Did you make long ribbons of resolutions while sitting in the dark waiting for midnight to chime off in your part of the world so you can STOP writing the resolution list and just drink?
Resolutions have taken on great portentous weights and expectations. It used to be we could solemnly promise to stop smoking on December 31st and call it a night. Even if we didn’t smoke.
Now we are plagued, year round, by countless extortions wrapped up in pricey seminars that command us to visualize, manifest and otherwise think ourselves into prosperity or fame, right now, starting today, March 15, or July 12th. It’s never too late to start right now because the only person standing in your way, is you.
So we pay our money, attend the seminar and believe, absolutely believe, for two days.
I offer a different list for writers.
Forget the new to-do list you just wrote, especially if goals like: make the best seller list and sell the film rights are found in the top ten things to manifest this morning. Instead, what is on that list that you can do something about?
What project do you really need to get on with?
What do you Gotta Do?
What did you put off in the dark of the holidays that you promised your inner child you would absolutely, won’t fail to tackle this new bright January?
If you gotta do that writing, here are some ideas to help get started:
- Don’t try to do it all today (I am very guilty of this mindset), you’ll fail and then have a great excuse to give up in dramatic and noisy despair.
- Don’t berate yourself for not starting first thing on January 1st, no one starts anything on the first.
- Do create a schedule for your project, but a real one, not fantasy, are you really going to finish the novel in two weeks?
- On that note, schedule time to manage unforeseen activities like, the whole back fence blowing down. Or being accidentally signed up to speak at the SF Writers Conference.( surprise!), or getting married (surprise again!). Death is a good reason not to write, particularly if it’s your own.
- Break up that schedules into quarters.
- Don’t work on weekends. This is a five day/week schedule. Give yourself time off.
- Make a plan to complete your writing goals by the end of the next quarter – give anything you try at least three months.
Break down the project into daily tasks, either by chapters or word count and each day, just focus on today’s goal. It’s like NaNoWriMo lite.
Another trick that works wonders is to cheat. Set up the calendar of projects, back up what you need per day, then knock off three days worth of writing in one day. Work on Saturday to get ahead for Monday. For some reason cheating is more fun. And if it gets the job done, it’s a win.
Watch for our upcoming book, Don’t Write Like We Talk – What we learned after four years of interviewing Authors and Agents, Publishers and Poets. From the Newbie Writers Podcast, Damien Boath and Catharine Bramkamp