Six Writing Resolutions You Can Actually Keep
I’m going to file ‘finish editing my book’ into the same New Year’s resolution pile as ‘lose two stone’, ‘take up a new hobby’ and ‘be more positive’. Sure, I probably could do it, but it’s such a massive undertaking that it seems like I’m setting myself up to fail.
Plus, I know myself. As much optimism and commitment I have in the first weeks of January, come March the healthy eating and writing every day plan will have descended into chocolate biscuits for dinner and Netflix marathons. So how about some achievable writing resolutions you can actually keep? Here are mine:
1. Read more
It doesn’t matter how busy you are, I’m certain that you can fit reading into your schedule if you book it in and you make a habit of it. I spend ten minutes every morning reading in my car before I go to work – sure it takes me an age to finish a book, but it’s one of the only times when I’m free with no other distractions. So look at your day, or your week – where can you make spare time to read and stick to it?
2. Create smaller writing goals
The problem with ‘finish/edit your book’ is that it’s an oppressively big task. So I’m going to try and break it up into either weekly or monthly goals to make it more achieveable. It can be specific, like ‘work on the first chapter this month’ or ‘rewrite one key scene’, or just a general writing commitment like ‘write for ten minutes every day this week without exception’. Look at what you want to achieve and break it up into tasks, no matter how small. If you’re like me, you’ll get a kick out of crossing things off your to-do list, especially if you get to buy new stationery for said list.
3. Be flexible
I already know that I won’t be able to meet many of my weekly writing goals. Cynical? Yup, but it’s realistic. So instead of setting things in stone I’m going to allow my goals to be flexible so that I don’t feel like I’ve failed if I fall behind. Didn’t meet this week’s goal? Either set it for next week or just skip it entirely and move on.
4.Make ‘writing time’ actual writing time
Like reading, writing is generally last on my list of things to do and everything else seems to take priority. That’s a hard one to change, but what I can do is be more productive when I’m writing. So that means finding a writing space, physically turning off my phone, logging out of Facebook and unplugging the wifi – whatever I need to do to make sure that I use those twenty minutes or however much I can spare to their full potential. Sorry BuzzFeed, we’re not breaking up, but we just need to see less of each other.
5. Write and read outside your comfort zone
I’m going to try and be more open-minded in what I read and write this year. When I was younger I was still exploring and finding ‘my genre’ of books so I’d pretty much read everything I could get my hands on, now, not so much. I’m guilty of looking at a book and instantly deciding that ‘it’s not my thing’ without giving it a go. The same with my writing. So as well as finding a book that’s a different genre I’m going to make an effort to look for writing prompts that are outside of my comfort zone and push me to explore new ways of writing. After all, how do I know that I don’t love cyberpunk detective novels if I’ve never read or written one?
6. Find new words
One day I’d love to back into education and take creative writing lessons or join a writing group, but until then there’s one free and super quick way I can improve myself: expanding my vocabulary. Find an app, or visit Dictionary.com for their word of the day. Today I’m all over ‘remunerative’.
Do you have any resolutions to add? Keep me posted on how you’re getting on with your writing goals this year.