I detest New Year’s Resolutions. It’s not that I mind self-improvement. I truly believe we should always be moving forward. I suppose that’s part of my issue with them–they tend to mask a lot of self-hate pretending to be good for you.
I prefer to make commitments each year. I’m aware those sound similar, but they’re not. A resolution focuses on the end result: I will lose ten pounds or never smoke again or publish a novel. But, when we want to accomplish something, our goal is meaningless without a plan. It’s like deciding to move to another country without securing a job or visa, a place to live, or even a means of travel. It’s as if we expect to just poof there, and the details can work themselves out.
But details, stubbornly, continue to refuse this responsibility. That’s why I like creating a plan and committing to the steps. Even more importantly, I’ll make a plan to evaluate if I’m any closer to my goal.
Last year, I committed to a plan to stop smoking. On January 23rd, I’ll be one year smoke-free. 2014 is the year of the writer for me. I’ve created a detailed plan, listed my commitments, tried to prepare for any foreseeable obstacles, and created quarterly evaluations on how well it works in my life.
Now that you know the keys to success (a realistic goal, a plan to achieve the goal, and a way to measure if it’s working), you can do anything. Including publish that novel. 2014 is the year of the writer for me. I’ve created a detailed plan, listed my commitments, tried to prepare for any foreseeable obstacles, and created quarterly evaluations on how well it works in my life.
If, like me, you want to commit to progress as a writer, here are some links to help you out:
- Jamie Raintree‘s yearly progress spreadsheet – Track your progress daily on up to five projects (caveat: requires a little working-knowledge with MS Excel).
- The Art of Stacking Projects by Scott Myers – Make the most of your writing time by keeping more projects going at once. (Not for everyone, I know.)
- Tips for Writing in Short Blocks of Time by Elizabeth Spann Craig – This is great if you’ve got small kids (or kids at all, or pets, or people who need you) or are trying to write and work that necessary evil known as the”day job.”