Back in December, I posted about writing goals for the coming year. I addressed several reasons we tend to fall short on our New Year’s Resolutions, including loss of motivation, setting expectations too high, and lack of support and/or accountability. I followed up with a number of solutions, including the one below:
Maintaining Focus/Trying Again
At the end of each month, I’ll make a post about 2018 writing goals, a reminder for all of us to look back at the resolutions we set out at the beginning of the year. We’ll be able to evaluate our progress or lack thereof, revising our goals as needed. New job making it difficult to keep up with your daily word count? Scale it back a bit. Current WIP not working for you? Perhaps it’s time to set it aside and tackle a different project.
If we want to succeed, our goals need to be flexible. That’s the biggest problem with New Year’s resolutions, which are usually a static set of expectations that are meant to last throughout the year. Not very realistic, is it? Our lives, our circumstances, our creative drive… all of these things change on a regular basis. Why should resolutions be any different?
Honestly, January has been a struggle for me. I have a mountain of editing (126k+ words) that I’ve hardly touched, despite my resolution to work on it for at least an hour each day.
I suppose I could make excuses for my lack of progress. Work has been busy, and I’ve been putting in a lot of hours on this site. I have plenty of other obligations, and…
You know what? It doesn’t matter. The fact is, if I really wanted to make my editing a priority, I’d find a way. We make excuses for a reason, and more often than not, it has nothing to do with a lack of time. It’s because (for one reason or another), writing is just too much effort.
In Dana’s “Finding Neverland” post, she closed with the following quote:
“Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else.”
Dana couldn’t have known it, but that quote was exactly what I needed to hear. it reminded me that there are times when writing is supposed to be hard – if we keep putting it off until we feel like writing, until there’s nothing else we’d rather be doing? It’s never going to happen.
That said, we don’t have to be masochists. We shouldn’t force ourselves to stick to a plan that’s clearly not working. Goals are all well and good, but (as I said in my previous post) we have to be flexible. We need to give ourselves room to breathe, find ways to make the difficult job of writing just a little bit easier.
That’s why I’ve decided to revise my previous editing goal. An hour each day was much too vague, forcing me to focus on how much editing I still had left to do. I felt overwhelmed, which is why I’ve gone out of my way to avoid it.
For February, I’m going to try to edit one scene per day. This gives me clearer boundaries, making it easier to concentrate on small, manageable sections of my story.
Will it work? I honestly don’t know. But if there’s one thing we should all remember as writers, it’s this:
It’s always, always okay to try something different.
On that note, how are you guys doing? Is your writing going well or have you been struggling like I have? If it’s the latter, what’s holding you back? Can you think of any adjustments that might make it a little easier to achieve your goals? Let us know in the comments below!
Heather is the owner/administrator of the Story Scribes community. She’s a prolific writer, web developer, and visual artist who spends every year counting down the days until NaNoWriMo.