It is almost New Years Day and time to make your New Years Resolutions for 2014.
In anticipation of another 1st of January, spent hung over and lying quietly next to the toilet, making mental lists of what not to do next year, I thought I would share some resolution advice from what I have learned.
Do's and Don'ts for Writing Resolutions
- Don’t… Write a long list of chores for the year.
If everything on your list is a boring chore to work through or a task that has rolled over from last year – Ask yourself if you really will achieve it. Probably not – Because its Boring! Your list needs to be motivating, exciting and challenging.
- Don’t – Write down cliched stuff you know you wont do.
If you know for certain that you are not going to be able to finish, proof and publish that book by the end of next year – Then don’t put down, 1. Publish a novel – Its just stupid, and you’ll fail.
- Don’t – Focus on everything you would ever want to achieve in your lifetime.
Be realistic about how many days there are in a year and what can be achieved. If you write full time without taking any holidays in 2014, you will have about 2080 hrs to work with. As an Emerging Writer you will probably have another kind of part time work, as I do two days a week, so that is … 1248 hrs of writing. And if you spend any time (which you should) on education, research and learning more about writing then you are looking at about 832 hrs of actual writing next year. What can you really get done in that time?
- Do – Focus on the reward not the effort.
Try to aim your New Years Resolutions around rewards and sense of achievement rather than the effort of working and writing. For example change, Finish Novel to something like, I will spend a whole day in the park drinking cidar with my friends the day I finish my Novel. Change – I will do my tax as a writer this year... to something like, I will claim my computer on tax this year as I am a writer ($$$).
- Do – Make them sound fun.
Need I say more about this?
- Do – Write your resolutions.
It is crucial to have your resolutions written down somewhere. Keep them somewhere you can find them and easily read over them when you need to. Write them as though a stupid idiot is going to read them out loud to all of your friends. That is how clear they need to be. They must be so clear and simple that a stranger would know if they have been achieved or not. This is a different kind of writing that should not be very creative.
- D0 – Write your resolutions in advance.
This will make sure they are considered and relevant to where you want to go. Don’t write your resolutions from the bathroom floor on the 1st of January. I start taking notes about what I want to focus on next year from about the end of November. That is when I start to reflect on the last year, and lots of talk about what has happened that year among friends has started.
- Do – Aim at being better than last year – Not Perfect.
There is no end product to your life. You and your career are never finished, so don’t get hung up on making this year a perfect year. Just aim for it to be better than last year; for you to be a better writer than you were last year, not a perfect writer (as there is no such thing).
- Do – Keep it simple.
Limit yourself to five resolutions if you can, and just make sure they get done.
Five ticked off resolutions will leave you feeling much better than only doing 5 things on a list of 34!
1. Go to the Melbourne Emerging Writers Festival.
2. Give away work for free to get some critical feedback. (Completed March 18th 2014)
3. Commit to a writers group for 12 months.
4. Write my own wedding vows. (Completed on 26th April 2014)
5. Sell a Book.