Top Ten 2010 New Year’s Resolutions for Writers

by Erin Brown

Illustration by Jennifer Paros - Copyright 2009

Illustration by Jennifer Paros - Copyright 2009

10. I Will Not Curse an Agent or an Editor for at Least One Month.  

Sure, it feels great, brings stress relief, and keeps you inspired to send out more query letters. But for just four weeks, hold off on the streams of, “Well, screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeww you, Mr. I Can’t Write So Therefore I Agent and Edit and Think I’m All High and Mighty Holding the Fate of the Literary World in My Grubby Little Hands!” Remember that agents and editors are often kind, generous souls with feelings just like you and they don’t enjoy at all not buying every book that comes across their desks. It’s just as hard for them to say, “No,” as it is for you to hear it (ok, not quite as hard, but still try for the resolution, it will bring good karma your way). 

9. I Will Eat All the Cookies and Cake I Want. 

You deserve a break. A high-caloric, chocolatey, gooey, sugary, break. Forget the diets, the after-holiday guilt. You’re a writer and you’ve worked hard all year! Besides, M&Ms are known to aid in plot inspiration and better character description. 

8. I Will Write One New Chapter a Week (or a day or a month). 

Setting deadlines is always a good idea. Sure, you have to wait for inspiration to strike, but don’t wait until New Year’s 2011. Give yourself some deadlines and stick to them. Even if you end up going back and revising the hell out of that chapter, crank something out and keep that writing cap securely in place. 

7. I Will Write a Page Every Day in Longhand.

And while you’re at it, don a monocle, write by candlelight, and forget to pay ye old landlady the rent, just like writers did in the good old days. Pull out some hair, get drunk and summon your inner Hemingway, and wander around the cobblestone streets mumbling about how hard it is to be a writer (I bet that at least half of you do all of these things already!). 

6. I Will Use My Writing Skills for Good, Not Evil.

Take some time out from writing that novel or memoir and instead write a few letters to some people you love or admire, just to say hi, thanks, or to tell them what you appreciate about them. Using the gift of creativity to make someone’s day will inspire you as well. So use your gift to spread the love!  

5. I Will Keep My Focus and All Will Work Out.

Remember that true writers write because they love to write, not to get published. 

4. I Will Share My Love of Writing.

Do you have a favorite book you can send to someone you love? A beloved childhood classic that you can give to a neighbor kid? Maybe you can even volunteer at the library or a local homeless shelter. If you’re feeling down or have a case of writer’s block, try sharing your love of reading with others—you’re sure to find new inspiration. 

3. I Will Read One Classic Book Per Month.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the market—what’s hot now—that we sometimes forget to look back at the masters. There’s a reason why Little WomenA Tale of Two CitiesThe Three Musketeers, Gone With the Wind, and The Notebook have inspired great writers for so long. 

2. I Will Not Say Anything Insulting About The Notebook for at Least Two Weeks. Okay, this is a personal one for me. I know there are lots of you out there that love this book, but really? Really? Did you actually read it? I’m not talking about the movie, which sure, had a hot guy in it, which really made up some ground, but the book. Seriously, what in the hell? There, I’m done until February. 

1. I Will Remember to Read My Author Magazine Promptly Each Month When It Hits My InBox.

If you do this, I will promptly receive my under the table bribery money for this resolution.

Erin Brown worked as an editor in New York City for over eight years. She recently left Manhattan to start her own freelance editorial business. To learn more about Erin, visit her website at


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