are trying to stay in the green at the end of each week.

You can download the sheet below. If you have a Mac, you can download the Numbers sheet and use it immideately. I also created an Excel file for people with Windows, (this is also the file you want to download if you use Google Sheets, which is free).

Setting your 2019 resolution

So, are you still trying to figure out what you want to accomplish in 2019? Remember, it doesn’t have to be anything huge. In fact, it should only be something that is actually achievable and proportional to your current life. Do you want a new job? Start a blog? Write a novel? Whatever it is, it all comes down to planning. Set your year up for a win by taking the steps necessary to actually accomplish your goal.

Thanks for reading! Please, comment below on what your 2019 resolution is—especially if you’re writing a novel. I’d love to know how the spreadsheet works out for you.

Cooper Smith

Written by

Content writer and strategist in Denver, Colorado. Enjoys to travel, get lost, write, and repeat.