How Then, Shall We Jump Start Our Writing Goals for the New Year?

We’re coming up on two weeks into the new year. Ack! Wasn’t it just Christmas? Didn’t we just do Thanksgiving? Soon we’ll be talking about fireworks displays.  I’m still seeing a lot of posts about how to plan to make this your best year yet. I confess, I read almost every one.  Because I love me some planning, yes I do. And then of course there are the requisite posts about how you really shouldn’t plan or create new year’s resolutions because you’ll just fail at them anyway.

To which I say, pish-posh.  How are you supposed to get anything done if you don’t know what you need to do? So here we are two weeks in and I actually think it’s a good time to review your goals.  January is either all bright and shiny and new for you or it’s a terrible slog, but either way the luster might be off some of those goals.  But, the world needs your voice. You need your voice to be heard in the world. It works both ways.  So, herein are some thoughts for how to reconnect and move forward with those writing goals.  17 of them, in fact. Because…oh never mind. You get it.

  1. Write faster.  I’m putting together a….hmmm, what shall I call it? Book? Mini-book? Maybe report. I loved writing reports in school. I’m putting together a report on how to write faster and better and you can get it if you’re on my list (see sign-up to the right). It won’t be out until February so between now and then write as fast as you can. Because its better to get something on the page than nothing. So I say.
  2. Create an activation trigger for your goal.  This is a simple action that will make it easier for you to reach your goal. So, in my case, since I want to write first thing in the morning, an activation trigger would be to shut down all my inboxes and other distracting tabs the night before.  But let the all-mighty and wonderful Michael Hyatt explain it to you by going here.
  3. Clean up your crap.  Bwahahahahaha. That’s the sound of me laughing hysterically because my office is such a mess. And organizing it is the one thing I can’t seem to get myself to do. But sometimes I start to feel overwhelmed and look around and think, no wonder. I know I would be able to think better if my space were cleaner. And I also know that money likes to come where there’s room. So I’m working on it. How about you?
  4. Study. I love learning new things. And there are certain areas that I need to brush up on, for sure. Like marketing and money. So I’m setting aside time to study those topics this year.  Years ago I read a book that stated committing thirty minutes a day to a subject is enough to become expert in it. I’ve never forgotten that. Learning marketing will boost your book sales, so if that’s one of your goals, have at it.
  5. Quit worrying about what other people think.  You said yes to the PTA bake sale because you were afraid the other mothers would think you a slacker if you didn’t, but now baking cupcakes for 500 is going to take up your writing time? Stop doing shit like that.  Who cares what they think? We do, I know. It is one of the hardest things to get over.  But your writing is more important than your sister’s best friend’s cousin’s opinion of you (and this includes Facebook posting/jealous, too).
  6.  Don’t do crap you don’t want to do. Okay, into each life some rain must fall. We all have things that we don’t want to do. Like cook dinner when you’d rather be writing. Taking the garbage out when its snowing. Cutting back on wine because you want to lose some weight. (Oh and none of these items are autobiographical. Uh-uh, no way.) But we do make ourselves say yes to plenty of things we don’t want to do. Case in point: I just finished knitting a pink #pussyhat to wear at the Portland Women’s March.  The idea of this is to knit hats to keep the women marching in Washington warm and also create a great visual image. Everyone on Instagram is knitting one hat after another and I thought I would, too. But after casting mine off I realized I really don’t want to knit another one. Usually I’d force myself. Because, I have to be the most perfect activist ever! But I have no interest in knitting another one. (I get bored really easily.) So just today I gave myself permission not to knit another one.  More time for writing.
  7. Stop with the perfectionism. It doesn’t serve you and it doesn’t serve the people you love, either. Here’s a fun little exercise: force yourself to write one bad page. One really, terrible, horrible, very bad page.  There. Doesn’t that feel better?
  8. Find a planner or some kind of system that works for you. I’m old-school paper when it comes to this. Don’t bother sending me a Google calendar notification cuz I don’t use one.  It took me a long time, but I recently figured out the best calendar for me is daily calendar. I bought the daily planner from Danielle LaPorte (affiliate link) and I LOVE it. They sold out but are coming back in stock on January 15th. Highly recommended. (News flash addendum: I’ve used and recommended the Leonie Dawson Your Shining Year workbooks and planners in the past. She’s having a 50% off clearance sale at the moment. Go here, which is an affiliate link, to see.)
  9. Meditate. Quit your bitching and just do it. I get many of my best ideas during meditation sessions.
  10. Write morning pages. I know you don’t have time, but do it anyway. Gets all your crap out of your head and onto the page and is another place I get brilliant ideas. You know morning pages, don’t you? Popularized by Julia Cameron, they are three pages of long-hand stream of consciousness writing first thing in the morning. Sometimes mine are shorter than three pages, sometimes longer. Doesn’t matter.
  11. Automate. I think we used to call this delegating. Whatever. Look at what stupid things are getting in the way of your writing and figure out a way to make someone else do them. Miniature adults, i.e., your children, are great for this. Make them set the table and do laundry, etc. Yeah, right. Hopefully yours will be better at this than mine were. Failing that, hire an assistant. Or at the very least, order your groceries online and go pick them up (or send your teenager who just got his license and loves to drive to do it). We live in a miraculous world, people. Take advantage of it.
  12. Hire a coach. I have my eyes set on two this year. One for writing and one for business. And, ahem, if you are a writer looking for one you could consider me. (If you would like to schedule a connection session to chat with me about it, just click here and you’re all set.)
  13. Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Gee, what a great title. Someone should use it for a book. Oh, never mind. But don’t worry about the stuff you can’t control, like the weather. We’re currently working on our fourth winter storm in a city that usually just gets rain. I get so distracted looking out the window, turning on the TV for news and so on. Dumb. Wasting precious time.
  14. Use things you love. For instance, I love writing with multi-colored pens.  The Pilot G-2 Gel Rollers come in a luscious array of colors and I use them on my planner and in my journals. A bit teenager-ish, but I don’t care. It’s fun.
  15. Read. Some writers don’t like to read when they’re writing, but I say, words in, words out. Reading inspires you, it instructs you and it teaches you. Read everything you can get your hands on and think how it relates to your writing.
  16. Get very clear about what you want with your writing.  Yeah, I know you’ve been figuring out goals and so forth, but are they shoulds or wants? This business we are in is not an easy one, and so I think you should do what makes you happy in it, not what someone else thinks you should be doing.  With all the things I do, I have to constantly remind myself that fiction comes first.
  17. Do we really need a #17? Kidding. Here it is: launch. That happens to be my word of the year, but I think it is apropos. Think of it as rising up or upleveling.  Because if ever there was a year to stand up and stand out and do your thing as fully and wholely as possible this is it.  Recalibrate your mindset so that you truly are going for it. Let’s do it together.

What are your writing goals for 2017 and how do you propose to help yourself reach them?  And seriously, I’d love to hear about your goals and your writing.  Let’s! Go here and schedule a time.

Photo by robchivers.

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