6. Have some cheerleaders. Find a writer’s group. There is likely one in your town or at least your state/province. It’s especially easy to be a part of a group now when most are meeting remotely. Having like-minded people that you can share your progress (and setbacks) with can be key to staying on track and keeping your motivation high. I’m starting a newsletter this winter (one of my more ambitious 2021 goals) and it will feature the opportunity for writers to share their goals and brag on progress reports – a shameless segue into point seven…
7. Set-up progress check points. Making a note on a calendar or agenda book is one way. Or programming an Event in Google calendar or scheduling emails to show up in your in-box with a reminder of where you intended to be at first quarter, second quarter, by the end of summer, this time next year! It’s like sending a message in a bottle to yourself. It’s also rewarding to reflect on what you’ve accomplished and even what changed and why. Don’t forget point two…no guilt, no worries.
8. Have fun. I know when you’re trying to get published or trying to stay published (no famous authors following this blog but if you’re incognito, please leave a hint!) it is not a hobby. For me it’s a pursuit of passion that won’t let go and I’ve been working on it forever though never more focused than now. Even so, it’s important to make sure that, as much as I take my goals seriously, I need it to be fun, something I look forward to.
9. Stay balanced. Goals are healthy; stretch goals even better to promote growth. I’ve learned this especially when it comes to fitness. (See post “Running the Writer Race” November 10, 2020). But there comes a point where writing and writing goals can become obsessive. That’s when something good starts nibbling away at other good things in your life. I dare say there are times when I’m in the middle of creating and I don’t care about a single person around me. I feel as though I don’t need them at all, that they are infringing on my self-expression. If I’m not careful, feelings of resentment can creep in and find cracks to fill and sever relationships. Writing for me has all the signs of an addiction. I find myself willing to manipulate, to throw off responsibilities, to squander a beautiful day outside to stay typing away in my closet, all things that are not indicative of a balanced mental state. I pay attention to the snippets of advice I hear or read about how addicts overcome the tyranny of drugs. Truth be told, addictions lie. They overshadow and diminish what is healthy and good in life and become the task master that they accuse everything else in our lives to be. The give and take of relationships, the joy of giving the best to the job and the humility of serving God on His terms, never abuses us. Point being, don’t let the goals, the writing, become too big in your life.
10. Write down your goals. Wait, no, that was point one. As point ten, this is different. After the year is over, reflect back on your goals and where you are at. Make a list. Learn from it so the coming year’s goals can keep points two through nine and end strong the following year.
Thank you to everyone who has joined me on this adventure in the blogging world; official followers and those that send “Likes” to my in-box. You are all much appreciated mostly because I see your blogs and your quest to communicate and it makes me happy to be part of this community.
Happy New Year, Happy writing!