Yes, It's the Eve of 2012 and Goal-Setting Time

Saturday, December 31, 2011
Happy New Year!
Photo Credit: Elizabeth King Humphrey
Ah, before even seeing the bottom of the glasses of bubbly, many writers will have already penned their first work of 2012: "My New Year Writing Resolutions."

I admit. I am the same. In the past few months, I've taken stock of my bookshelves and wondered...where is my own great American novel? I've started combing through my notes to bring me to a better, clearer space for jumping into the new year with a new outlook on my writing.

But I do so with some trepidation. Take too big of a plunge and frustrations will dampen early-year enthusiasm; don't plunge deep enough and new writing habits will have difficulty taking root.

For some writers, New Year's resolutions may come close to keeping up with the frenzy of the annual, month-long "literary abandon" of NaNoWriMo. However, without some planning, resolutions (like the best-laid plans of NaNoWriMo) will not produce concrete results.

Here are a few of my tips for some sane, post-bubbly resolutions planning...they may help you throughout the entire year, as well:

  1. Keep writing goals simple and achievable. While a War and Peace-sized novel might be your long-term goal, start with creating an outline of the story or writing exercises to flesh out details of your settings. Even a 1,000-page book needs to start with the first page...and then the second...and third. (And let's not even talk about revisions!)
  2. Introduce creativity along the way. Maybe you don't feel like writing one day. No big deal, try something creative such as picking up some colored pencils or markers and doodle. Doodling can help tap into your brain's creative regions. Or practice your cut and paste skills and create a collage of your character's home or work place.
  3. Know that it's okay to step back from your goals. Some weeks will be better than others. Accept that...definitely don't beat yourself up about not reaching one of your goals. Just re-group and figure out another path. You'll be closer to reaching your goals if you re-adjust and keep a good, realistic attitude about your goals.
What are some of your tools for setting writing goals for the new year? Or just setting writing goals at any time?

Enjoy the celebration and have a warm, wonderful and productive writing New Year--maybe next year you will be celebrating the appearance on your bookshelves of your own great work.... Keep us posted about your progress here at The Muffin.

Elizabeth King Humphrey, a writer and editor living in coastal North Carolina, plans on ringing in the New Year by keeping her computer off for 24 hours. When she's back online, follow her on Twitter @Eliz_Humphrey.


Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

I've learned that setting higher level goals works better for me than setting strict daily goals. Like: "I want to finish my novel by x date" - rather than, "I'll write 2000 words every day for the next six months." This allows me to manage to an overall goal without feeling guilty, and it works for me. I know that others are different - some need the strict daily goal in order to achieve the larger one.

Unknown said...

Mind mapping with colourful markers works for me!

Cresta McGowan said...

My goal is to write for 30 minutes every day. It sounds small and meek compared to a word-count, but with my schedule, it's a manageable goal. And I think that matters - setting yourself up for success.

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

Patricia - are you the one who wrote about mind-mapping on here a while back? I thought that was a wonderful tool...well, I know I read about it somewhere!

Mary Anne Benedetto said...

My goal is to steadily proceed with my projects in 2012, but to remind myself to give it an occasional break to clear my thoughts and refresh--take a walk, touch base with a friend, take a deep breath--the pause that will allow me to return to my projects with boundless enthusiasm! Happy new year to all!

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