As we come to the end of another year, ask yourself two questions. Are you and your writing where you want to be? And is this where you want to be in another year?
Don’t give flippant answers. Really think about them without getting defensive.
You may not have finished your novel, which you wanted to do, but it isn’t your fault. You had to help your mother move. Your oldest went away to college. You’ve suffered from an illness or injury. Believe me, we’ve all been there. Life is a very distracting part of the writing experience and it can suck the energy right out of you.
Even if you are more or less happy with where you are really think about the second question. I finished several new books this year and several have also come into print. Hidden Human Computers is up for an award. I’m proud of these books but are they all I want to do? If yes, that’s okay and I can proceed as usual. But if I’d like to do more, than I need to make a change.
Here are three things you can do to end 2018 in a better-for-you writing place.
Set a specific goal. Maybe you want to draft that novel or find an agent. Set specific goals. That means that you can’t get by with I’m looking for an agent or I’m going to draft my novel. You have to decide something specific. I will research 3 new agents a month and approach those that are a good match. Or maybe you're writing around moving or helping someone else move. Make your goal do-able. I’m going to write 5 minutes a day. Make your goals do-able and specific.
Energize. The first thing that you need to do is find the energy required to make these things happen because writing and change both require energy. Where can you find more? Many of us spend a lot of time toiling away indoors. We work at our computers. We do laundry. We help our kids with their homework, and we do it all inside. Spend 15 minutes a day outside. Walk around the block. Sit on the porch with your morning coffee. Toss your yoga mat out on the deck. Did you know that a new type of therapy involves prescribing time outdoors? Write yourself a prescription to spend time outside.
Get rid of energy sucks. We all have them. Research shows that reading news online can be one of these drains on your energy? You aren’t watching the news for 30 minutes or reading the paper. It has no end. So set a timer. Or your energy suck could be your e-mail. If your inbox has 200 e-mails you haven’t dealt with, get rid of 10 a day. Get it down to 30 and keep it there. Or maybe your work space is so cluttered that it doesn’t feel like a safe space. Spend 5 minutes a day cleaning it out until you’re done.
Set small attainable goals and you’ll soon see the progress. Add energy and get rid of energy sucks to help you meet those goals. Make 2018 a top notch writing year.
To find out more about Sue Bradford Edwards' writing, visit her blog, One Writer's Journey. Sue is also the instructor for Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults. The next session begins January 8th, 2018.
Sue--On my post yesterday, I got a couple of great suggestions in the comments. You've added to those helpful ideas.ReplyDelete
I hope 2018 is as topnotch as you dream it...
I really want to do that 5 minutes a day thing--in getting rid of my clutter AND in writing my novel (hoping to do at least 15 with that). I think I am finally learning that you don't have to have big chunks of time to make progress.ReplyDelete
Thanks for this, Sue. I really like how you started this post! "Is this where you want to be in another year?" That question is scary because I wasn't thinking that far ahead, and heck no, I don't want to be here another year!ReplyDelete
My goal is to write for an hour every day and work on a memoir. I just started outlining it yesterday. I'm also going to work on publishing shorter pieces of the memoir as essays.
Sioux, I'm going to go comment again on your other post about this, but if you guys want to start an accountability group, I'm totally down. We can even run one through WOW and have subscribers join us...if someone wants to lead it. I could pay that someone to organize it. :)
Angela (sorry, Sue)--Read my post "THe Want Ads" that's scheduled for Jan 18. You're called out in it. ;)ReplyDelete
Yes, I'd love to do that.
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
Good stuff, Sue! Hit us between the eyes and offer some great ideas to get us going.ReplyDelete
Superb and valuable information for 2018.ReplyDelete
Thank you for the kind words, all! Happy Writing in 2018.ReplyDelete
I'm not entirely certain why you're apologizing but I was up really late last night. You should definitely but the one to run an accountability group. I would sign up but I want you to be the kindly dictator.
Now off to scout a much needed cup of coffee. I wonder if all the kids who were here last night are up yet. Mine isn't.
I am so guilty of those energy sucks you speak of, Sue. I'm going to work on tackling those more and spending that time writing more. And I like the idea about researching a specific number of agents, etc. I need to be more concrete with my goals!ReplyDelete
Of course that should say "be the one" but I'm still too sleep challenged to figure out how to edit a comment. So sad.ReplyDelete
Fantastic post, Sue! I especially love your suggestion to set concrete goals and work diligently every day, even if it's only for five minutes, to reach them. I definitely want my writing to improve and advance over the next year, and to make that happen, I'll have to be much more discerning about the choices I make that impact my writing life.ReplyDelete
Great advice. I am guilty of reading articles online that just keep popping up. And as for my inbox, I am trying to get it down to 300. Thanks for sharing your tips.ReplyDelete