I don't do New Year's resolutions anymore, I always end up disappointing myself. So I don't set myself any, then I can't be stuck in that neverending circle of beating myself up about things!
I do however set myself writing resolutions, because I know these are achievable and something I actually want to do. I suppose they are more goals than resolutions, but both have the same outcome anyway.
I've had a lot of ups and downs during 2014, deaths in the family, and mini dramas throughout the year. But 2014 also was the year I managed to achieve something I have dreamt of for many long years. I finally got an agent! I still get that giddy rush of excitement when I say it out loud. It's taken a lot of hard work and perserverance, but I got there in the end.
That's what brings me round to my first writing resolution, and the reason I came to the attention of my agent...
1, Enter more writing competitions. *Cliche alert* You've got to be in it to win it. If I learnt one thing from 2014, it was that putting my self or rather, my writing out there more gets results. Even when those results aren't necessarily what you were hoping, it still means you're writing is out there and being read by others, the ultimate goal!
2, Write more. Sounds so simple, but it's not always that straightforward. Day to day boring stuff like washing up and putting clothes away gets in the way of the interesting stuff like writing. I need to set aside a certain amount of time every day and stick to it. Or if I can't do that, set a small writing target each day. Even if it's only as small as 100 words, that's still 3000 words on an average month, and you can guarantee there will be days that you do double, if not triple or more than that.
3, Read more. I achieved this in 2014, but I'd still like to read more often. Like writing more, little and often goes a long way.
4, Finish editing my novel. I'm on the fourth round of editing now, after the initial proof read and note making, then an edit to tidy it up and fill plot holes, then trying to make it better. Now I'm trying to make it much, much better! My agent read it after my last effort and gave me some pointers, so I'm working through those. I initially had my usual 'Oh god I can't do this!' panic moment, and this still creeps up on me at times but I have to try and push those fears away. Fear is good, it makes us want to work harder and better, but it isn't a very nice feeling, you just need to remind yourself that you are good at what you do, and most importantly you enjoy what you do. Even those writers who have already achieved huge success have doubts! It's just our instincts for self-preservation kicking in.
Set yourself achievable goals/writing resolutions and be realistic. No doubt there are some that could write a novel in a week, but it's not likely to be easy for most of us. Start small and build yourself up. Doing the same thing for 30 days in a row sets it up as habit, so keep that in mind when you organise time to write.
Happy New Year everyone, and I hope that 2015 brings you all your writerly dreams, happiness and health! :)