Last week, I wrote about my non-standard resolutions for 2012—resolutions that are process-oriented rather than results-oriented. I’m willing to bet that I’m not the only writer out there for whom “normal” writing goals aren’t always effective. But when you’re used to measuring your success in word counts or pages revised or dollars earned, it can be difficult to come up with other, less straightforward goals. At least, it was for me :).
How do YOU want to grow in 2012? Here are some questions to help you figure out the answer.
What are your priorities—both as a writer and in the rest of your life?
- What things are most important to you? Does your time reflect those priorities?
- Where do you currently spend your time and energy? Does your time/energy usage reflect your priorities?
- Given the current season of your life, how many writing-related goals can you reasonably address? Which ones can wait?
- What do you love most about your writing? How can you focus more on the work that means the most to you?
What holds you back as a writer?
- Are there practical or physical constraints you can address, such as a lack of time or lack of a place to write?
- Do you lack necessary knowledge or skills? Maybe you need to improve your writing craft, learn about market needs, or increase your understanding of the publishing industry.
- Do you face personal limitations, such as a time-consuming family crisis or an illness?
- Do your emotions get in your way? Maybe you need time with a writing friend or a critique group for support and encouragement, or perhaps you need to practice disengaging from others’ needs long enough to focus on something else.
- Do you lack discipline? Perhaps you need an accountability partner or some other external motivator, such as those listed in “Keeping it Real: 8 Services to Make Your Resolutions Stick”.
- Is there a particular place you get stuck when writing? Can you identify the cause? Perfectionism and fear of failure can keep writers from finishing and submitting projects.
Creating the goals: How will you move forward?
The questions above can help you identify places in your life that may benefit from change. Now your job is to brainstorm ways to make those changes come about.
That might mean taking a class, joining a critique group, or working with a writing coach or mentor—but it might also mean:
- Cutting back on volunteer work to create more time to write
- Cutting back on writing time to create more time to rest/exercise/hang out with family
- Adding a 20 minute walk to your day, to boost your mood and energy
- Trimming your writing to-do list to a single project, and seeing that project to completion
- Gifting yourself with more dark chocolate
- Fill in the blank: ___________
The best path forward isn’t always the most obvious.
How do you plan to grow in 2012? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!