My New Year's resolutions tend to be non-existent or, at the very least, short-lived. Exercise more, eat healthy, don't be so high-strung. It works well for a month or two, but by the end of February at the latest, I'll be stuffing my face with chocolate while binge watching my third show of the year, being stressed out about life, the universe, and everything. This year, I resolve to be different. This year, I shall focus my resolutions entirely on my writing and I shall keep them all. Why? Because I intend to review them all by the end of the year and take stock of my accomplishments.
A year ago writing wasn't even on the table as more than a hobbit... hobby. I guess I cannot hide that I have been heavily influenced by J. R. R. Tolkien, both as a reader and a writer.
Anyway.... a year ago writing wasn't even on the table as more than a hobby. It was only about two months in that I realised in order to make my dream of becoming a published writer a reality I needed to start taking it more seriously and invest both more time and effort. And for the first time in my life I had the means to do that. While I am reasonably pleased with the results of last year, I have learned a lot about myself and my approach to writing, and I have come up with some resolutions which will, hopefully, make it easier to follow through.
Complete at least one novelAnd by complete I mean first draft status. Of course, I don't intend to stop there, but once proof readers enter the game the time scale is out of my hand. And, to be honest, as long as I am not working to a publisher/agent imposed deadline, I don't expect my proof readers to. They are already giving my their time and valuable feedback. No need to stress them. I do, however, intend to spend the time one manuscript is with proof readers working on the outlines of the next and not fall into the summer slump as I did last year. Related to that is resolution #2...
Make writing a priorityI may be focusing on my novel length project(s), but instead of pausing when I run out of steam I will write short stories, or simply scribble my random thoughts on paper. Whatever comes out, I will make sure to set a couple hours aside for writing at least 5 out of 7 days ever week. More, if I can, but if the last year has taught me anything, it is that I get stressed out if I do not allow for my social schedule to take up time in my week too. Which leads to resolution #3...
Allow for guilt-free down-timeWriting, to me, is how I recharge my batteries. Few things make me as happy as simply floating through the creative processes involved. But ever since I upgraded writing from hobby to profession I forget to allow myself breaks from it. I neglect other hobbies and friends and family, forgetting that I also want to enjoy time with them. I get stressed out if it has been several days or - heaven forbid! - weeks since I last focused all my attention on my project(s). So, this year, I'll make time for those friend-filled, fun, relaxing, silly, and lazy days without feeling guilty. Who knows what they might inspire me to?
Stop comparingI think it's the curse of every writer that they keep comparing themselves to others. "My writing will never be as good as Author X.", "Author X is writing three books a year and I barely manage to finish one."
This year I'll try to ignore Author X, whoever they may be, and simply do the best I can, working in my circumstances and with my skills and experience - which is not to say I'm not willing to learn, but I'll stop trying to be like somebody else.
Be daringIn the past year I slowly got used to calling myself a writer - though I still need to nudge my confidence every so often. Yes, I am a writer, even if I am not published yet. This year I will take it a step further and go looking for trouble, so to speak. Enter competitions and finally send that first (and second, and third...) email to potential agents.
2017.... I'm ready!