It’s that time of year again when we believe the changing of a year, or in this case, a decade, will somehow magically renew our efforts at all things. Even though most New Year’s resolutions dissolve in days or weeks, I’m not going to let that stop me from heading into 2020 more mindful. Here are my personal resolutions for making 2020 my most successful writing year yet.
Read More, Specifically a Book a Week
Writers are always advised to read more, and although I am a big reader, I am going to do it mindfully this year. I’m going to see what reading 50 books in a year does for my writing. I’ve never set an intentional reading goal, but it’s happening. I’m choosing to do 50 instead of 52 because I’m reminded how crazy the holidays can be, and I know I’ll need the wiggle room.
My family and I were going to have a family book club this Christmas, but no one read the book. Everyone’s excuse was that we “didn’t have time.” But you better believe we had time to watch TV and read infuriating news stories. The truth is that we absolutely had time. We just chose to spend it doing other leisure activities. This year: it’s going to be reading. I’m positive it will help my writing.
Finish Another Manuscript
The only way to be a better writer and increase chances of getting published is to write more. Duh. Somehow I get in my own head about it, especially when I’m embarking on a new manuscript. I get an idea. Then I get stuck in the plotting. Then I start writing to “feel it out.” Then I get convinced that it’s boring and hopeless, and I start to try to think of something new. This is why I only manage to finish a manuscript about every three years. I realize I’ve advised against doing this very thing, but there’s the truth.
I learn so much about writing every time I push through these issues with a story. There’s a lot to be learned from finishing, revising, and polishing, and I feel much more comfortable there. Figuring out what happens next is terrifying because it means blank pages. However, much like using a muscle that’s gotten flabby, it is harder at first. And it does become easier. I’m experienced enough to know that now, so I have to get just get over myself and get it done.
Make Daily (or Near Daily) Writing a Habit
This is a big one for me. I’m busy, like everyone reading this post. We’re all busy. Working on the project that’s simultaneously frustrating and earns no money is easy to put on the back burner. No longer! I love writing when I’m “in the groove,” but it’s like torture when it’s still coming together. It’s time for me to act like a grown up and do it even when I don’t wanna. To make that happen, I’ll need to carve out time every (or almost every) day. It can be as little as half an hour, but it’s gotta happen. I haven’t decided if I’ll wake up a half an hour early or where I’ll add it in, but I’m going to turn it into a habit.
I’ve heard that having an accountability chart for oneself helps people stay on track for whatever they’re doing—diet, fitness, or in this case, writing. If we make it about showing up and less about the results, it’s supposed to be more motivating. I’m going to underline or circle the dates on my calendar if I get in a half an hour of writing in a day. Then I can visualize my progress a little better. Let’s see how that goes.
No matter your resolutions, I wish everyone a happy and productive 2020!