It’s still January and everyone’s talking about goals. Making goals, keeping goals, how to write your goals and Blah, Blah, Blah!
Actually, I’m a very goal oriented person. I love goals. I make goals to shatter them, not just reach them. BUT 2016 was a bit of a different story.
Shortly after finalizing the edits for my first book, I hit a huge snag. A snag that ripped right through my writing mojo and into all other aspects of my life.
- I didn’t achieve my Good Reads goal of 60 books (Holy Crap!!! I was reading 100-200 books a year for the past 5 years! In 2016 I couldn’t even manage 1 a week!!!)
- I wasted spent 8 months trudging through drafts and scribbles of a second manuscript only to agree with my agent that we needed to put it aside and start on another.
- I failed my NaNoWriMo attempt. I wasn’t even motivated by the chart this year! Usually that rising bar graph is what gets me out of bed in November.
- I got 0, zip, zilch writing done from mid-November till my kids started their new year on the 3rd of January.
Sure, I could have forced in some writing, but sometimes you just know it’s going to be crap. So I threw myself into some embroidery projects and my girls got me hooked to Dance Moms (don’t judge because all those episodes actually sparked a thread in my incomplete NaNo project).
As you review the month of January or even all of 2016 in preparation for 2017, it’s really important to remember a few things as you create and/or break your resolutions:
- Analyze your situation: Are you lacking the motivation or desire to write? Are you being lazy or in a funk? These are important distinctions to make. Sometimes I’m too scared to sit down and write because I know I set up a bunch of question marks for the next day and I’m avoiding rolling up my sleeves and writing through it. Other times, I’m truly, truly in a funk and everything feels stupid and worthless and hopeless.
- Don’t make excuses: It’s okay to give yourself a break and pull back when something isn’t working or go make that 20th cup of coffee or meet that friend you haven’t seen in months for lunch, BUT be sure you’re not just giving yourself any old excuse not to get your butt in the chair.
- Take the kind of advice you give: Ask yourself, “What would I tell my friend to do in this situation?” And do that. Don’t give in to the funk!
- Find people who motivate you and push you: There are too many downward spiraling moments in anyone’s writing journey not to have people to share it with. Writing people are everywhere! Find them!
- Don’t take yourself or your goals too seriously: Part of the creative process is the down time it takes to work problems, plots, themes, etc. out. You need to have an end goal. You need to get your butt in the chair, but also: life happens.
So, as you break into 2017 and possibly break a few resolutions, remember it’s okay to fail. View your setbacks as learning opportunities. Take a break, but don’t make excuses.