It’s that time of year, as the holiday crooners croon. New year’s resolutions and all that. Lots of creative folk take this time of calendar molting to reflect and to set writing goals for the coming months. Of course, we all know that most people don’t stick to their resolutions. We all have this incredible sense of annual renewal, but according to U.S. News, about 80% of resolutions go off the rails by the second week of February. Not the best odds, but setting goals is important, worthwhile and hope does spring eternal, so maybe this year will be the year you stick with the new game plan!
So, let’s discuss.
I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions. Why? Because I set goals throughout the year. Resolutions are ongoing. Example: this past summer, I made a “To-Do” list that included ideas for five short stories I wanted to write. I finished them all. The cool thing? I’m confident they are some of my best. My longtime literary agent feels the same. All of these stories are in my forthcoming collection.
I love making “To-Do” lists and it’s vital that I write them down on paper and keep the list somewhere that I see every day. Digital “To-Do” lists just don’t cut it. WRITE THINGS DOWN. ON PAPER. I have recruited my entire family into this endeavor and we all take great delight in crossing accomplishments off of our long list of goals. So, start writing down your goals and stick them in front of your nose!
The next thing I would suggest to all you New Year’s dreamers is to make the resolution, stick with it to the best of your ability, and them give yourself a few days to blow it, to fall off the wagon. Just make sure to climb back on the next day. Taking the pressure of yourself, affording yourself a few days off, is paramount. Creativity must not be a chore. Sure, there’s work involved, but when it becomes albatrossian, you may as well be living the nine to five cubicle dream.
Next step in the writing resolution gambit? Set a somewhat realistic daily writing output for yourself. 250 words? 500 words? This is a page or two a day. Again, if you don’t hit this every day, it’s A-Okay. Just nail it four or five days a week for sure.
The moral of this story is that the only person who is going to make your writing resolution a reality is YOU. Stop procrastinating. Stop striving for perfection with your first draft. The only failure is in not trying. Make steady progress. Slow and steady wins the race. A little bit everyday adds up after a month or two. And please, please, enjoy the process! Creativity is a gift! It is a privilege. Life can be very hard. It can be tragic and sad. Remind yourself, your writing is always with you.
We all started reading and writing for the pure enjoyment of it all. Never forget this.
I hope 2019 is your most prolific year yet.