I've read plenty of posts from bloggers/writers/authors sketching out their resolutions for 2014, promising that this will be the year they're going to write more, submit more, get that novel finished...
I always have a creative burst at the beginning of the year, no problem, but maintaining that creativity is the problem. I don't speak resolutions out loud, knowing I'll break them for sure, and I'd feel more of a failure that way. I've been called a 'quiet achiever' by those who know me well, and I quite like that handle. I have my goals firmly in sight, but I don't like to articulate them, even to myself at times!
Writing goals take months, even years, to accomplish, and it's hard to keep that initial enthusiasm burning brightly over a long period, isn't it? Here are some tips I've discovered recently that may make achieving our goals easier:
- Focus on the writing process rather than focusing on a long-term goal which makes it harder to reach the end point.
- Have a well-articulated goal in mind; it will then be easier to get to the keyboard/notepad and start writing towards that goal. Writing a five-minute outline each day before tackling your writing can help. (Hemingway said he never stopped writing each day until he knew where he'd start next day.) Perhaps jot down a short outline so your mind has a map.
- Learn to embrace the process - get satisfaction from doing the things that make up your writing career, rather than focusing on where it can take you long term.
- Make your writing satisfying. Take pleasure in the routine. Improve your daily word count; this will move you towards your end goal.
- Track your word count visually - you could put a progress meter on your website. This is part of the success of NaNoWriMo - daily word counts push participants towards the end point. If you can write 1,600 words daily for NaNo, you can certainly write 500 each day! This is a little more difficult when you have more than one project cooking! I'd have a half dozen progress meters clicking away!
- Have a regular check in. This is another reason for NaNo's success - writers form communities and gather writing buddies around them to shout about their up-coming novel, or bemoan the fact that they aren't reaching their daily word count. Writers need other writers to share their successes/failures with.
- Up your creativity by considering Stephen King's comment - "...life is not a support system for art; it's the other way around." It's through living and working and struggling and thinking and feeling that we develop those aspects of our personality that seek expression through writing. Write, by all means. But don't forget to live.
To keep writing I need fresh motivation. I find that by hosting/writing for Write...Edit...Publish, the permanent monthly blogfest hosted by Yours Truly. This way I am challenged to stretch myself, write in genres I wouldn't have dreamed of otherwise, and receive feedback from other writers. To me it fulfils No 6 - it's that regular check in.
If you're struggling to keep writing this year - you're welcome to join WEP. It's like a monthly NaNo - those who post flash fiction or non-fiction or poetry, are writing upwards of 1,000 good, proofread, edited, polished words a month that they probably wouldn't have written otherwise. Some of those stories may form parts of a WIP, some written solely for WEP may be improved after feedback, broadened, then submitted to magazines etc.
Here are six month's worth of Write...Edit...Publish challenges. The next challenge - What's in a face? can incorporate Valentine's Day themes if you wish. Join us on February 14 with a story, a poem, an artwork, a photograph or two...whatever strikes you as appropriate for the theme. Visit the WEP website to learn more. The linky is up! You can sign up here in my right hand sidebar.