Have you made New Year's resolutions yet? If you read my blog last week, you know I've got lots of writing to work on in 2014. I didn't frame them as 'resolutions', because - let's face it - my resolutions last about one week.
Nearly all the blogs I've been reading talked about 'plans for the new year'. Those blogs are not calling them 'resolutions'. I think one called them 'hopes', but that seems nebulous and a source of pressure, so I prefer the term I saw more often: goals.
Resolutions tend to be vague; I'm going to diet, exercise, lose weight and get in shape this year! How do you succeed at that? If next Christmas, you have a piece of pecan pie, have you failed to diet? If you really can't find time to consistently work out, have you failed to exercise? If you only lose 40 of the 100 pounds you wanted to lose, have you failed? If on Jan 1, you can hardly walk from the bedroom to the kitchen, but by Dec 31, you can get all the way to the end of the block and back - even though you're still overweight and you still can't run a marathon - have you failed?
Goals need to be specific AND something that you can control. I'm going to get my first book published! is a resolution. I will continue to send my first manuscript to agents and editors this year sounds more like a goal.
With that in mind, I have started to look at my 'plans' for 2014, and turning them into goals:
· > I will lose an average of 1 pound a week through diet and exercise.
· > Each time a manuscript is rejected, I will immediately send it to another market. (If suggestions were made on how it could be improved, I will take a week to go through and consider those suggestions before sending it out.)
· > I will compose 1,000 words per day and edit 1,000 words per day an average of 5 days a week.
· > I will find opportunities to make personal appearances as an author an average of once a month.
Those are all things I have some control over. They are specific, but flexible. (If I have to arrange 12 appearances next December because I've been lazy and haven't done any all year, that averages to one a month, and I've succeeded.)
Believe it or not, I can do the 3rd one. I am currently writing 3 different projects and editing another. This past couple of weeks (yes, even in the confused haziness of impending Christmas), have been aiming at 1,000 words a day on the project with a short deadline, and about 500 words a day for the other two, then editing 1,000 words in the evening. And I try to work 7 days a week, so if I don't have a great day, I can make up for it.
Are you going to make resolutions? Or set goals? Let me know, and - if you don't mind - tell me just one of yours.