I have a confession: I’m notoriously bad at New Year’s resolutions.
I guess it’s a problem that most of us face, but unlike most people I usually don’t even get started on the project I want to undertake. Something inevitably happens that keeps me from getting up and running, and then, at the time when most people are starting to fizzle out on their resolutions, I just give up. I don’t like that, so this year I’m deciding to do something about it.
First, a little background: I’m a writer. I’ve been writing since I was in elementary school. I’ve published a couple of short stories on Amazon. I write for a living now. But when I sit in front of a blank screen, no deadline in mind, I struggle. There’s no grade at stake like there was in college (actually, this is how I was able to write one of my published stories), and there’s no send deadline like when I write email blasts.
There’s just me, and…no pressure. Which is normally a good thing. After all, isn’t it nice to do something for the fun of it, with no stress holding you back from doing your best?
Not for me. I need a deadline, and if I’m the one to make it—then it likely won’t happen. I’ve pushed through before, mostly in regards to very short stories, but the trend seems to be “Sean + writing for pleasure = little output.”
This kills me. Because I want to create. I need to create. I’m good at creating, and each day that passes without me putting fingers to a keyboard seems like a missed opportunity. I can’t really do that anymore. So that’s what I’m working on this year: Creating despite the lack of deadlines.
In order to fully get this through my mind, I’m giving myself a couple of goals. They aren’t deadlines per se, and they’re quite open-ended, which means if I miss some days of writing I won’t be as discouraged. But they are things to accomplish. Things that, should I meet these goals (I’m going to meet these goals!) I’ll feel as though 2017 wasn’t a missed opportunity.
Goal Number 1: Publish my novel. I’ve been sitting on this manuscript—fairly complete—for years, and all it needs is a little more work to be ready for the digital presses. This is perhaps the biggest project of the three yet the easiest to accomplish since most of the work is already done. I’m hoping for a mid-to-late summer publication date.
Goal Number 2: Write and publish an original short story. Since I naturally lean towards the short story as it’s easier for me to see through from start to finish, this is the best option for me to take this year to get back in the creative swing of things. I have a Word document with dozens of story ideas. I need to pick one and go to town every evening for a month. The goal is to publish this in early fall, but if I whiz through the manuscript before then and have an opportunity to publish before, I’ll take it.
Goal Number 3: Blog every week. This will be a good way for me to keep my mind engaged on the written word if I’m hit with writer’s block, plus it gives me (and you, the reader!) a record of what’s been going on. I plan on one post a week, since I don’t want to A) overpromise and B) I live with no internet so posting multiple times a week is a little tough.
So that’s that! I’m already making progress with goal three, and just seeing these 600 words on the page relaxes my mind. I can do this. I hope you’ll come along for the ride.