Despite what the Mayans and filmmaker Roland Emmerich think will happen in 2012, I think it’s going to be a great year. That’s the wonderful thing about a new calendar — possibilities to make everything better.
This year, I have my usual resolutions, to be a better person, be more patient, spread more love. But the new year is also a good time to make new goals for our writing, as well as plans to help us stick to them.
The key to making goals is to not make them too big. Make goals that are reasonable and reachable. Say “I want to be a best-selling author,” and you’ve set yourself up for a goal that’s hard to attain, especially as it takes the publishing industry a couple of years to get a book on shelves. But say “I want to write a novel” or “I want to improve my writing skills” and you’ve got a goal you can achieve in a year.
Once you’ve made your goal, break it down to smaller parts and put them in your schedule. You want to write a novel this year? Figure out your goal word count, based on the type of novel you want to write, then divide it by the number of weeks you want to write it in. You can even go further and divide it by days. If you miss a day, don’t worry, you can make it up the next day or sometime in the week to keep you moving toward your overall goal. Keep a word count calendar to track your progress.
If your goal is to improve your writing skills, make a list of the types of skills you want to work on then find classes, books and blogs that can help you. Break those down into smaller parts, for example, read a book on structure in January, take a class on dialog in February through March, read blog posts for an hour every Wednesday. Again, keep a calendar to track your progress.
So set your goals, make your plans and follow through. Making small goals that are easy to reach will help keep you motivated, and that’ll keep you writing. And that’s the most important thing.
My goal for 2012 is to write two novels, one in the first half of the year and one in the second. On to the planning!