It’s getting to be that time of year again, where we all make New Year’s Resolutions.
I’m not a fan because I usually disappoint myself by the third week of February, so instead of “resolving” to do anything, I switched to making goals.
As a writer, published or not, it’s a really important difference. Making a New Year’s Resolution to ‘write a novel’ isn’t the same as making it a goal. I can make a resolution to lose weight, but it lacks the same kick in the ass that making it my GOAL to lose weight does. In 2013, I made myself a list of goals to complete, along with monthly goals.
Quite honestly, I met every single one of my writing goals in 2013. (which was to complete the first drafts of 4 novels, write 3 scripts, and 2 novels completed to query.)
Except for maintaining my blog. I fell out of love with my blog earlier this year because I felt like there was nothing new that I could add to the writing world. But again, that’s just me being neurotic.
I only have a few tips, so I’m gonna get to them without further ado.
1. Make your New Year’s Resolutions a feasibly attainable goal.
If you only had the time to write one single novel this year, and you know that your next year is going to look very similar, then don’t make your resolution to write seven novels in a year. Even if you did a NaNoWriMo style writing marathon every other month, you’d still not make that goal and other areas of your life would suffer. If you think it is attainable, then make it a more realistic, “finish two first drafts this year.”
2. Don’t beat yourself up if you fall off the wagon
This is always a problem. You start out strong with these resolutions and goals and then by March you’ve gained five pounds and given up on your Oscar Wilde and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle-inspired slash fan fiction-like novel about a detective and the fancy gentleman he seduces. That’s okay, it’s only March. There’s still time. If you’re still serious about that resolution, then by all means, please, don’t feel bad. Get back up, do some cardio and pick up where you’ve left off. It happens, but you can recover.
3. A support system is nice, but don’t let them guilt you out.
Telling people what your goals are is awesome. It’s always good to have a support system in place to keep you motivated and on track but don’t share your goals with people who will tell you that you’re failing if you’re behind where you want to be. Don’t let people make you feel guilty for having a life. Some days, it’s a pain to get 100 words into your story, and someone guilt tripping you out isn’t going to help. Be strong in your convictions and you know, be respectful. Make sure your support system is actually supportive. It goes a LONG way.
And my last, most important piece of advice is this:
4. Do not make your New Years Resolutions/Goals something that is out of your control!!
This is the worst thing you can do, and I still find myself doing it, too. You make your goal “get published” or “marry a millionaire” or “become a movie star” or “get an agent and a book deal”. This is the path to the Dark Side. These are things that you can’t control. (Unless you self-publish, which is a different story.) These are goals that are outside of your control and if you don’t fulfill them, then you feel like a failure. Instead, make your goal something like “send ten queries a month.” This will increase your chances of landing an agent, that’s 120 different agents you’d be querying with your book. Don’t make goals that set you up for disappointment. Make goals that work with what you’re able to accomplish yourself. You’ll feel a lot better about it.
My WRITING goals are to send out a bunch more novel queries, begin the process of querying my screenwriting portfolio with the hopes of getting representation and eventually a TV writing job, make a better attempt at keeping my blog current and up to date (which probably won’t happen because I run out of things to talk about,) and to write at least 2 more novels that will be queried next year. I’m not gonna tell you about my personal goals because they’re rather mundane.
Do you have any goals or New Years Resolutions? Feel like sharing? Leave me a comment!