New Year’s Resolutions

Now is the time when people start thinking about their New Year’s Resolutions: losing weight, changing careers, learning a new skill. Writers are no exception. But don’t forget that the vast majority of New Year’s resolutions fail miserably. I think this is because we set the bar too high, creating unrealistic expectations.
If your resolution is writing related, here are some hints to help make sure it doesn’t end up in the psychic trash heap by Valentine’s Day:
First, this is the perfect time to look over your writing practice (or lack thereof) over the last year. This is a lot easier if you keep a journal. What worked? What didn’t? Why? Where do you want to improve, and how can you go about doing so?
Last, when making goal-oriented resolutions (for example, finishing a manuscript), divide the overall goal into smaller steps. So, for finishing that manuscript, you will need to determine how many words/chapters you need to write, then schedule regular time to finish a set amount of words or chapters (this is where outlining *really* helps). If your resolution is more skill-based (learn to write better dialog, for example), set aside time to read books and magazine articles about that skill as well as time to practice it.
Happy New Year!

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