Let’s take a mind trip shall we, to the first week of 2015. That’d be exactly one year ago. How was your optimism? Did you feel that you can take over the fictional world? Did you feel that all your writing dreams would come true in 2015?
Fast-forward fast as the Flash to present day. How do you feel now about how 2015 went? Did all your dreams come true? No? Well, don’t feel bad. Let’s change your writing mind-set in 2016 to make at least some of your writing dreams come true. Are you ready? Good, let’s get started!
First, let’s ditch that word: dreams. Yep, cross it off your pad of paper titled ‘2016 Writing Dreams’. Save your dreams for your sleep. Dreams you dream in your sleep as a writer should inspire you. But let’s not mix up the word dreams with goals. With tasks. And actions. Now those are words we should (and will be!) focusing on!
Now I did not want you to feel guilty when you reflected on how you were feeling this time exactly one year ago. I asked for that reflection because looking back over the year helps us understand what we wanted to accomplish then, so we can be motivated to accomplish it now. But yes, trust me, calling it an agenda / task / goal / action-item whatever you do in your “real world” life should also apply to your writer life as well! Well, at least, if you want to be serious about it. Oh you are, are you? Well good! Because, it is possible to turn that story from “to-do” to “to-done”. I’m not going to give you false hope that it’ll be easy. But nothing easy is worthwhile. I forget who told me that, but it’s a lesson I never forget and even a lesson that has inspired a couple of my characters.
So here you go, just for you, the dutiful author are some New Year Resolutions that you can actually keep! Shocking, I know, but it’s possible. My 2015 self found that out when she published her debut novel. And if I can do it, you TOTALLY can do it!!!
- Set aside days just for writing and days just for editing. Don’t mix and match. This is because your writing brain thinks different than you’re editing brain. Or it does for many people from Earth because editing is very left brain and writing is very right brain. If you’re not from Earth, ignore all of the following.
- If you’re already published, talk to a local book store and see if they’d do business with you. Maybe if they can’t do business with you, maybe they will agree to hang your poster or something if you ask really nicely and try to smile when you do. Most people like smiles. Unless you don’t like people, then try e-mail.
- If you’re already published and don’t have a “poster” already, Staples can print one pretty cheap. Use Canva to design one or hire a marketing people. I use Blue Harvest Creative and they’re great.
- If you’re already published, talk to your local library for a speaking gig. You can either talk about your book or talk about writing in general. Pretend you’re writing a blog post, only you’ll be speaking it.
- If you’re already published (see where I’m going with this?) talk to your local school to inspire young readers / authors. Just ask Sara D how much fun it can be! She even wrote a post about her experience.
- If you’re not published, maybe a good goal is to self-publish this year. Or start training for the agent-hunting games, because they like them hoops for you to jump through.
- If you’re not published, research quality book designers and/or folks to format your book such as Blue Harvest Creative if self-publishing is right for you and make your goals come true faster.
- Set aside time in the morning before the daily chaos to write or plot. A little bit a day keeps the writers block away!
- Either write on the weekdays and edit on the weekends or vise-versa. But block an hour a day for both, just not on the same day! Yes you have time. An hour a day doesn’t have to be 60 minutes at a time. You can break it down into 15 minute stints or even when you’re pooping if you don’t even have 15 minutes. But yes, you have time.
- Buy a new notebook for your story. Maybe all you need to feel a fresh start is a new notebook. I don’t mean a laptop, I mean those things with paper in them! And look, the paper is already coiled for you, isn’t that nice?
- And hey, while you’re already at the stationary store, why not pick up a fancy new pen too to make you feel like a pro?
- If you use a digital calendar system such as Google Calendar, create a calendar called “writing time” or something similar. This way, your phone will remind you when you should be writing. It just may remind you to actually start writing again.
- Turn off the notifications of your email and Facebook during your writing time. You should actually be, you know, writing! And no, writing a post on what kind of coffee you’re drinking doesn’t count. Damn, now I want coffee! Wait, what?
- Don’t give into writers block. I do believe it’s real but I also do believe everyone has the power to un-block. For me when I have writers block, it means it’s time to change stories for a little bit. If you’re like me, you have a million you’re working on!
- Talk about your writing, even if it’s just on Twitter. Sometimes ESPECIALLY if it’s on Twitter. The #amwriting community is so inspiring. But talking about your writing is very motivating and kicks your rear into gear.
- Most of all, don’t give up! I truly believe humans are made up of stories. And if you’re a human from Earth, you have a story to tell. Fictional or not, own it. Because you do. All that’s left is to share it with the other humans of Earth.
What are your writing goals for 2016? How do you plan on achieving them? Share below to help fellow authors!