Writing Goals for 2013

It’s inescapable to think of goals or resolutions as the New Year is knocking at the door. Don’t be intimidated even if you’re not a goal-setting person.

Looking at it as a new beginning or another chance might help. Imagine all your previous failures erased, and focus on what’s ahead.

Every year, you’re given the opportunity to make a fresh start. There are many directions that can be taken: continue walking the same road, give yourself a fresh start, make complete changes or do something completely different.

The choice is yours – individual and personal.

Photo by puuikibeach

Photo by puuikibeach

Rather than pressure, these yearly stops are a break, a chance to catch a breath and glimpse both outward (what you’ve achieved) and inward (personal transformation).

Here are just a few suggestions that you can use when working on your personal writing goals for 2013:

1. Make a writing plan

A plan helps with the visualization of what you want to achieve and enhances the execution by careful step-by-step methods. It can be as detailed and comprehensive as you want, but writing it down will provide a guide.

2. Collect your notes

The notes you’ve been writing here and there on small pieces of paper, on napkins in cafes and restaurants, all those thoughts that came out of nowhere and you graciously wrote down before the moment was over, are your treasure.

Why not make an ideas box with those snippets of wisdom and momentary clarity? These thoughts can easily strike a chord when looking for writing inspiration throughout the year.

3. Start new habits

Any new habit needs an investment of time, so whatever it is that you want to start this year, make sure to pack yourself with patience and perseverance. If you want to write every day, set a time for it.

The important thing to remember is not to start too many habits at once. Successfully implementing one in your daily life is quite enough and definitely worth much more than ambitiously starting plenty that won’t stick for long.

4. Experiment

Working on a particular project will undeniably produce results over time. However, experimenting is never a bad idea for many reasons. While working on different techniques, styles, genres, types of characters, POVs, lengths and creative outlets, you may tap into an undiscovered talent.

If you don’t try, how will you know where you belong and what’s most suitable for you? Another good reason for experimenting would be finding inspiration in multiple sources by opening up to various challenges.

5. Prioritize

The main reason why resolutions don’t get actualized is unrealistic expectations. If you want to avoid this, make sure to make one project/goal your top priority, so even if everything else fails your utmost writing goal will see the light of day, escaping the trap of starting multiple projects without finishing a single one.

What are your writing goals for 2013? Are you working on a plan?


Write down your brief writing plan for 2013 (you can expand on it later). Then imagine you have achieved it, and write a few sentences on how this will make you feel. You can keep this with you through the year and read it in moments when you’re feeling stuck and uninspired.

Happy New Year and happy new beginnings to all of you, dear Write Practice practitioners.

About Joe Bunting

Joe Bunting is a writer and entrepreneur. He is the author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller Let's Write a Short Story! and the co-founder of Story Cartel. You can follow him on Twitter (@joebunting).

  • I think prioritizing is the hardest of the five things you have listed here. Other things staart getting in the way almost as soon as you make a plan, and you have to make sure you have a definite prioritized set of goals (whether it’s a short list or long list) in order to get anything done. My list is short: take better care of myself health wise and to write something every day, whether it’s a blog post, journal or work on a novel or short story.

    • Jamie

      Prioritizing is so hard! Once I have made a plan, work or family or something needs me — and I vow to return and finish. Vows, it seems, were made to be broken. Perhaps prioritizing with the short list (fewer pressure points to worry about) is the best start. Good luck!

    • It is hard, really hard, so having priorities in the plan can help. One priority sounds like a piece of cake, but sticking to it no matter what is actually quite an achievement. Your list sounds great Brittany, and I hope you fill 2013 with daily writing and healthy life.

  • My writing plan for the year is to write something every day. I’ve noticed a pattern in the past few months, in which I either write a lot in one day–several blog posts for example, or I write nothing at all. Then I sit around and wonder why I can’t seem to take up writing properly when it’s all I really want to do. So I’ve decided that I need to start making writing a part of my life every day. Whether it’s a blog post, a snippet of practice, a poem or journal entry, I am going to set aside time to write every day. I think by the end of 2013 I will feel inwardly centered if I manage to make this a habit.

    • I share the same goal. So far so good, and good luck to you!

    • I also have the same goal for 2013. After realizing what you really want to do, daily commitment is probably the most important thing ever. Good luck Giulia and I’m sure this year will be a great one.

      • Thanks Sophie, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that is it!

