Resolutions You Can Keep


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

We are nearing the end of 2020 and what a strange year on many fronts. I will be glad to turn the calendar page for 2021. As a writer, what I like to do is think about the year ahead and make plans. Years ago I used to make resolutions but most of them were broken before we reached February. Now I make resolutions which I can keep.
Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? If you are like me, you have goals, dreams and plans for the New Year. I encourage you to write down these resolutions or plans or goals. You want to make them specific actions so you can hold yourself (or your partner can hold you) accountable to carry them out.
Over 25 years ago in 11 days I wrote a diet book by Carole Lewis called First Place. I took such a crazy writing deadline because the publisher was determined to have the book inside the bookstores for January. If you look at bestseller lists, often in January there will be several diet books about losing weight. In our overweight society, many people resolve to lose some pounds in the New Year. They begin with such great resolve and commitment.
To become a proactive author, I want to suggest several resolutions or goals that you can keep throughout the months ahead. I encourage you to use these ideas to create your own goals. Make sure you make each one specific, measurable and action oriented.
1. Plan to consistently talk with others about your books or products. As the author, you should take the primary responsibility to market and tell other people about your books. There are dozens of tools and ways to do it. Your method should be a way that serves other people (helps them) and doesn’t pound them with “buy me” messages. The “buy me” message is a turn off and the service to others is an attraction. Can you take your book and create a teleseminar or take chapters from your book and turn them into magazine articles or blog posts?
2. Resolve to Persevere. Are you trying to publish something which is getting rejected? You are in good company. Just check out this article from bestselling novelist James Scott Bell called Rejecting Rejection. Possibly you have not made the right connection to get your work published. Are you consistently submitting your work? Often when I ask writers about this detail, I find they haven’t been consistently working on getting their book pitch to the right editor at the right time and the right place. I don’t believe that I’m a great writer. I work hard at improving my storytelling and writing—yet I am persistent and preserve. I’m determined to a fault. Nurture this quality in your own life in the weeks and months ahead.
3. Resolve to take better care of yourself. Over the last few years, I’ve worked hard at getting more consistent sleep, taking a daily multiple vitamins and a commitment to regular exercise. Also I attempt to watch my weight and eating patterns to be in balance. Am I perfect? No, but I continue to consistently work at these elements and build regular patterns into my life. With a pandemic this year, my weight increased but several months ago my wife and I began changing our eating patterns and working on weight loss. Currently I'm at my lowest weight in over 20 years and my blood pressure has lowered and other health benefits. It's all part of my resolution to take better care of myself and something I encourage you to do too. Your goal will be different for your lifestyle and situation but do consider this area of your life.
4. Resolve to learn a new skill then practice it repeatedly. Maybe you want to develop your storytelling skills. Or maybe you can learn from a how-to book or take an online training. I use all of these methods to keep growing in my abilities and skills.
5. Resolve to do more writing. It takes more than a resolution to increase your writing. You need a plan. Do it consistently and set a reasonable word count then do it day after day. No little elves come out and write your words. You have to sit in your chair, get your fingers moving on the keyboard and do it.
6. Resolve to do more reading. Writers are readers. Read widely and varied types of books. I read but also learn from listening to audiobooks.
I’m expecting great things will happen in the coming months. How about you? Are you setting goals and moving in this direction? Take action today. As you look at the new year, are you creating resolutions you can keep? Let me know in the comments below.
This article is my final post for the year for Writers on the Move. I want to wish all of you a tremendous holiday season and Happy New Year. May you enjoy the season and have special things happen in your life and writing.

How do you make resolutions you can keep? Get ideas here for your writing from this prolific editor and writer. (ClickToTweet)

W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. His work contact information is on the bottom of the second page (follow this link).  He has written for over 50 magazines and more than 60 books with traditional publishers. His latest book for writers is 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed. Get this book for only $10 + free shipping and over $200 in bonuses. One of Terry's most popular free ebooks is Straight Talk From the Editor, 18 Keys to a Rejection-Proof Submission. He lives in Colorado and has  190,000 twitter followers


Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Oh, Terry! Can we keep them because they are stuff we already do--maybe just not enough? Ha! Thanks for the reminder. And the confidence in our abilities to "persevere." Happy holidays! Carolyn

Terry Whalin said...


Yes you can keep them. The patience and perseverance test all of us--including me--but it's a part of this publishing world. Happy Holidays and thanks for the comment.


deborah lyn said...

Great article Terry! The encouragement with guidance is right on point. I don't care for resolutions, but I love goals. To me resolutions = failure is coming. But, goals can be adjusted for success. Your point regarding specific, written goal making is key. Keep talking about our books, resolving to persevere, and taking care of ourselves are powerful reminders. Thank you Terry

Karen Cioffi said...

Thanks for the reminders, Terry. I'm pretty good with the list, except #3. I really have to work on that one! I'm not a resolutions person either. I see what has to be done and just do it.

Terry Whalin said...

Deborah Lyn

What you said about goals and resolutions makes sense. I wish you great success in the coming year. Terry

Terry Whalin said...


Yes those of us who are doers have to work at taking care of ourselves. I appreciated the comment and wish you great joy in 2021.


lastpg said...

Hi Terry, thank you for your article. It serves as a good remember to do all I can each day. My challenge is to continue to enjoy what I'm doing and not make it a job. I keep that in mind while working toward my goals.

Terry Whalin said...


Thanks for this comment. Yes we have to enjoy our work and not make it a job. Yes some days are hard doing the necessary detail work but overall our motivation should be for a different reason than a job--and it should be fun (at least most of the time).


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