5 Ways to Keep Your Writing Resolutions by Jill Archer
It’s that time of year again. “Best of” Lists. Predictions. Millions of trees being mulched. Mountainous piles of cardboard boxes and wrapping paper being recycled. And many New Year’s resolutions being made.
But how to keep them?
FIRST, THINK BIG
What’s your goal for 2016?
To finish a novel? Start a novel? Get an agent?
Write three books? Publish a short story?
Maybe you want to try writing in a different genre or become better at a particular aspect of the craft. Maybe you want to find the joy and the magic again, be a better mentor, or hit a bestseller list.
Maybe you want to join a writer’s group or volunteer more for the one you’re in. Maybe you want to find your voice. Or a publisher. Or more readers.
Maybe you want to eliminate adverbs. Or clichés. Or bad metaphors.
Maybe you want to say “no” more. Or “yes” more.
Maybe you want to never start another sentence with the word “maybe.”
THEN, START SMALL
If your goal is to simply keep a resolution, pick something small. It’s okay. No one will judge you. In fact, once you keep it, they’ll be envious they didn’t pick something small too. Imagine how empowered you’ll feel when your New Year’s resolution is already in the bag by this time next week. Cool! Done!
But most of us can’t resist the temptation to pick something enormous. Ginormous. Something that’s a game changer. A life changer. Something that can be a tad overwhelming if it’s not broken down into bits.
So break it down into bits. (And, yeah, I know “so” is the #1 word on Lake Superior State University’s 41st Annual List of Banished Words. But you know what? One of my resolutions this year was to ignore that list. See how easy keeping a resolution can be? Done! 😉 😀 )
If you want to pick a “Big” resolution, do it!! But then make a list of all the little steps you’ll have to take to get there.
Don’t know what those little steps are? Then that’s the first thing on your 2016 To Do List – figuring out what those smaller steps are.
FIND WAYS TO MEASURE THE IMMEASURABLE
It’s okay to pick a vaguely defined resolution like “be more creative” or “have more fun with my writing” so long as you back it up with at least one concrete idea as to how to achieve it (e.g. take a poetry class, write flash fiction, co-author something, produce multimedia art, yarn bomb your mailbox, papier-mâché your cat…)
Make sure you tell yourself NOW exactly what you’re going to give, or do for, yourself once you keep your resolution. Like the resolution itself, the reward can be big or small. It doesn’t have to be commensurate with the accomplishment. It just has to be something that would make you smile.
BUILD A SUPPORT SYSTEM
One of the best ways you can ensure you meet your 2016 writing goals is to build a strong support system. Tell your friends and family what you intend to accomplish this year. If you haven’t already, join a writer’s group. Find a critique partner. Or enlist the help of a writing accountability coach and/or mentor.
What are your 2016 writing resolutions? How do you intend to keep them?
Jill Archer is the author of the Noon Onyx series, genre-bending fantasy novels about a postgrad magic user and her off-campus adventures. She can be found on Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, and Goodreads.
For FF&P Members Who Aren’t Yet PRO/PAN
Last year, I served as a writing accountability coach for a nonfiction writer, who wrote a 150 page book for professional and amateur athletes on how to incorporate various self-care, yoga, and nutrition practices into their lives for better balance, health, and peace. She wrote the book over a five month period and published it last April. Working with her was a terrific experience and I’d love to find another writer to coach/mentor. It would be extra great if that writer was a fellow fantasy, futuristic, and paranormal fan.
What exactly did I do as her writing accountability coach?
First, we discussed what her goals were and how she wanted to accomplish them. (You may be surprised to hear that she wasn’t interested in sticking to any word count goals). Then we decided how often and when she’d check in with me. After that, I simply encouraged her TO STICK WITH IT, even when the going got tough. I also answered all of the questions I could and tried to point her in the direction of answers when I couldn’t.
What didn’t I do? Critique or edit.
If you’re interested in possibly having me coach you this year toward your New Year’s resolution of writing a first novel, let me know in the comments or send me an email (archer at jillarcher dot com). If more than one of you is interested, Nancy or Stefanie (FF&P’s blog co-chairs) can randomly choose a name.
GOOD LUCK, BEST WISHES, AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!