Resolutions can be fatal.
We’ve broken as many as we’ve made. Lose weight, get fit, meditate, save money, write a book. The idea of making a new year’s resolution has become a running joke for many. Most of us realise we probably won’t make it past the first month of the year before we slip back into our old bad habits. Resolutions are becoming almost a curse, the opposite of their intention.
However, you don’t have to fall into the trap. Make 2018 the best year of your writing. Do this by just adhering to a few simple tips and advice.
Accountability and Deadlines
Accountability for yourself and your writing projects is a must for a promising year ahead.
“Creative success means balancing your love of starting things with a habit of finishing them.”
– Marie Forleo
You’ll make your writing journey much easier if you can see the horizon. Set a deadline to finish it. For me, this means aiming to finish a full, final draft of my manuscript by the end of the year. But just finishing your project isn’t enough. You have to be happy with it, and you have to be critical of it. You have to be accountable for not only finishing a project but making sure you have done the best you possibly can.
I wish I had learnt this lesson earlier. Looking back, I can admit that the manuscripts that I had produced in the early months of 2017, were not up to a standard that I could be proud of. Sure, I had finished the manuscript in the sense that I had written a story from start to end, but I hadn’t been accountable for every single paragraph, sentence and word. You have to be.
Setting short-term deadlines are also important. It makes the year ahead less daunting by breaking up tasks, meaning that it will help you stick to your resolution. This could mean writing a chapter every week or fortnight, having a daily word goal, and setting aside time for a monthly edit. Whatever your deadlines are, just stick to them, as much as you can.
Be Brave, Be Bad
Your first draft is going to be horrible. You’re going to hate it. It’s going to be the bane of your existence, your annoying frenemy that you want to expunge from your daily life. But when your fingers hovering over that delete button, just remember that every writer goes through the same experience. Allow yourself to write bad, allow yourself just to get the story out first. Don’t worry if it doesn’t make sense, if it makes you cringe and it’s completely unpublishable first time around. Don’t be bothered if you can’t seem to get that perfect prose down on paper, straight from your mind. You can iron all that later.
Keep Calm and Edit.
Reading is Fundamental
If you’ve glanced over my earlier posts than you’ll realise that I can’t stress this point enough. Read, Read, READ! Read widely, and from all genres possible. Make a monthly reading quota, if possible. Never be without a book in your bag. Why? It’s the simplest way to craft your writing, besides from the gruelling process of writing and editing, writing and editing. It will make your life easier, and your craft better. Besides, who doesn’t like reading?
There are some exciting new releases this year too, but don’t forget the classics. Learning from the greats is a must.
This is by far the most important advice for sticking to your writing resolution. Enjoy the act of writing, don’t get bogged down in sticking to deadlines strictly, or getting stressed about imperfect writing.
“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.”
– Greg Anderson
Happy New Year!