New Year’s Resolutions: Make A Fun One!

‘Tis the season to talk about New Year’s resolutions, and SMART goal setting (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound). But that’s not all it has to be.

I was thinking about this because of the Pasta Quest / Fruit Adventures meme that is going around. The gist of it is that resolutions can be fun, like eating as many different pasta shapes in a year as possible, or eating and learning about a new fruit every time you see one.

Of course we want our readers to have fun when they’re reading our stories. If they don’t have some kind of enjoyment from reading it, they’re not likely to come back for more! But often writers focus on hard numbers when they’re coming up with their goals for the new year: this many words written; this many stories submitted; this many hours of butt-in-chair, fingers-on-keyboard; or this many words written every day, no matter if you’re sick or busy or not feeling it.

These goals have a purpose and a place. But they don’t sound all that fun, do they?

So this year, think about adding a fun one to your New Year’s writing resolutions. What is especially fun for you about writing? What is silly? What is play? What writing-related thing will you have fun doing even if the result never sees the light of day?

A few ideas:
* When you introduce a new character, as a writing exercise, write a scene of them eating a meal. Just for fun, not as part of the story.
* Take a class about something that interests you. Make that part of your next main character.
* Make a sketch of every new character. Stick figures are A-OK.
* Build new fantasy/science fiction worlds based on the history, culture, or geography of every continent on Earth.
* Create a new language, and use it in a story.
* Rewrite the ending of someone else’s story that you didn’t like.
* Every time you read a book or story that you really, really love, write down 3 things the author did that you really liked–tropes, a twist ending, a type of character, a detailed description of a particular type of thing–and pick one of them to try and do, in your own way, in your next story.
* Make a list of new places that you will write next year. Art museums, coffee shops, parks, cafes, libraries. Check them off the list when you’ve tried them.
* Mimic a different style of writing each month of the year.
* Freewrite for 5 minutes every day, based on Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day:

Let me know if you come up with another fun one! I’d love to make a list.

My fun one for this New Year’s writing resolutions is flash fiction. Every month, the first time (at least!) I see a submission call for flash fiction, I will write something for it. I won’t over-polish it. I’ll spend half an hour planning and brainstorming a story immediately after I see the submission guidelines. And after I’ve had a chance to sleep on it and let my subconscious do its thing, I’ll spend a solid hour writing on it.

2024 will be my year of flashing!

(But not the nekkid kind. LOL, I live in Minnesota–I would die.)

What I’ve been up to lately, writing-wise:

The never-ending ending of my WiP continues with the not ending!

Things Shiny or Useful

Archive of all shiny or useful links:

What I Wish I’d Known Before Launching My Newsletter:

The Writer’s Guide to the Holidays:

Genre Grapevine on Machine Learning’s Problem with Bad Stories and Bad Intentions:

Working Out, Working In: Applying the Six Principles of Athletic Training to Writing and Creative Work:

Tenses, Distance, and Persons:

Featured Market

Psychopomp wants death-themed novellas, is open for submissions 1/1/24 – 4/30/24.

  • stories where grief or loss play a leading role
  • stories that feature the afterlife or the underworld
  • stories that involve the journey through death/the journey of the dead
  • stories that involve death personified (Death!)
  • stories that take place in, or utilize a multiverse
  • stories that involve time travel (esp. those that involve time travel + a previously mentioned theme)
  • origin stories (especially as they relate to previously mentioned themes)
  • stories where the characters slowly lose their sense of reality
  • goth
  • space, but make it goth
  • a story within a story within a (within a story that’s [within a story] within a story) story….
  • stories where things that are not usually personified ARE personified (planets? galaxies? time? …bones?)
  • creepy meta-horror
  • amazingly original ghost stories

Basics: themed speculative fiction novellas, 20,000 – 40,000 words, no reprints, pays $750 + royalties. Submissions due: 1/1/24 – 4/30/24.


Market List Updates

To see all the details about these new listings and what they're looking for, go to  For all the hundreds of listings, go to Aswiebe's Market List and download the latest version of the spreadsheet, or view it online at Best read on a bigger screen!
Snapshot of latest updates

Click to see details of the latest updates!

Keep writing, keep submitting, and good luck!

Abra Staffin-Wiebe, Keeper of Lists


Author: Abra Staffin-Wiebe

Abra Staffin-Wiebe loves dark science fiction, cheerful horror, and modern fairy tales. Her stories appear places including, Escape Pod, and Odyssey Magazine. Read:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *