If you think that the 1st January is a good time to start a new writing resolution, I want to take this opportunity to share 5 tips that I hope will help you stick with your goal.
Choose your Resolution
For the best chance of success, choose just one resolution at a time – trying to stick to multiple resolutions can quickly become overwhelming.
Choose a goal that’s important to you – if you have several in mind, pick the one that you’re most passionate about.
Be really clear about the goal you’re setting yourself. To do that, you could use the SMART formula to nail down your goal in a precise way.
SMART stands for:
Specific – Instead of saying “I want to write” which is quite vague, be as specific as you can, for example “I want to write a picture book story for 3-5 year old children”
Measurable – Use precise language so that you can measure your progress. For example, you might say “I want to write 3 drafts of a 600 word picture book story”
Attainable – Make sure your goal is realistic and achievable for you, so if you are new to writing you might want to start with a short story, rather than a novel. If you have always struggled to develop a writing habit, set yourself the goal of writing for 10 minutes per day, rather than 6 hours straight and build up from there.
Relevant – Is your goal relevant to the direction you want to go in? For example, if you have kids and dream about writing stories to read to them, that might be a good area for your goal. If, on the other hand, you’ve always loved horror stories, that might be the right genre for you to explore first. Don’t worry too much about this. Follow your instincts and that’s usually a good place to start.
Timely – make sure you schedule your resolution. So for example, you could say “I will write a children’s book by the end of January” or “I will write a film script by the end of the year”. Then add the details: “I will write 1000 words every morning after breakfast” OR “I will write for 10 minutes every day on my lunch break”.
When we write our resolutions as clearly and specifically as possible, with give ourselves the best chance of success.
Now that we have pinned it down, what other things can help us to stick to our New Year’s resolution?
Create a positive environment
Convenience is really important when developing a habit, so keep this in mind and rearrange your environment accordingly. Make sure you keep your stationery or computer handy, don’t lock them away out of sight. Clear your desk so that you can start writing right away. Or if you’re planning to write away from home, pack your bag in advance and leave it by the door. If you’re likely to be distracted by noise, get hold of some noise-cancelling headphones. Do anything you can think of to make your writing resolution as convenient and easy as possible, and that will help you stick to it.
You’re most likely to stick to your resolution if you can turn it into a habit, and to do that you need to rewire your brain. Sounds a bit drastic, but really, to rewire your brain, you just need to be consistent with your new writing habit until it becomes a completely normal part of your routine. As normal as brushing your teeth.
Research shows that monitoring our progress really helps us stick to our habits. To help you monitor your writing habit, you could use a calendar and tick off each day that you meet your writing target.
Celebrate your success
Developing a new habit, especially one you’ve never managed to stick to before, is a really big deal, so make sure you celebrate your success at every stage of the way. Taking the time to celebrate teaches your brain that your resolution is important and it encourages you to keep going. So, the first time you get up early to write, find a small way to celebrate. And at the end of your first week of writing every day, celebrate again. Keep cheering yourself on, all the way through the process. It might be helpful to find a like-minded friend to share your progress with and help you feel good about your success, no matter how small.
On the other hand, if you miss a day, don’t beat yourself up, just carry on the next day and keep on writing. We all have bad days from time to time, the key to succeeding with a resolution is to keep picking ourselves up every time we stumble.
Get some accountability
If you struggle to sit down and write on your own, it’s really important to get some accountability. This could be in the form of a course or a writing group, or maybe you could team up with a writing buddy, and check-in with each other every day, set one another deadlines and send each other friendly encouragement. Or of course, I offer consistent accountability through my three writing coaching programmes and would love to help you stick to your resolution.
So if you think you need a Writing Coach on your side consider taking:-
Or The Go the Distance Programme and I will help keep you focused every step of the way.