2018 Writing Resolutions: January

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.”
-J.M. Barrie

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!

Author: Heather

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.

5 thoughts on “2018 Writing Resolutions: January”

  1. I knew going into January that it was a challenge to keep going. The month end is filled with family visits and birthdays, and so it always ends up a dud writing wise. It was why I went in for a flying start. I ended up with 3.7K for my long standing project and added over a 1000 words for the wednesday prompt, which offered an unexpected joyous break from real life. Hehe. So all in all, I’d say January was not too bad.

    Even so I need more of February in order to ever finish my main project. After three weeks away from it my aim is to dive back into it over this weekend. My plan at the moment is to look no further than one scene at the time, because the end is still too far away for comfort. No more deadlines, at least not for now.

    1. Matt, you and I both have a habit of taking on these huge, ambitious projects. It’s wonderful, but it can be overwhelming at times. I think it’ll help both of us to focus on small sections at a time rather than worrying about the work as a whole. A lot less intimidating that way, yeah?

      Best of luck to you in February. Can’t wait to hear about the progress you’ve made next month!

  2. Excuses are easy, writing isn’t once started. Between this blog post and Dana’s recent one on Neverland, I am feeling motivated to carve out at least an hour or two to write weekly.

    The steps may be small but they are still progress.

    1. Pam, I know it’s especially difficult to get back to writing when you haven’t done it in a while. We are all here to support you, though, and I think getting back to our old writing sessions will help. Hope to see you in chat this weekend!

  3. It’s great to get updates from everyone!

    I was going to say I’m struggling, too, but in retrospect, I actually have done a LOT better this January than I normally do. January marks the beginning of the spring semester, so I normally have a very hard time fitting in writing time. This month, however, I have worked on two original shorts (both as responses for Story Scribes prompts), and I’ve written 3 blog posts for the site. I have not made much progress on the one fanfiction I NEED to finish this year, though, and I think my lack of progress on that one largely overshadows my satisfaction with the progress I’ve made on everything else.

    Typing it out has made me realize I should be proud of what I have managed to accomplish. I’m definitely going to dedicate February to focusing on getting another chapter of that fanfiction done.

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