New Year’s Writing Resolutions

I’ve never been a fan of New Year’s Resolutions. Probably because I’m not very good at sticking with them. Maybe some of you are like me: in the past we’ve vowed to lose every ounce of excess weight, work out three hours a day seven days a week, keep a spotlessly clean house, stay caught up on laundry, go to church every Sunday, get a doctorate in Physics, become queen of the world…and on and on. We’ve made so many over-the-top resolutions we couldn’t even hope to attain, that we’ve become burned out on New Year’s Resolutions altogether.

Personally, I’ve discovered my best resolutions have been ones I’ve made on a Wednesday, mid-week, halfway through October. Or, Tuesday afternoon sitting in the school parking lot waiting to pick up my kids. Resolutions can be made any time. Anywhere. They can be short-term, long-term, or life-long. It doesn’t matter. What matters is this: our resolutions must be something we can achieve and we have to have a plan we can stick to in order to achieve them.

I made my 2013 Writing Resolutions a while ago. It was something I considered at great length. While my resolutions may not work for everyone, they work for me.

My 2013 Writing Resolutions:

  1. Finish the first draft of one novel during the year. That’s it. Just one. In 2011, I wrote 3. Maybe I can do it again in 2013. Who knows? With all the trials and tribulations of 2012, I managed to write only one. And, I’m proud of myself for it. Who knows what challenges 2013 might bring? I know I can finish one book. It might take a month, or it might take all year. The important thing is–I’m going to do it.
  2. Finish the first draft of one of my works-in-progress. I haven’t decided which one. But of the four works in progress I currently have, I’m going to finish one.
  3. Clean up a completed first draft enough to bring it to submission level. I have two completed manuscripts that need a lot of help before they can be considered fit for human eyes to read. A lot of help. I need to work on edits/rewrites on at least one of these.
  4. Blog three times a week. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. No ifs, ands, or buts.

Notice how only one of the above goals are time/quantity specific? While the other goals specify that I must only complete them by the end of the year, the blogging goal is three times a week. No less. Why did I do this? Because I can commit to blogging three times a week. I can commit a few minutes or an hour three days a week in order to keep my blog up to date.

For goals one through three, I could have given myself a specific daily word count. If I get too lazy, I might have to do this for a while in order to get myself on track. But, if I start off at the beginning of January telling myself that I MUST write two-thousand words every single day, what’s going to happen when everyone in the house gets the flu, or I have to take the kids to ten zillion different doctor appointments, or we get snowed in, or (makes sign of the cross to ward off evil) my laptop crashes? How am I going to feel on February first if I’ve only managed to reach my word count three days during the previous month? Yep. I’m going to feel like a loser. I’m going to tell myself I can’t reach my goals. And, I’m going to give up.

Not exactly the tone we want to set for the whole year is it?

Before you sit down to make your 2013 Writing Resolutions, you must know yourself as a writer. What has worked for you in the past? Do you write intuitively, or are you a plotter? Do you need a strict word count to  stay on track, or do you need to cut yourself some slack in order to be creative? We all do things differently. What works for one writer might not work for you, so give yourself a few goals you can easily achieve even if the world implodes around you. And, then give yourself a smaller goal that pushes you a little. You’ve got to challenge yourself in order to grow.

If you’re a new writer, you might not know what works yet. You might have to adjust or change goals as you go. And, that’s okay. Just don’t give up.

So, what are your goals? What do you plan to achieve in 2013? Leave a comment and share your Writing Resolutions with us!

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