Posted by: Gwendolyn Huber | January 27, 2015

Are New Years Writing Resolutions Trite?

It’s January again so naturally my mind has turned to New Year’s resolutions. How trite, but then again, perhaps it’s not so trite after all.

Certainly every new habit can be made with a simple decision, “I used to do it like this but now I’ll do it like this and there is no time like the present.”

Some new habits aren’t that easy to carve into our lives and need every bit of the pomp of a New Year’s resolution and a lot of planning (just as in writing). This could be because new habits often seem to require getting less sleep or giving up something important for sanity like down time, and fear.

My writing resolution for 2015 is to develop a better writing habit, ideally the kind where I write at the same time every day. I know that as things stand now in my life, writing at the same time every day is not a realistic long term. But I bet I can do it for a while, until sleep deprivation makes me stupid or my body just says no.

My preplanning for this resolution this year is making sure I know the answers to these questions.

  • What’s my back-up plan for when I’m working early and late or need to sleep until 7? To schedule writing time into my calendar on a day by day basis.
  • How important is it for me to have the habit of writing every day, preferably at the same time each day?
  • Why is writing so important to me that I want to develop this habit? Besides the fact that I don’t like to give up, I feel like I’ll be less of a person without writing.
  • What are the consequences of failing at this resolution this year? Stagnation.
  • Can I live with myself if I let this slip through my fingers this time? No, not this time.
  • What am I willing to give up for this habit? Sleep, at least for a while.
  • What I am NOT willing to give up? Down time, music, yoga, and paying my bills.

To set myself up for success I’ve also spent a lot of thought about logistical details such as:

  1. How much time I can reliably commit to writing each day? The truth is, not a lot, 10 to 30 minutes. I’ve learned that over-committing to something is certain death to that something. Balance matters. I know if I have a day off I can do more.
  2. How can I break up my writing into its smallest parts? I think I have a handle on this now. I suspect the thing that has most slowed my progress as a writer is failure to name the trees in this forest that is a finished manuscript so that I can find my way out of the forest more by skill and less by chance.

This is my plan and I have begun my writing New Year’s resolution. If you haven’t begun your writing resolution yet, you have a few more days until January is over, or 11 months to work on your planning for next year’s resolution.

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