New Year’s Resolutions
Many are sharing New Year’s Resolutions … and I threw this question to my writing pal (AKA nag buddy), Patsy Collins.
Should we bother making New Year’s Resolutions?
The trouble with most New Year’s resolutions is that they tend to be negative. We promise to quit smoking, cut down on the drink or avoid some of our favourite foods. The negativity makes them harder to stick to and, if we break them, we feel like a failure, even though we may have done considerably better in our aims than we did the previous year.
Saying ‘no’ is hard enough when a friend asks a favour. Depriving yourself of things you’ve done forever seems like a punishment!
Let’s be positive in our approach to how we fare in 2018!
Yes … and when it comes to writing goals, we’re told these should be SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-related. That’s perfectly fine for staff reports, but I don’t feel that writing requires the same constraints. It’s a creative activity, which many of us undertake partly for fun, so why shouldn’t our aims be creative and fun too?
Sounds like a plan!
Be creative when inventing your New Year’s Resolutions
Think about and write down what you’d really like from your writing. Don’t worry if it seems unrealistic at the moment, or you know it’ll take years to achieve, or it’s not a goal others would approve of or understand. You don’t need to tell anyone else (unless you’d like to), you can write it in code, or hide it away, but do write it down.
Mum’s the word!
Next, set about making it come true
Some things you may not have any control over, but there will be things you can do.
As an example, you might have decided you want a film to be made of your story and for your favourite actor to play the lead and to walk you down the red carpet at the premiere. That’s not SMART, nor even very likely … at least not yet.
- If you can think up a story with an appropriate lead character then you’re headed in the right direction.
- If you actually write something along those lines you’re getting closer.
- If you rewrite and edit it until it’s the best you can make it, and then submit it, your chances are considerably improved.
- Produce two such pieces and they’re doubled.
There may be other things you can do. Perhaps friend the actor on social media, find out how casting directors work, write and submit other work in the hope of building your reputation.
Not aiming so high?
Maybe your goal was to have a story published every week of the year. In that case, it will help to write quite a few, and research suitable markets, buy stamps for any postal submissions…
If your hope is to write with flawless grammar, learning the difference between a semicolon and an interrobang will get you started.
Writing the New Year’s Resolution is only the first step
Don’t forget to read widely in your chosen form and genre, to help you to keep your aims in mind.
Is anything holding you back from taking these steps?
Add these to your list too – plus ways of rectifying them.
- Maybe you don’t have time to write a novel. OK then, write a page, or a paragraph, or a sentence. Do that often enough and you’ll eventually get the thing finished.
- Just discovered George Clooney isn’t on Twitter? Then make your own tweets so interesting he’ll want to open an account just so he can follow you.
Perhaps you’re quite new to writing and would benefit from a book like From Story Idea to Reader.
If you struggle with editing, you need only apply Anne’s RedPen Editing method. Buy her book EDITING the RedPen Way: 10 steps to successful self-editing – which is only 99p for the twelve days of Christmas.
Invest in yourself in 2018 – sign up for a course!
Consider enrolling for the Hope Cove Writers Weekend 9/11 March 2018 – led by Patsy Collins and Anne Rainbow.
How could you not be inspired at this amazing venue?
Make your New Year’s Resolutions hard to fail
The best thing about this approach is that it’s fairly hard to fail. I’m not saying impossible in case you decide to prove me wrong!
- If, come 2019, you haven’t finished the book, that doesn’t mean you failed. As long as you’ve made a start, you’ll be closer to achieving your aim than you are now.
- If George Clooney still isn’t following you on twitter, that’s OK.
- If you’re writing interesting tweets and gaining followers then maybe his agent is and, in any case, you’re building up a platform which might help in other ways.
How should we measure success?
Success comes not only from reaching our overall aim, but from each step towards achieving whatever it is, and in enjoying the process.
Let’s drink to that!
Here’s wishing all my followers – and Patsy’s too – the very best for 2018.
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