Are You Resolving to Write in 2013?

Posted: January 1, 2013 by cherylmahoney in Cheryl's Words
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January ResolutionsThere’s something about a new calendar year.  It makes me want to tackle new projects and do exciting things and make all sorts of plans and resolutions–like new authors to read, new recipes to try, new places to visit.  But since this is a writing blog, let’s talk about writing plans.

Do you have a writing resolution for 2013?  Since I’m in the middle of figuring out mine, for this post I thought I’d share some ways I’ve found to make my resolutions easier to achieve.  The hero of my current novel draft has this thing about rules 🙂 but I won’t be that pushy.  I’ll just share a few suggestions that have helped me in the past.

Maybe you want to start writing—or write every day—or finish a project—or send query letters out for that finished project—or finally take a stab at the world of self-publishing.  All worthy goals, but all of them different!  Suggestion #1 is know your goal.  I thoroughly enjoy National Novel Writing Month, but I know that writing 50,000 words in a month isn’t the right goal for everyone.  Figure out what your own, personal, individual goal should be.

With that in mind, make sure you know exactly what your goal is.  Suggestion #2 is Make it specific.  “Writing more” is a great idea, but how do you measure it?  Same thing with “writing something.”  Don’t try to write more—try to write every day (or every week, or every other day, or whatever is going to work for you).  Don’t try to write something—try to write the first three chapters of your novel, or finish that short story, or write a poem every week.  That way, you can hold yourself accountable to exactly what you planned to do—and feel a sense of accomplishment when you know you’ve met your goal!

Suggestion #3 is Make it attainable.  I really, really, really don’t like not reaching my goals.  But I’m the one who’s setting them, so I make sure I set goals I can reach!  Or to drag in a little geekiness and quote Scotty from Star Trek, it’s a poor engineer who can’t complete a project faster than his own estimates.

If you didn’t write a single line of fiction last year, maybe planning to write a novel this year isn’t the right goal (though maybe it is!)  You could always start by trying to write a short story.  If you can’t find any time to write, don’t resolve to start writing for three hours a day; try to write for 15 minutes.  Don’t obsess over the goal you think you should have and make it impossible for yourself.  Don’t make it so easy either that you don’t accomplish anything…but small goals can often accomplish more than people think.  And you can always start small and make it bigger later on.

Related to the concept of making a goal attainable, make sure it’s something you control.  Getting an agent for your novel is a great dream, but the hard truth is, that’s not really under our control.  Some agent has to decide to take on your novel, and unless you possess Jedi mind control tricks, you can’t make them do that.  That doesn’t mean you can’t work on it—but set your goal around the parts you can control.  Resolve to send out 50 query letters, or to attend three writing conferences to meet agents.  Whether you get an agent or not (I’ll cross my fingers for you!), you know you’ve done what you can do about it.

And finally, Suggestion #4 is Don’t give up.  Maybe your goal was to write every day, and life (or streaming seasons of TV series on Netflix…I won’t judge you) got in the way, and you haven’t written for two weeks.  Channel your inner Scarlet O’Hara and remember, “Tomorrow is another day.”  You can always pick up and begin again.  The two weeks have already gone, but that’s no reason to throw away all the future work you could do.  Remind yourself why you set the goal to begin with, make changes if you need to, and remember that January isn’t the only time people are allowed to make resolutions.

I know I certainly don’t have all the answers, and I’d love to hear other ideas too!  What are your best suggestions (or even rules) for achieving a writing goal?  And what goals are you planning for 2013?  I’ll hold a good thought for you!

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Comments
  1. […] talk about goals today.  I wrote about writing resolutions for New Year’s back in January, but maybe it’s a good time to revisit the […]

  2. dwgood68 says:

    If I had resolved to write in 2013, I would have fulfilled my resolution as of day 2 of the new year. I could take the rest of the year off now. NOT!!

    Motivation, inspiration, proper peer pressure and a support group of fellow writers all help to make someone a better, consistent, successful writer.

  3. Matthew Ridenour says:

    What a great way to start the New Year! These are important suggestions that everyone can relate to. Starting good habits can be tough, but with daily dedication and a positive mindset, we will see our goals blossom into reality. I can hardly wait to see my book in print. Thanks Cheryl for that extra push!

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