Many of us entered the new year with resolutions to write more, start submitting our stories on a regular basis or collect 100 submission rejections. Already struggling? Take a closer look at the plan you made to keep them? These 5 strategies may help you on your way.
1. Schedule your writing time
“I will write as soon as I have the time.”
“I wish I had time to write more.”
“I was supposed to write, but then…”
Do any of these sound familiar? Marking off time in your schedule is key to keeping up good writing habits. Look closely at your schedule: where would you place an extra gym session, catching up with your Netflix stream or a coffee with a friend? There’s your writing time!
Some is better than nothing: 10 minutes in the morning before breakfast? Great! 30 minutes in the evening before bedtime? Perfect! Could you use your lunch hour, or perhaps a 2-hour block every Saturday? Super! You decide how much or little is right for you – but when it’s sat down on the calendar, stick to it!
2. Make sure your goals are specific
What is writing “more”? More words, more hours, more stories? Run your writing goal through the SMART acronym: is it Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound? If it is, it will be much easier to achieve, as you will easily see whether or not you are on track.
Pro tip: Divide the bigger goals into smaller SMART goals. If your goal is to finish the first draft of your novel by December 1st, make a goal of how far you should have come after a month, three months, by July, etc.
3. Set micro-goals
Big goals seem daunting on days where you feel like curling back up in bed. Having written the first 10,000 words might even make you feel like you have a long way to go rather than feeling you have come a long way. This is why micro-goals are important. They let you experience many small victories along the way. Micro goals follow the SMART criteria too, but you can set them from day to day, or even from session to session!
- I will write 500 words today.
- I will write 200 words in the next 10 minutes.
- I will find 3 competitions I can submit to and decide on one of them by the end of the day.
4. Make your writing a priority
Do you move or cancel your writing time to accommodate other people’s schedules for coffee dates, late dinners or your ever-growing laundry pile? Don’t! Allow your writing to be as important as other people’s gym sessions, dance classes or tee times on the golf course. You are a writer, and you need your writing time. You taking it seriously will let other people take it seriously, too.
5. Keep trying
Did you slip up and now you haven’t written since January 2nd? Don’t worry! You can simply start back up tomorrow. New Year’s Eve is not the only day in the year you can have a new start. Have one tomorrow – or, even better, start today!
(And psst! If you need a little help getting into your new habits, our resource library has a free 30-day writing tracker for you to print out and enjoy!)
Photo credit: iStock.com/AntGor