You have resolutions. I have resolutions. Aunt Thelma has resolutions. And we’ll all have most of the same ones next year. That’s fine, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed with dreams at the start of the new year, and some resolutions help more than others, especially for writers.
Productivity grinds to a halt when you get sick. When your head is clouded by bad gut health, your ideas will struggle to coalesce into beautiful words. Your mind and body control each other. Failing to care for one will lead to problems with the other.
Healthy habits also support great fiction. Published writers often reveal they broke through writer’s block or discovered their best ideas during a walk or run. Light cardio changes your brain. If you’ve felt stuck for a while, go on a walk a couple times a week and see what comes to you.
You cannot write well if you do not read often. When was the last time you picked up a book? Have you let your love for sharp, personal essay reading fall by the wayside?
You don’t need to speed-read to reconnect with your roots as a reader. Set a low goal and pick a time of day to read. It doesn’t need to be a big goal, and you don’t need to sacrifice a whole hour. Try reading for thirty minutes before you turn on the television or Netflix in the evening. Pick up a book when you’re restless in bed. Keep your e-reader on hand for train and bus commutes. As for your goal, it doesn’t even have to be a number. Just keep reading at your chosen time and dedicate yourself to picking up a new book, collection, or essay when you finish the first.
Time and Passion
Every writer who ever dreamed of finishing their WIP made a New Year’s resolution to up their word count or complete X number of drafts in the coming year. Those are well and good, but they aren’t as important as you think.
Yes, to write you need to put your butt in the chair and do the work. No, you don’t need to be prolific as Stephen King to develop healthy writing habits.
The critical elements to a writer’s work are time and passion. You must give yourself time to write, and you must keep the fire behind your words alive. That may mean a lower word count, because you’ve killed your passion by struggling to write 2,000 words per day. It may mean you need to leave your WIP on the shelf and write something smaller, more intense, or more escapist that you actually want to create. Figure out what you need and adapt your habits accordingly. Just make sure you set aside time to make those things happen. You don’t need to write 1,000 words an hour. Writing even 50 or 100 moves you forward.
What personal resolutions are you pursuing this year? How do they tie into your life as a writer? Any advice based on past years’ experiences? Share with other writers below!