The New Year is fast approaching and it is around this time that we all start thinking of resolutions. Personally, I do not like to use the word “resolution”. As soon as I hear it I automatically think that it involves food deprivation or a gym membership. Instead, I prefer the word “goal” as it is more positive and user friendly.
The start of any New Year is like a fresh slate with a chance to do those things you have been putting off. It is a great time to examine your writing goals as well. However, we all start out with the best of intentions, but after a few months, or even a few weeks, our level of commitment wanes and before we know it our goals have fallen by the wayside.
There are a couple of things you can do to achieve your writing goals for next year:
- Make the commitment.
- Write your goal down on a piece of paper and be as specific as possible (i.e., instead of writing down something as vague as “I want to publish a couple of magazine articles”, write instead, that you intend to publish three articles on pet therapy, 1 on homeschooling, etc or that you want to write an article for Woman’s Way).
- Make a plan. Any goal, no matter how lofty, is more doable when broken down into smaller achievable goals. If your goal is to write a 100k word book during 2013, you can easily become overwhelmed by the thought of it. Break the goal down. For example, you want to spend the first six months of writing a rough draft. 100k over 6 months is 16,667 words a month or 556 words a day. 556 words a day sounds more doable than 100,000 words in 6 months. Make yourself a chart, tracking your daily progress, so you are on top of it. I just use a blank calendar page and I keep track of 2 numbers: my daily word goal and the amount I have actually written. At the end of the six months, spend two months editing it, rewriting it and another two months having beta readers read it. They can come from your writers’ group or you can have it professionally sorted. By the end of the year, it should be ready to make the round with the agents.
- Measure your goals. Once you have made your plan, check in weekly to make sure that you are on track. Write it in your datebook and scratch it off when you do it. Make your follow-up a habit.
- Visualize the end result. Stay focused on what you are trying to achieve, always keeping it in mind and going about your business.
Also keep in mind other writing goals as well: perhaps you would like to write poetry, take a fiction writing class or learn how to write a proposal to secure an arts grant. Again, all these goals can be broken down into smaller, doable, less intimidating goals.
My goal for the new year is to start work on a new manuscript. What is your writing goal?