If you’re like me, you have a new, lofty writing or publishing goal this year. New Year’s Resolutions are tradition–and so are failing them. However, you don’t have to fail another New Year’s Resolution, especially if that goal is extremely important to you. There are several ways to accomplish your lofty goals, and most of them are easy (even if the actual goal is not).
#1 Write your resolution down
Write it down. Post it where you can see it. Make sure that goal stares at you every single day. If you can’t see your writing resolution every day, you’re going to forget to work on it. Or even forget it completely when life gets busy and hard. Because life will get busy and hard.
#2 Break your resolution down
A big goal is awesome. It’s also scary and intimidating. However, if you can break it down into smaller, bite-size goals, then you have a much higher chance at accomplishing it.
You also need to be realistic with your smaller goals. You aren’t going to revise a second draft in a month if you have a huge work project at the same time or you have to work extra shifts that month. Writing, and all the things associated with it, take time. Make sure you give yourself that time.
Sit down and write down everything you can think of that will be necessary into accomplishing your goal. See how it fits and start organizing it into a timeline. Give yourself some deadlines for the mini goals and perhaps rewards for accomplishing them. Big writing goals are more of a marathon than a sprint. You have to prepare and work hard to get to the big, final race.
Need ideas for breaking down your goal? Check out How to Break Down Your Writing Goal.
#3 Post your smaller goals where you will see them
This is pretty much the same idea as Write your resolution down, but you’ll want to do this will all the smaller goals. You don’t want to crowd out the main goal, so post the smaller goals somewhere else. In your day planner, on your Gmail calendar, in your work productivity app. Make sure you see the smaller goals as part of your everyday life.
If you’re writing a chapter a week, make sure on Friday or Saturday you have a deadline somewhere you’ll be reminded by. Add reminders on Wednesday (Don’t forget to keep writing!) if necessary.
If you’re wanting to start researching writing a querying letter in April, put it on your calendar so you don’t forget when April comes around you get busy with Easter plans.
Just make sure those smaller goals are incorporated into your daily schedule and reminder system. It’ll help you to remember and stay on top of them.
#4 Get a writing buddy
Don’t work on your resolution alone. If you have a writer friend (a human one, preferably), have them work on the goal with you. This keeps you accountable and on track. Plus, it’s more fun with friends. You can share your triumphs, heartbreaks, frustrations, and joy together.
On your own? Find a writing group! You don’t have to write by yourself. There are writing groups everywhere. They’re local and online. Find one for your genre and that you feel comfortable with. Other writers are willing to share your experiences, too. We all feel the ups and downs of writing, the intense exhilaration and joy, the depressing pitfalls that make us want to give up. Share these with someone, and you’ll discover that you’re more likely to keep your goal.
#5 Tell everyone
And I mean everyone. Tell your coworkers, your friends, your family. Someone is going to ask, “How’s that book going?” and keep you accountable. If you get behind, you’ll have encouragement to catch up. It’s like Get a writing buddy but with more pressure. You don’t want to disappoint everyone. While this seems extreme and intimidating, sometimes not wanting to disappoint others is the boost you need to not disappoint yourself with your writing New Year’s Resolution.
#6 If you get behind, re-evaluate instead of give up
Getting behind in a New Year’s resolution is common. Wanting to write a chapter a week but it took 3 weeks to write the last chapter? Trying to lose 5 pounds a month and missed a month? Trying to spend less time on your phone and had a bad week? Wanting to finish draft 3 by June so you could finish draft 4 by the end of the year, but it’s August and you’re still writing draft 3? Don’t give up!
Giving up is the last thing you want to do. Instead, re-evaluate your goal, timeline, and what you can do. Maybe write an extra 30 minutes a day for 2 months to catch up on the chapters you got behind. Maybe you simply need to only focus on writing two drafts rather than three. Look at the mini-goals you made yourself and see if you can adjust them or their deadlines. Work a little harder for a few weeks. Write an extra 15 minutes a day. Keep pushing yourself. You don’t need to give up; simply adjust how you’re currently doing something and rework it. You have totally got this.