Friday, January 1, 2016
New Year, Same You
Over the course of the last two years I've won the honor of the first blog of the year for The Writing Bug. And in today's blog, like the past two years, I'm focusing on the new year ahead and how to blossom as a writer.
I could go on about hope and new promises and resolutions that are sure to take, but we've all heard the statistics. More than 50% of New Year's resolutions are given up within three months. Of those that don't throw in the towel, only 10% succeed. Put all of those percentages together and you've got yourself a small drop of success in a big bucket of hullabaloo. So how do you make the old you stick to a new-you goal?
Like weight loss or flossing, achieving your writing goals is something you will do one piece at a time. You don't floss 365 times in the first week when you set that goal for the year (my gums are bleeding!) You don't drop fifty pounds in a month (unless you're keen on dying). Setting the goal of writing a novel, finishing a novel, or publishing a novel isn't a lump sum you pay in the first few, inspirational filled days of the new year. It's something you do a word at a time. You have to work with what you know about yourself to be true.
I've failed many resolutions (sure I'll learn that Chopin piece by heart...Sure I'll read a book a week every week this year...Sure I'll break my cookie habit once and for all) mostly because I don't weigh my desire against my time (or willpower) realistically. We all have to recognize and admit to our own limitations.
What can I do, realistically, to achieve another novel (maybe two) this year?
I can't devote eight hours a day (I've got kids to wrangle and a cookie habit to keep up with). I can't even promise to write one hour most days. But I can write a page a day. I can commit to seven pages a week. That's over three hundred pages a year. That's a novel. That's attainable. And the best part is, much like those challenges of running one mile everyday for a period of time, you find that one mile becomes two or three with less and less effort. So you could very well end 2016 as an overachiever.
Commit to your writing. A poem a day, a line a day or five minutes in the chair scribbling down whatever you want, publishable or not, are promises you can keep. Just be a writer. You can't change yourself in a day. But in a year...There's hope.
What are your writing goals for the year and how do you intend to stick to them?