The ball has dropped, the calendar has turned, and we are once again in a new year! Now is the time we traditionally determine to make a change. We announce, scribble, and type out our resolutions to lose weight, quit a bad habit, and better ourselves.
With the best of intentions, a lot of enthusiasm and renewed determination, we give our best effort only to gorge on cookies, lit up that cigarette, and feel awful about ourselves by Mid January.
Why is it so difficult for many people to keep their New Year’s resolutions?
Many people assume it’s a lack of willpower or conviction that cause so many resolutions to fail. It is, however, a matter of not clearly defining our goals, clarifying our objectives, and setting unreasonable expectations.
As writers, how many of you have declared that this is the year you will write a novel or finish one? How many times has this resolution been put on your list?
Although it’s an admirable goal, it is also a lofty one. Because the parameters of this objective are vague, the prospect of beginning let alone reaching the goal is overwhelming. Instead, the key to successfully achieving your goal is to reframe your objective.
Start by clearly defining your intention and your reasons for it. If your goal is to write a novel, you must ask yourself why you want to do so. It’s important to understand your reasons for wanting to meet a particular goal. These reasons will serve as motivation in moments when your resolve is low.
You must also take the time to break up the considerable job of writing a novel into more reasonable tasks. Create a manageable timeline that includes smaller writing goals. Perhaps it’s writing a chapter a month or even a paragraph a day. The attainment of these goals will not only help you to ultimately reach your goal of finishing a novel but also give you the confidence to do so.
Once you realize your reasons for your objectives and clearly define them, it is a matter of setting your expectations. Understand that you may not reach the level of productivity that you set for yourself. It’s important to accept that you’ll not always be able to write a chapter every week or every month. It’s a process—a creative one—so forced productivity will not only be impossible, it will be detrimental.
It is only with clearly defined goals and reasonably set expectations that you can achieve your objective. Be it ambitious or modest, your success is determined by your acknowledgment and acceptance of the fact that it’s the small steps, not the leaping bounds, which bring you closer to your destination and the achievement of your goal.
So, perhaps you don’t set out to write a novel but rather to write 500 words a day. You commit to that word count every day. You write without fear of failure. You write without the compulsion for perfection. You simply write. It seems insignificant—500 words a day—but once you make the “write” resolution you’ll discover that you can write a novel. And keep a resolution.
Happy New Year!
Thank you for reading. I look forward to your comments.