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Posted by on Jan 7, 2015 in The Writing Life | 23 comments

10 New Year Resolutions Every Writer Can Make

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.

 

photo credit: fux07 via photopin cc

23 Comments

  1. 🙂 Nice work. Here are mine:
    1. 100 words
    2. Subscribe to print journals
    3. Start saving now for the 2016 or 2017 Glen Workshop.
    4. Read more books in my craft. (I have already bought 4!)

    • Print journal subscriptions are a good idea! Do you have any suggestions?
      The Glen is definitely on my list since the WW. Here’s hoping!

  2. Great goals, Braden! I’m still working on mine. I’m thinking of having a goal of working on writing with a specific time rather than word limit–partially because I’ve been doing some at school on paper and don’t want to count, partially because just concentrating on a book for awhile would be better than nothing, and partially because I want to editing, which is harder to count “words” in.

    I’m excited too. 🙂

    • That’s a good plan! The only reason I decided to go with a word count instead of time limit is to thwart my tendency to noodle around for an hour and then hang up the irons without having written anything of substance. :p

  3. Great actionable goals! I’m not generally big on New Year’s goals either, just because I think goals should be enacted whenever they become necessary. But I ended up with a batch of new goals right at New Year’s this year too. My goals are to streamline my business work so it doesn’t take over my life, devote one whole day a week to fiction (beyond the two hours I devote every other day), take one day away from the computer each week to focus on non-writing stuff (like learning French), take a trip someplace I’ve never been, and do at least one big thing that scares me.

    • Haha, I think for me, learning French would go right along with one big thing that scares me. 😉
      Those sound like good goals! I like the idea of devoting one day to fiction.

  4. Love these goals! I’ve got some similar ones of my own. I’d also really like to enter to OYAN contest while I’m still considered a non-ancient. 😛 However, I’m not too set on that at the moment. First things first: get a solid novel outline.

    Anyway, great post! And good luck. (:

    • Heheh, go for it! Outline is probably a good idea, though. 😉 Thanks!

  5. I like the “Wonder More” goal. I think that is something we loose sight of a lot. We forget why we started writing in the first place or why stories mean so much to us. Great goals Braden, good luck with them!

    • Thanks, Laura! Yeah, it’s something I really want to get back into my life… living in the 21st century makes it difficult sometimes.

  6. I need to make a few of these, especially setting a goal to write a certain number of words each day. I love the feeling when I can do that, but it is hard to stick to. 🙂

    • The feeling of completion is an awesome one! It’s too bad we make it so hard for ourselves to experience.

  7. I’ve done the 100 for 100 Challenge with Go Teen Writers, and doing it for a year sounds fantastic! Funny how much I was actually able to get done. I almost always went way over 100 words since that “small number” made me sit down to write.

    Also I have a goal of critiquing at least ten novels this year. I don’t know if I can do it, but it’s a goal, and one I’m pretty sure I’ll get a lot of fun out of.

    • I tried it! Failed it. :p This year I plan on getting much more serious about it.
      That’s a good goal–critiquing is so important.

  8. I see we’re both making a point to engage with other writers more. 🙂 Of course, my list is a birthday list, rather than a writer’s one. I digress. Excellent list! Let me know if there’s anything I can help you accomplish.

    • Introverts unite!
      Heheh… I have trouble with birthdays–maybe I should add that to my list of resolutions. And thanks! I sure will. We still have a word war coming. 😉

  9. Those are some great goals, Braden, and I wish you the best of luck with finishing them. Personally, I’m a faster typist, averaging closer to 300 words every ten minutes, so I set my goals a bit higher, but I agree with pretty much everything you have here. I need to do more critiquing, that’s for certain. I doubt I can get to go to any writing conferences. As much as as I would love to attend one, I lack wheels at this stage of my life.

    • Thanks, Kendra! Haha, unfortunately typing speed isn’t my problem… it’s that I take so dern long to formulate sentences in my brain. And I’m a perfectionist, so even when I get stuff down I’m backspacing it about 90% of the time. Not good at writing messy first drafts. :p
      I understand that struggle very well! Carpooling can be a really good option. Find writers who own vehicles and befriend them. 😉

  10. I’m more of a lowercase writer, I have non official workspaces, most of the time I do my typing on a couch or in my middle schools computer lab. Plus, I make a rather low salary of only $15 per month. That oughta put a damper on my budget. Love the reading/critiquing idea

    • Hey, a couch works! I’ve written many words on our brown upstairs sofa. 😉

  11. I set the 100 words-a-day challenge also, for much the same reason – 100 words is a relatively easy amount to write quickly, but once I get started, I usually write more.

    Also, I’m making it a goal to read more books with similarities to the story I’m writing – and to actually /study/ them and what makes them work. It’s the slow light of… enlightenment… is beginning to break through my thick skull and I’m realizing that I could probably learn a lot from picking apart good novels and figuring out why the action scenes or dialogue work as well as they do.

    One of the biggest goals I’m setting this year is to start a local writers’ group. Fortunately I’ve got a sister who’s 100% on board with me, and we’re hoping to not only get our friends into this but to meet new peeps (especially peeps without a supportive writing community like OYAN).

    • where are u setting this up?

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