Monday, January 5, 2015

Writing Resolutions

By Pamela

Ah, a new year and the promise of a blank calendar, new goals and resolutions waiting to be broken kept. As writers, we get advice all year long about how we're suppose to write:

  • Write every day! Honestly, the only thing I do without fail every day is eat and brush my teeth. I try to shower. I attempt some form of exercise and, while I usually write every day, it's not often words in my WIP.  
  • Write what you know! Write what you don't know! 
  • Write about your life! Write about your dreams for your life!
  • Write as though your mother was your reader. Write as though your mother will never read it.

My thinking is: Find a comfortable goal and exceed it. If a daily goal seems daunting, make it a weekly goal. If 500 words a day comes pretty easy to you, set a weekly goal of 2,500-3,000 words. If you can commit to 1,000 words a day, maybe 5,000 words a week should be your goal. I don't know what your weekends look like, but mine aren't productive at all. My house is too noisy for much weekend work unless I slip away to Starbucks while my girl is at youth group on Sunday evening. And even if you can work daily, some days you can't. Work, doctor's appointments, kids get sick, friends need you to go to lunch, or that new movie needs to be seen (research!) and so words don't get on the page. The point is, don't set a goal that's impossible to meet or you'll give up attempting it at all. Make the goal attainable and celebrate your success. You can always bump it up to make it a little more challenging.

New Year's bluebird by Vicki DeLoach
I also read the other day that New Year's resolutions are easier to keep if they're multifaceted. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, why do you want to lose weight? So you'll feel better? Why do you want to feel better? So you can keep up with your kids? Why do you want to keep up with your kids? Because you miss out on their activities because you can't keep up? You see how this works?

So maybe your New Year's resolution is to finish your novel. Why do you want to finish a novel? Ask yourself this and really think about it. Do you want to be published? Do you want to quit your day job? Do you want your kids to see your name in print? Do you want to prove to your ex-husband that you aren't a worthless hack? Answer that first question and then ask another and another. Make it matter deep down and perhaps the goal becomes more vested for you.

Also consider what's keeping you from your goal. Are you easily distracted by the flashy Internet? How about Facebook? I have limited my Facebook time drastically since November and haven't missed it one bit. It helps that I've turned off all my notifications, so when someone tags me, mentions me in a post, etc., I get NO email notices. I have to go to Facebook to see that and rarely do. If someone really needs me, they know my number or email address.

Total honesty: After abandoning Facebook, I started to get on Twitter more and then realized I was trading one time-suck for another and quickly backed off. Perhaps you can delete apps from your phone that keep you too plugged-in? Maybe you need to schedule your online time. For example: No online time from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., including checking email, if you can. Pretend you have a boss looking over your shoulder and keep on task to avoid getting in trouble. Find a mantra that works for you and embrace it.

Since I work from home, my suggestions fit my schedule, so yours might need to be adjusted accordingly. My hope is your 2015 brings you much fulfillment, whether that means finally starting your novel, finishing your novel, getting an agent or getting published. Heck, with twelve months ahead of you--maybe you can do it all!! I sure hope you do.


  1. What really helps me is that I have a laptop strictly for work. I never set up e-mail on it, and I have never logged into social media there either.

  2. That's a great writing method, Kim. I trust you also keep your phone out of your reach, too. If you can stay focused on the work, that is certainly key!


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