Tuesday, January 4, 2022

What Not To Do In 2022 for Writers

by PeggySue Wells @PeggySueWells

Make your writing life better by choosing what not to do in 2022.

When making those traditional New Year’s resolutions around what you will do, it's perhaps more important to know what you won't do. “You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything,” John Maxwell said.

We make resolutions to improve our productivity. In his book, Essentialism, Greg McKeown defines productivity as a disciplined, systematic approach for determining where our highest point of contribution lies, then making execution of those things nearly effortless. In other words, our focus is not on how to get more things done but on getting the right things done. 

To be truly excellent as a writer, what will you edit from your life? In 2022, how can you make the wisest possible investment of time and energy to operate at your highest point of contribution? 

Make your life better by choosing what not to do. Here is a list to get you thinking about what to jettison. 

  • Live in overwhelm. Overwhelm is a choice. When we are overly busy and overwhelmed, that indicates we are pursuing easier paths to the less important. Before adding to the calendar ask, 
    • Does this align with my values? 
    • Does this move my life and writing goals forward?
One writer never attends home parties. If she likes the product, she gives her order but reserves the time on her calendar for her priorities.

Bypassing shopping, deciding, wrapping, shipping, and possibly adding to clutter, another author gives gifts in the form of thoughtful donations in the recipient’s name to special causes. 
  • Suffer from decision fatigue. Automate as many decisions as possible so your brain can focus on the important. For instance, decide ahead that you will not eat empty calories, so the donuts are not a temptation. 
Steve Jobs automated clothes shopping and his morning routine by daily wearing the same outfit of jeans and a long-sleeve t-shirt. No standing in front of the closet wondering what to put on. That decision was made, and his thoughts could pursue more important issues.
  • Neglect your health. Establish a simple morning and evening routine that automatically includes
    • daily movement
    • a bedtime that assures seven hours of sleep
    • stillness for Bible reading and prayer
    • solitude to listen to God
    • Sabbath, a day each week to do what refreshes your soul
  • Commit financial infidelity. Honor your budget. The stress this one step relieves boosts your creativity.
  • Do sloppy work. When excellence is your standard, you won’t be tempted to be sloppy which doubles your work.
  • Criticize, complain, or condemn. Streamline your conversations by eliminating the toxic three Cs.
  • Make excuses. Instead of giving an excuse no one believes, look for how you can move forward.
  • Keep company with shame. Trim the words should, need to, ought to, and must from your vocabulary. What will you choose to do that aligns with your values and goals?
  • Take responsibility for problems that belong to someone else. After investing valuable time helping others solve their problems, one author pauses to ask, “Is this my monkey? Is this my circus?” If the issue is not the author’s, he replies, “I know you will make good decisions.”
  • Panic when things don’t go the way you planned. Do they ever? Press into the Lord, knowing He is at work even in this. Take in what He is teaching you about His character in this setting.
Armed with your list of what you won’t do, removing more leads to producing more of what is truly important to you. Eliminate anything that steals the time and energy you need to operate at your highest point of contribution as a writer.

What is on your won’t do list for 2022?

Resources to encourage your productivity include:

Tropical island votary and history buff, PeggySue Wells parasails, skydives, snorkels, scuba dives, and has taken (but not passed) pilot training. Writing from the 100-Acre wood in Indiana, Wells is the bestselling author of twenty-eight books including The Slave Across the Street, Slavery in the Land of the Free, Bonding With Your Child Through Boundaries, Homeless for the Holidays, and Chasing Sunrise. Optimistic dream-driver, PeggySue is named for the Buddy Holly song with the great drumbeat. At school author visits, she teaches students the secrets to writing, and speaks at events and conferences. Connect with her at www.PeggySueWells.com, on Facebook at PeggySue Wells, and Twitter @PeggySueWells.


  1. Replies
    1. I would add under the shame section, don't "should" on yourself.

  2. I especially love the thought... "Is this my monkey or my circus." Love it!

    1. For moms used to solving problems as a lifestyle, shifting to allow adults to be personally responsible is healthy for both sides.

  3. PeggySue,

    You have created a great list for every writer. My only addition is with the Lord's help and guidance in my life, I am not going to blame others. In the Success Principles by Jack Canfield, the first principle is I will take 100% responsiblity for my own success. As writers, we want our publisher, our agent, our editor, our publicist or anyone other than ourselves to do it. Each of us only have one life to live to the fullest with the Lord's help every day. I'm living with great expectations for the year ahead yet not being idle looking for the open doors to march through.

    author of Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success (Revised Edition)

    1. Terry, that is an important addition to the list. Refuse to play the blame game.

  4. Great Words! Learned so much! Thanks for sharing and writing it.

    1. Diane, thank you for stopping by and talking shop with me.

  5. I won't "run ahead" of God by being more attuned to His direction and leading. My Word for 2022 is "CONSENT," SO I want to be in perfect agreement with His will for my life ... not just my writing.

    1. Pat, that is a good word. Listening for the Holy Spirit is wisdom. My mentor asks, "What is the Holy Spirit saying?" I've replied, "Nothing." My mentor says, "Then don't do anything. God is at work in this and will let you know when to do or say something."