It’s the beginning of yet another year, and every year since I was about ten years old, I’ve tried (and generally failed) to make resolutions. They were always the same: be happier, lose weight, etc. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that those kinds of resolutions are possible, but you can’t just say, “I want to lose weight.” There has to be a detailed plan of exactly how you’re going to do it.
The same goes for writing resolutions.
In the past few years, most of my resolutions have been geared more towards writing since that is what my career is now, and the only way to advance it is to write more. This year, I have made plenty of writing goals, and even this blog post fulfills one of them: write 3 blog posts per month in 2013, which equals a total of 36 blogs this year.
We make resolutions all the time, but how are we supposed to stick to them when the world closes in around us and other things get in the way? Most people lead fairly busy lives, and even those who don’t often struggle with procrastination. I know I do. I procrastinate things until a whole year has passed and I haven’t done a single thing.
This year, though, I am going to get the majority of my writing goals done. How? Well…
- Rewards and Consequences
I am one of those people who need consequences to get me going. If there is no punishment for my actions, I am about 80% less likely to get something done. The consequences can be denying yourself a favorite treat or it can be like a fine that you inflict upon yourself at the end of the year.
Rewards work differently. Rewards are ways to treat yourself for doing a good job. They don’t work as well for me. Either that or I haven’t found the reward that works for me yet.
Making a schedule is extremely important. This year, I have made up a yearly calendar with things I want to get done on it listed in a set month, so I need to have them done by that month. Weekly or daily schedules work too, just setting aside time to work on things every day.
- Support and Public Shaming
Admittedly, I don’t have too many writer friends, not ones that I talk to on a daily basis, but those I do have serve as a much-needed support when I just don’t want to write.
Shaming comes in by creating public responsibility. By announcing your projects to the world, there is more pressure on you to actually finish them. Someone might actually want to read whatever you’re writing. Someone will want to know the ending you haven’t written yet. Don’t disappoint them!
Most importantly, make goals that you CAN accomplish. Losing weight is a great goal but it’s a giant wish. By breaking it down smaller, to “lose ten pounds,” you’ve already made it more manageable. Make manageable writing goals. Pick a specific number instead of “write more novels.” Pick a specific deadline: “self-publish by June.” Anything that creates specificity will help make things easier to accomplish.
Writing is one of the most difficult things to do sometimes. It always feels like other things are pulling on your time, but honestly, just sitting down to write can make such a big difference. Don’t worry about how good it is or who is going to read it. That is what editing is for, and for editing tips, you can check out my blog on editing!
In the meantime, I’m off to work on editing my own novel, Chasing the Sunrise, that should be (according to my scheduling) published by the end of this month! (see: scheduling, specificity, and public responsibility!)
What other things help you accomplish your own writing goals? What are your goals for this year? Let me know!