It’s that time of year again. The well-meaning crowd into gyms, flocking like vultures on a carcass for a few weeks, until the lure of their previous lives becomes too strong, rendering those automatic, monthly gym membership debits an obsolete waste of money. Loose change and random dollars find themselves stuffed into jars like nuts stashed by a squirrel, where they’ll remain unspent until about March. The Goodwill sees a sudden influx of clothing, electronics and random crap as Purge-fever strikes across the land. Yep, it’s resolution time.
But “resolution” doesn’t have to be a word that elicits a groan of agonized dread, or instantly calls up geeky visions of pixels on a screen. Believe it or not, resolutions can actually be your friend. They don’t have to be some grand creature of good intention. In fact, they shouldn’t be if you want any hope of actually keeping them. After all, they’re really just goals disguised in a longer, more pretentious-sounding word for intimidation factor. Goals aren’t scary, are they?
Personally, I find them highly motivating. When I meet them, that is. They give me a clear-cut mission, something to work towards, a path through the aimless. The trick is making them specific. And New Year’s Resolutions are no different. Everyone has the standard “lose weight/get in shape,” “get out of debt,” “fall in love,” “spend time with family,” resolutions. But those are also the ones we never keep. Why? Because they’re a vague description of some ideal we’d maybe kind of like to get to. They don’t give us any direction. No instructions. No plan. Of course we can’t keep them!
We’ll try valiantly for a few months, until we decide that we just don’t like sweating as much as we like donuts; that the mountain of debt isn’t going anywhere until we win the lottery; that love is a fickle bastard who likes to play practical jokes; and that there was a reason we didn’t hang out with the relatives.
Instead of focusing on unattainable, murky-type goals, narrow the playing field to one specific region– say, writing. Think about what you’d like to achieve over the next year. And don’t just throw out things like, “I want to write more,” “I want to get published,” “I want to stalk Stephenie Meyer.” (Ok, maybe not the last one, but you get the idea.) These are no different than the goals I listed before. Instead, break those vague resolutions down to their individualized steps. Like a to-do list on steroids.
You want to write more? Great. How much? Define it by word count, pages or chapters, but define it. You want to be published? Awesome! What do you need to do to get there? Write a query letter? A synopsis? Both? Figure out the small steps that will ultimately lead you to your goal and make each one its own resolution. You want to stalk Stephenie Meyer? I’d suggest investing in some psychiatric help instead. But that’s cool. I’m pretty sure you can still read this from the computer lab in jail. 😉
The point of a New Year’s Resolution isn’t to put so much pressure on yourself that you fail the second you write it down. It’s more about defining the larger tasks you want to accomplish within a year’s worth of time, rather than on a day to day basis. So don’t make them so specific that you’ve gone through the whole list within 5 minutes on Jan 1st. But don’t let them be so broad that you’re left without a sense of direction either. That perfect balance in between is the key to a successful resolution.
Let’s give it a try, shall we? Below are my personal writing resolutions for 2013. Notice how each goal is specific enough to give me a plan of action, but not so specific that I can accomplish it quickly. Chances are, I won’t meet most of them, (because let’s face it, I’m better at planning and organization than I am at follow-through), but at least I defined them into plausible chunks I could attain if I applied myself. And that’s the first step.
Writing Resolutions 2013
- Finish the rough draft of Unmoving
- Upload Chapters of Unmoving every two weeks to Wattpad & Authonomy
- Revise and Re-publish The Bardach, Spinning & Confessions via Createspace/Amazon KDP
- Compile brief synopses of all plot bunnies
- Write, Edit & Publish one new short story
Now it’s your turn. What are your writing resolutions for 2013? Share them in the comments below! 🙂
(P.S. A big Thank You to everyone who entered the Holiday Giveaway. The winners have been chosen and notifications will be going out via email. Congratulations to those who won; keep your eyes on your inbox to find out if it was you. 😉 )