Should Writers Have Resolutions?

In light of the new year, I think it’s important to examine what your goals are as a writer. This can come in many variations. The first being rather broad. You want to write more. You want to write better. They’re important goals. These are the sort of large-scale changes to your writing life that you know need to happen. But they’re hard to quantify by nature. There’s no way of knowing whether you’re making progress towards them, since they’re by nature pretty fucking vague. Well, there goes one resolution. I said I’d swear less. So it goes. The key to this kind of goal in your writing is knowing what steps you have to take to really enact them. Breaking things down into tiny tasks is key to keep from procrastinating, if you’re prone to that sort of thing. I know I am. It’ll keep you from going entirely insane. Unless you’re already there. In which case, welcome to the family.

Another type of resolution that’s very often made is perhaps the trickiest. The ones that are concrete. Too concrete. To the point of beind unforgiven. You feel as if missing one day calls the whole thiing off, and you may as well watch Netflix instead. Don’t listen to that voice. The world isn’t ending because you didn’t write 1000 words that day. I think we’re all pretty damned lucky that isn’t the case, or we’d have collectively died a thousand deaths by now. I like to think that I’m capable of a lot. Sometimes, I think I’m capable of more than I actually am. I’ve already broken my word count goals thus far, and I’m fairly to terms with it. The point is, you can’t expect too much of yourself. Conversely, if you expect too little of yourself, you may as well not make goals at all. The best route for most is to sort of build yourself up. Maybe this month, your word count goal is five hundred words a day, and next month is seven hundred fifty. Or better yet, make it a weekly goal. This allows a bit of forgiveness if you have a day that you don’t write for whatever reason. But really. We all know we should be writing right now anyway.

The last example sort of falls under the category of results-based goals. These can be as simple or as hard as you like. Finishing your first draft. Or muscling through your second. Third. Fourth. Fifth. Oh, God. I hate rewrites. Where was I? Or maybe they’re a bit more long term than that. Maybe it’s about getting an ageng. Or seeing your name in print, be it a magazine or on a shelf. Again, it’s best if you break these things down into smaller tasks. It keeps you from crying in the shower. First things first, deal with your own work as best as you can. This sounds so much less horrific than it actually is. Next, deal with the parts you can do that surround it. This could be building a platform, or getting credits. Then it’s time to deal with other people. I know, I know. We’re writers. We don’t play well with others. But do it anyway. And do it as well as you can. These are all rather common, and easier said than done types of aspirations. But don’t worry. All hope is not lost. Just be stubborn. That’s all we can be as creatives. Stubborn little dreamers.

So, the question I posed in the title of this post. The short answer is yes. And no. Alright, so there is no short answer. Every writer is different just like every book is different. And it’s important to pay attention to these and decide what you need to work on. And what you don’t. You can do just as much damage by having the wrong resolutions as you can by having none at all. Maybe even more. Mine? I’m glad you asked. Alright, so you didn’t ask. But I’ll tell you anyway. Regularity in the face of external tumult. And continuing to venture out on the proverbial limb. Oh, and to keep rewriting. Fuck all, did I mention I hate rewriting? Wish me luck on all fronts.

So. What kind of resolutions have you made for your writing year? How do you plan to enact them?

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