10 New Year Resolutions Every Writer Can Make
I dislike New Year’s Resolutions. Probably because they make me feel guilty when I fail utterly at keeping them. However, this year I’m putting together a list of writing-related resolutions that I’m actually a little bit excited about.
This list is a little different than usual. Instead of setting big, vague, daunting goals (I will eat an elephant at some point this year!) I’m going for small, specific micro-goals. (I will eat one spoonful of ground Indian elephant meat every day.) They are tiny enough not to be scary, and they quickly add up to equal a much bigger goal.
So without further ado.
1: Write [insert SMALL number] Words a Day
Word goals are tough, especially if you write as slowly as I do. I’ve tried setting goals of 750 or even 500 words a day, only to fail miserably. I end up not writing, because I’m nervous that I won’t be able to hit my goal.
So this year I’m setting a micro goal. A daily word count so low that even I can hit it without breaking a sweat. My personal goal is 100 words a day.
It takes me ten to fifteen minutes to write 100 words. After that, I’m technically finished. I could stop right there and not feel like a totally worthless human being, because I completed the goal I set for myself. However, what’s more likely to happen is that I will keep writing, because at 100 words, I’ve just gotten warmed up. The pump is primed, so to speak.
Anything after that is just icing on the cake, and I will feel like a writing superhero, rising over and above my goals.
2. Read One (real) Book a Month
Not on my laptop or Kindle screen. A real book, with all the intrigue and danger that comes with reading something made out of tree. (You could totally get a paper cut.)
I’m doing this to make sure that I retain the joy and art of reading, which is something I feel I only have in diluted form when I’m reading from my Kindle. Much as I love that little gadget.
3. Work on my Blog for Ten Minutes a Day
The hard, cold, snotty truth is that I don’t enjoy blogging as much as I enjoy writing fiction, so this blog often gets relegated to the backburner. (Sorry, guys.)
This results in me having to spend an evening writing an entire post in a maddened frenzy, the night before it’s supposed to go out. This results in me being frustrated and unhappy. This results in me forgetting to apply deodorant and shouting at inanimate objects.
So another micro goal: ten minutes a day.
4. Budget for Writing-Related Resources
Because I am a Writer (present-tense, capital W), and that is what I Do, I think it would be very clever and professional of me to add a monthly fund to my budget to account for things related to writing. And because we are all apprentices in a craft where no one is a master, many of these things will probably be books and resources to help me hone my skill.
Eventually, this fund could go toward marketing, networking, or self-publishing, should I decide to go that route.
5. Read and Comment On One Writing-Related Blog Daily
This is something else I am bad at. So tada, another micro-goal.
6. Research Five Writing Conferences or Workshops–Make Tentative Plans to Attend One Of Them
Since I have neither children, pets, or electric bills at this stage of my life, I think it would be a good time to visit a few writing conferences.
7. Re-design and Streamline My Workplace
It’s my desk. It’s where I work. (Writer with a capital W, remember?) I need to start thinking of it as a workplace, not just a writing-and-eating-and-junk-piling-place. I’m kicking around the idea of a hybrid standing/sitting desk. It will look snazzy, and I will feel more like I’m doing something important with my time.
8. Read and Critique One Friend’s Work Per Week
Critiquing is something I’ve gotten woefully out of the habit of doing. I will try to be a better friend in the future and critique at least one person’s writing every week.
Only if they ask me to, of course.
9. Enter at Least One Writing Contest
This terrifies me more than the idea of joining a parachute-less skydiving club. Which is probably why I should do it.
Contest, not skydiving club.
10. Wonder More
I want more Wonder in my life. I want to take more than just half a second to enjoy a sunrise, or a spiderweb, or a wet dog nose. I want my eyes to be wide with beauty and mystery and terror and joy. I want to grow in my love for people and stories and God.
I’m not sure how to break this one into a step-by-step plan, or make a micro-goal out of it. I guess I just hope it happens. That I can drift slower than the frenetic, unyielding currents of Life and Adulthood and find secret joy in smallness and simple beauty.
I hope you can too.