    • Did you see that 750words.com Website one of our members told us about a couple of days ago? You just create an account, and then you can go in daily and write. You can free-write, and it can be anything you like – it counts your words for you, and you can get little ‘badges’ and things if you write everyday etc. All your writing is private unless you chose to share it. I had a go with it a couple of days ago. Its a pretty useful tool!

  • Tomas Nilsson

    I’ve also given thoughts to what to do in a different way this year, because like you said a new year is a good time to take stock and do changes. For me actually finishing some of the stuff I’ve got in boxes will be a big change for this year…I’m notoriously bad at doing that!

    That and doing more actual reading of books (I’m still a dead-tree-product person, but reading on an e-reader would still qualfiy…if I had had such a thing), because that has dwindled to a bare minimum for me lately. Something to change in the new year for sure!

    • Good for you Tomas. Even a small change can go very far, and nothing should be undermined.

  • Elaine Cougler

    For years I have kept my New Year’s plans in my head and have kept my changes small in number but mighty, if achieved. So I like that advice, Sophie, and I also perked up at numbers 1 and 2. Good, practical advice which will help everyone, not just writers.

    • Thank you so much Elaine. Really glad to hear it’s helpful.

  • Jamie

    I want to sketch out plans for the year that include daily writing (www.750words.com is a help) that includes filling my poetry notebook with good poems, writing my best Nanowrimo novel in November, and publish something. Sophie’s list of five goals are exemplary, and my favorites are 2 (I have plenty of notes in folders to bring together) and 3 (my writing habits need an overhaul) and 4 (writing out of the box is extremely difficult for me.) This year needs to see, come January 31, a bulk of work of value. I need to join the new writing group in town and see if there’s a spark of intelligence there (being critical, I know, but the last groups were lacking in work ethic……)

  • This is always perennially good advice, and sometimes we need reminding. Its not only rewarding to write New Year’s writing resolutions, but then we also need to commit to them and follow-up throughout the year to keep ourselves honest.

  • donna kiser

    This was an excellent article, thank you. Here is my practice at http://dkrighttowrite.blogspot.com/2013/01/2013-writing-goals.html

    • Thanks Donna. I’m glad you liked the suggestion about an ideas box. Good luck with your goals.

  • These are great ideas. I know seeing something on paper in front of me helps me more than just having it in my head. I read a really cool article last year about New Years Resolutions and one thing I found particularly interesting is how many people make a resolution so vague it is just too easy to fail. Like, “write more” and “eat healthy” are both super-vague resolutions. So I made a specific goal to write something, for 15 minutes every day whether it’s practice (like on this wonderful website) or part of a project. Good luck to everyone else on their writing plans!

    • Yes, I had some vague goals last year. I kept meaning to write them down and I never got around to it and the year past and I was like, well I think I kinda failed those…considering I’ve forgotten them altogether.

    • I absolutely agree. The pattern I’ve seen from year to year in my resolutions goes to more and more and more specific. Thanks for pointing this Karl.

    • Good tip, thanks, Karl!

  • Thanks for this! I loved the idea to keep an ideas box, I guess mainly because I was given a beautiful cardboard box with the moniker ‘Dreams & Wishes’, and I’ve never used it. Also, I tend to read newspaper & magazine articles and take snippets for story ideas, so this is the perfect solution for what to do with them! ha ha
    My goals for 2013 are:– to get my first book, Aden Weaver & the Or’in of Tane Mahuta published (it’s being considered at present), to finish the rewrite of the next book, Aden Weaver & the Sasori Empire, to work smarter & more efficiently with social media, and to read more!

    • I’m glad you liked the ideas box Yvette, and a beautiful cardboard box is a great excuse for it. 🙂 Fingers crossed for having your first book published.

  • Daniel Lynch

    Write 15 mins a day, at least 6 days a week. (it’s not much is it?)

    Complete one novel draft.

    Write at least one short stories a week.

    Read 7+ Novels and as many short stories as possible.

    I looked up from the computer, my eyes straining from concentration. I set my focus outside, to the beautiful plants on my balcony. It was a hot day, and my pedestal fan gave me little relief; but I was happy. I had reached my goals for the past year, I had wrote every day, finished a novel draft, and read some fantastic stories; both long and short. I think my writing had improved ten-fold. I smiled as I reminisced over the past year. I took another sip of my beer and resumed my writing. Here’s to 2014. I thought.

    • This is fantastic Daniel. Have a great writing year.

