Don’t waste your time with writing resolutions this New Year. Instead, focus on something else: resolve.
While the words are similar, the difference in meaning is significant. A resolution is something you make. Resolve is something you have.
Call it semantics, but this is important. A lot of people will make resolutions this new year and immediately break them. Why? Because they’re not really resolving to do anything. They’re just wishing.
Without resolve, you have no hope of accomplishing your resolutions.
In other words, you need to commit. To choose into an intentional process that will make you better. Not a set of audacious goals you’ll never meet.
Goal-setting, while admirable, is essentially pointless. Goals, in and of themselves, aren’t sustainable. They tell you where you want to go, not how you’re going to get there. What you need are new habits — a new way of living that will bring different results.
It’s time to commit to being the type of writer you’ve always dreamed of being. And that begins with creating new disciplines. Here are three important ones worth mastering:
- Set aside a time to write. Be it early morning, during lunch, or late at night, it’s important to have a special time to spend with the craft. Although I at first hated it, I’ve now grown quite fond of my 5am writing times. There’s something peaceful about the solitude of working while the rest of the world is asleep.
- Show up. When I say I’m going to write, I often procrastinate and run out of time. I give excuses and justifications and end up creating nothing. I hate this. So I have refused to allow myself an “out” any longer. I must write every day, no matter what. Even if for only 15 minutes. The crazy thing is this is where some of my best writing comes from — concentrated blocks of forced writing.
- Give yourself grace. This goes hand-in-hand with the last one. A natural byproduct of discipline is dread. When you start showing up to do the work, you may grow fearful of the desk. I know I have struggled with this, feeling like my work is never good enough. At times like these, remember to be playful; have fun. Remind yourself why you go through the painful parts — because there is joy waiting for you at the finish line.
I could tell you more than these three, like how to set a daily word count or creating a creative environment for writing, but the truth is these three are enough.
Most days, if we can remember to set aside time to write, actually show up to do it, and give ourselves tons of grace, then we are doing just fine.
What about you? What writing habits are you trying to work on in the new year?
*Photo credit: Windell Oskay (Creative Commons)