Tomorrow marks the beginning of a new year. Many people will make resolutions to lose weight, eat better, or exercise more. And while I am all in favor of people getting healthier, have you considered making writing resolutions? Making small, specific plans now can have you writing more and writing better early in 2013, leading to the creation of strong habits, and then to significant gains over the course of the new year.
The trick to making your resolutions stick is to make them small. I know many people say make your resolutions big, to make them challenging or aspirational. But if you make them small and easy to accomplish, you are more likely to do them every day. And that is the key. Make it routine. By the end of January, you’ll be hooked. A new habit will have formed, and it’ll stick throughout 2013. And as the year goes on, you can always expand your resolutions.
Second, make them specific. “Write more” just won’t cut it. It’s like resolving to “lose weight.” That won’t work. How much do you want to lose overall? Per month? Per week? How will you accomplish that? Similarly, you need to think about specific writing goals.
So think about what your writing goals are. Create small, specific, repeatable routines. Will you write so many words per day or for a certain length of time? Will you start at a certain time, in a certain space? What will you do to make that space more conducive to writing? What will you do to free up writing time? What will you do to keep yourself writing? Will you join a writing group with regular commitments? Commit to submitting so many stories for publication? To writing so many chapters of your novel?
But don’t forget your non-writing life too. Don’t ignore your family and friends. Don’t ignore your body–exercise, eat well, and sleep more. And read. Commit to so many books per month or per week if you have the time or reading speed.
Good luck, everyone. I hope your 2013 is happy, healthy, and productive. Feel free to post your resolutions below, if you like.