  • Yvonne Rupert

    Sophie, these are great suggestions and really helped me narrow my focus. THANK YOU! My priority this year is definitely number 3, start new habits, but I had a list of about a dozen new habits. LOL! . After reading this post, I’ve narrowed that list to just two. I’ve already begun my first one by joining the Write 1, Sub 1 community and completing my Week 1 assignment of writing one piece and submitting one piece. The second new habit is writing with ZEST and GUSTO, according to the advice of Ray Bradbury. 🙂 Happy New Year!

    • Thanks Yvonne! Happy New Year to you too, and all the best with your plans.

  • This year I’m going to

    1. Finish my novel-in-progress
    2. Write something every day
    3. Read a book on writing or work on a writing course every month

    • Quite specific and narrow, sounds like a good plan Abigail.

  • My writing plan is to first actually creating a writing plan! Before I became a freelancer, I wrote spontaneously. Now that it serves as part of my income, definitely seems like something I need to do. The problem I worry is this: If I truly make writing a part of my business life, would writing become a chore at that point?

    In either case, my writing plan for 2013:

    1. Develop a writing schedule.

    2. Post on my blog on a more regular basis.

    3. Complete at least one poetry eBook and one non-fiction book by December 2013.

    4. Update my writing portfolio on a regular basis.

    5. Take at least 3 courses on writing by December 2013.

    Good luck to you guys on your goals…

    • Thanks Charles. Good luck to you too. Writing wouldn’t become a chore if it’s really your passion; I had the same doubts about translation, but even when I was translating 14 hours a day for years, it never killed the pleasure of doing it.

  • Mirelba

    First of all, I wanted to thank you, Sophie, for the exercise. Number 4 I do regularly at my writing group. They already joke that from week to week, they never know what to expect from me. Now for the others: Okay, I’ve given this some thought and come up with a plan. Here it is, so I can’t escape it…

    Writing Plan- Take small bites so you don’t end up with more
    than you can swallow.


    1. Figure out what I want my blog to be.

    2. Set up a blog

    3. Post at least twice a week on the


    Giving up feast or famine: write 6 days a week, regularly, on creative
    work, at least 15 minutes a day.

    Same for editing work
    already done in B1.

    Organize work

    Don’t keep keepers, send them
    out for publication.

    Finish the Nanowrimo novel.

    Begin the family story

    Research-Stop pushing it

    Continue with Yad Vashem

    Contact Elefants

    Contact Polish embassy

    Make appointment with Mary

    Continue to grow

    Finish the courses you’ve
    signed up for

    Start new ones when you
    finish these.

    So you’ve gotten me to do #1, which includes #3. I like the idea of #2, and have to learn how to do #5…

    a feeling of contentment in looking back and seeing how far I’ve come. The baby steps that I began in 2012, have
    matured and strengthened in 2013. There
    is still where to grow, but having crossed the hurdle of sending manuscripts to
    face rejection and persevering gives me a feeling of growth and quiet. I have
    faced many demons and overcome them. I
    have watched my writing expand and mature. There are still bad days, bad
    writing, and yet, the words come surer and truer, the editing easier over
    time. I am pleased with all I’ve
    accomplished, as I give thought to where I would like to go in the year to

    Now I have to print this out and post it near my writing desk.

    • It sounds like you’ve come a long way! Good luck to you in 2013.

      • Mirelba

        Thanks. Yes, since stumbling upon the write practice I really have been inspired to get to work and to challenge myself in new ways. I’m very grateful. Now 2013 is the year I begin to push myself to actively pursue goals.

        • I can relate, this site is really helping me pick up my pen and write 🙂

          • Good to hear, Giulia.

          • Mirelba

            Just keep it up, and you’ll be amazed where you’ll be in a few months.

    • Wow, this is exactly what I had in mind when writing the post. Sounds like a fantastic plan Mirelba and I’m confident that 2013 will be a crucial year for you.

      • Mirelba

        Thanks, I hope so.

  • Puffy

    Like everyone says, my plan is to also write daily. My writing time is 8pm-9pm, so I have a whole hour to write in my diary, write a short story, or blog.

    One of my goals is to publish at least three books in my series. I plan to write a chapter every night until I finish, store it away for a month, revise it, have my friends criticize it, then revise it again. I’ll then change it into Kindle format and publish it online. Also, since I want to learn book-binding by hand, I might turn my novels into physical little books.