A new year always feels a little bit like a fresh start, doesn’t it? And along with that fresh start, we set resolutions to help guide ourselves to better performance and greater heights. The problem is, we quite often set ourselves up for failure right at the beginning of the year by setting ideal yet unattainable and unrealistic goals.
It’s okay to push yourself but you know yourself best; try to set resolutions which will stretch you and leave you with more than you started, but which give you enough kind space to grow, rather than pressuring yourself to the point of failure. The key here is motivation, not boxing yourself into commitments that you can’t possibly keep or which will make you miserable.
Here are five positive resolutions for writers:
Forge a new useful writing habit
Habits take a little bit of commitment to get really bedded in. Have a think about what good writing habits you’d like to cultivate and work on - it could be anything you feel will help make you a better or more effective writer. It could be anything from making time to write, keeping a tidy workspace, or writing down ideas as soon as you have them. If you drop the ball then give yourself a break; you’re building a good habit, not putting yourself on probation. Challenge yourself but remember to keep it achievable!
Broaden your reading
Great writers are great readers! Do a little research, get some recommendations. Think about what you like to write and find some new authors that do similar things really well. Build yourself a reading list which will challenge you and expose you to new material and talent; and work your way through it during the year.
Prioritise your mental health
Alright, it’s not strictly a writing resolution. However, writers and creatives need to be conscientious about their mental health. Be mindful of how you are and check in with yourself regularly. Balancing your mental health can take some work and a conscious commitment, so make sure you’re taking whatever steps you need to to look after yourself and practice good self-care.
Take pleasure in your craft
This is a wonderful resolution to make. Most of us write because we love it and because we have words inside us that demand our attention. Spend the next year loving your craft. Enjoy it! Take pleasure in the act of putting pen to paper or fingers to keys. Remember to smile before you begin and when you end. Revel in this amazing thing that we do.
End the year a better writer than you began
Every time we write, we improve. However, you can take some extra steps to expedite the process. This is another personal one; have a think about what you can do to actively become a better writer. That might look like simply making the effort to write more, or maybe being more open to critique and actively asking for feedback from other writers you respect. Maybe you know you have a bad habit (like shoehorning in too many adverbs), which you can challenge. Do an extra proofread at the end of a project. Have a professional editor look at your work. You could pick out a piece of recent writing and compare it to a similar project at the end of the coming year. Whatever it looks like, if you can finish the year a better writer than you started, you’re winning.
Take all or any of these that appeal and add them to your own lists. Resolutions should be constructive, challenging and, above all, attainable; they should add to your life, not make you miserable - so remember to do a quick sanity check before you sign your 2022 self-improvement contract. Good luck!
Imagery by Tim Mossholder and Seven Shooter via Unsplash