Steps To A Successful New Writing Year

running-track-2-1528273-1279x852, photo by Eran Becker

Every year it seems the best of intentions can turn into guilt and regret all over what we didn’t accomplish the year before. Even so, on New Years Day we roll out a whole new list of goals designed to get us motivated to achieve new heights.Stop the run away train!

There is absolutely nothing wrong with setting new goals for the year, but consider a different process of arriving at your destination. In the writer’s life there are plenty of times when we deal with rejection and defeat. New Year’s doesn’t need to be one of them. Instead try the steps below.

Steps to a Successful New Writing Year:

*Celebrate the successes of last year. Take a moment and make a list of the things you accomplished last year. Celebrate those with a favorite activity, treat, or small token.

writing-1560276-640x480*Reflect on the process. Journal your thoughts of what made the successes possible. Notice the motivational pieces that helped you reach your goals.

For example, if entering a contest helped you to work on editing your novel, enter another contest this year.

Also, identify the things that stood in the way of success. Be completely honest with yourself. It is only helpful to set goals if you can be honest with yourself about your own shortcomings, or calendar difficulties.

*Recognize your most successful seasons.  Some may write better in the summer when the weather is warm. Others may have more success when their kids are in school. raindrops-1594135_1920Identify when you are most successful and determine to capitalize on these times.

*Set seasonal goals reflective of your potential. This year don’t write goals for the whole year. It is easy to get lost in goals that are so long term. It is alright to have these goals, but setting seasonal goals can be more successful because the time line is in small chunks.

Divide the calendar into the seasons that follow your rhythms and assign the goals to each segment. Keep in mind your personal strengths and weaknesses. Goals are meant to be attainable with some effort, not impossible. Be realistic.

Allow yourself to have a less productive season when you typically struggle. Make this time about refueling your muse and doing smaller amounts of writing. This will help you to feel recharged and ready to go in your best seasons.

*Check in with your Goal Journal. At the beginning and end of each writing season writingyou’ve identified, check in with your journal. Write notes about what worked and what didn’t. Celebrate your successes for the season you were in. Check that the next season’s goals are reasonable and map out how you plan to get there.

What works for you in setting goals?


Writing Resolutions For Writers Part 1

901416_69787654A New Year “fresh with no mistakes.” I love that phrase by Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables when she talks about each day.

We have a brand new year ahead of us, now we have to decide what we are going to do with it. And what about those beastly resolutions?

Did you know that a study by the University of Bristol in 2007 shows that 88% of people fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions?  Wow, that is not exactly a powerful endorsement.

416459_4922One thing we do learn from this study is how important community is for those who meet their goals. When we have finished setting our resolutions or goals, grab a buddy and encourage each other to reach that goal this year.

Writing Resolutions for Writers can be divided into two components, the big picture and the symptoms of success.

A friend gave me this first idea a few year’s back and I’d like to share it with you. Author Beth K. Vogt  Skills Coach at My Book Therapy told me that she picks one word to represent her goals for the year.

This word will frame everything that you want to accomplish. Seem impossible? Think more general. Words like dream, hope, excellence, etc.

If you struggle to find this word, start by writing down some of your goals and then find a word that could frame them. Last year my word was believe. I bought a Christmas ornament with that word and purposed my goals to mesh with that word.

My word this year is balance. Balance in faith, family, health, and career. All of my goals come out of this word. When I look at success, I will be assessing if I’ve achieved more balance in my life.


Writing Resolutions for Writer’s Part 1:

Now it’s your turn to start writing your resolutions. We will dig deeper in part two, but for now complete the following steps:

1. Pick a word to frame your year. What do you feel will boost your success this year? That is what you want this word to focus on.

2. Pick a verse or quote that embodies this word. There are going to be times when you get discouraged and fight forward progress with this word. Find a verse, or a quote, or both to post to help you when you are discouraged.

3. Pick some categories in your life that you want this word to impact. Remember these are still more general. Try to keep this to four or five categories, or you will get overwhelmed before you even start. Write down the word and categories. Be thinking about them the next day or so.

4. Pick a buddy. Pick a friend who you can share your goal with and encourage one another this year.

What word did you pick to represent your year?