Today is the last day of 2014, onto a new odd-numbered year with many a month ahead of writing, stressing, editing, drafting, proofing, planning, and brainstorming.
Amidst all the chaos, these past few days have prompted in many people a desire to self-reflect. Take a look back on the year. How did it go? Good things? Bad things? Miracles and tragedies? Fortune and despair? Fear and luck?
Or maybe your life is a bit simpler for now, and everything about 2014 was like a bowl of tomato basil soup: a bit viscous, with a bit of spice, but overall singularly flavored.
One thing’s for sure. If you’re a writer, then your life can be as exciting or dull, flavorful or flavorless as possible, but a sea of words, art, imagination, creativity, and stress still rage about like chaotic flecks in a shaken snow globe. No matter the highs and lows of this last year, at some point, words have brought us joy (along with myriad other emotions).
That’s what writing does. That’s what it’s good for. No matter if those words were in the form of reading or writing, books, poetry, music, speech, or just the scribbling of dreams on the margins of paper.
The tradition of making New Year’s Resolutions was always something I sort of shrugged at. I’m not opposed to making decisions and goals that positively impact my life. I just always thought that those sorts of goals should be made on an as-needed basis instead of being lumped together on a single Eve where the spirits consumed might immediately rob you of the memory of making them (aka: drunk people forget things).
After experiencing NaNoWriMo for the first time, I changed my tune. I began whistling praises instead of criticisms, because I finally realized that National Novel Writing Month is the same thing as making a resolution. It’s a time where it forces people to take action (through culture or opportunity) and to make goals, decisions, and promises.
Now, making silly half-promises like “Eat less sugar, lose ten pounds, work out more, spend less, eat less takeout, etc.” are all well and good, except we almost never adhere to our word.
So let’s talk about a more sacred word than our half-assessed oaths. Let’s talk about writing.
Let’s make promises we know we can keep, promises we actually will enjoy keeping. This New Year: Give your word to give more words. Write, read, experience, and create.
What’s your New Year’s Resolution?
- Read ten, twenty, fifty, 100 books? Let Goodreads keep you accountable with their 2015 Reading Challenge.
- Write a book? Try breaking it up into smaller monthly goals. Aim for a monthly word count goal, or to work on X number of pages of drafting/revising/etc.
- Use Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July.
- Use your own word count tracker (Microsoft Excel, or the one built into Scrivener, etc.)
- Write a number of pages/poems/stories? Maybe pin/tape them up on your wall as you finish so you can urge yourself onward to do better and to remind yourself of the work you’ve already done!
- Keep blogging? Instead of making the vague promise to “keep blogging,” get a monthly, weekly, or daily goal to update the little slice of internet you call home!
When writing (books, poetry, or a blog), it’s better to have shorter, more condense goals, tracked by the month or even week. That way, the project doesn’t seem so insurmountable or daunting!
My writing goals for January:
- Finish writing my current book, The Nameless Queen.
- Read at least one recreational novel (might have to wait until I’ve finished writing).
- Post to my blog at least twice per week.
I even know a couple from February:
- Read Victoria Aveyard‘s debut novel, Red Queen. (No plagiaristic connection to my book, I promise. Though I can’t be sure; hers hasn’t come out yet.)
- Take a short break from writing and do some hardcore reading.
- Or go back and fix blatant plot holes/errors in my book.
What about you? Do you have any writing goals for this upcoming year/month? Any books you’re looking forward to reading? Any books you’re looking forward to writing?