Writing passion, enthusiasm and confidence take a lot of energy to maintain. Here it is, two days into the new year, and already I’m wondering how I’ll keep my three best writing resolutions for 2017. Like those who jump to the gym only to abandon it, I’m wary of losing whatever momentum a resolution provides. Yet I sincerely want to be a better writer.
Writing Tip for Today: What are some simple ways to keep those writing resolutions?
Just Do It (no excuses)
For me, the absolute best way to keep any resolution is to show up and do it with as few excuses as possible. Think you can manage a 1000-word writing session per day? Don’t allow the first sunny day in weeks to lure you away from your keyboard. The old saw, BIC (Buns in Chair) covers all but the most serious sudden circumstances. If you are “not inspired” or just not feeling it, that’s a lame excuse—get thy buns immediately to thy work-in-progress. If your toilet is backed up, don’t beat yourself up for missing a writing session so you can get a plumber out to fix it (although the whole scenario might make a great story!) If you have a snoopy or needy family, find a writing space where you can be uninterrupted—even if it’s a Starbuck’s or in the locked bathroom (after the john is fixed!).
Shoot for Reality
If you make lofty resolutions such as hitting the New York Times bestseller list or getting a call from Oprah, you might want to readjust those goals. If it happens, hey I’m glad for you, but just in case, think of resolutions that are one or two steps above where you are now. You haven’t finished a novel’s first draft? Finishing would be a great and attainable goal. You want to revise that draft or hire an editor or enter a contest? Making good on goals like these will make you feel more satisfied. For a full-time worker, a parent of small children or someone dealing with major life changes, even pledging to write every day might be just the ticket to progress. Some writers reward themselves by hitting resolution targets and then putting funds toward a conference or book purchase, research trips or even eating chocolate.
No matter what your 2017 writing goals may be, the fact is that wherever you become discouraged and quit, that’s usually all the props you get from writing. Sure, some writers reap benefits posthumously, but do you really want that to be your resolution? If you make reasonable resolutions, accept few excuses and persevere, you’re bound to make some progress. It may not be exactly what you envisioned, but if you give up, you’ll never know how far down the writing road you might have gone. Maybe that’s the most important resolution of all: the determination to keep on keeping on, no matter what. Keep writing—it’s a reward you can attain no matter what your 2017 resolution may be.