Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year ... New Goals

By Andrea Merrell

All too fast, 2016 has come and gone, and we are now facing a brand new year. 

How many times have you made a list of resolutions that usually end up as unrealistic (and unmet) expectations? We all do it—make promises to ourselves to eat healthier, exercise more, go to the gym, and lose weight. Some of us plan to have lunch with an old friend, clean out the garage, or spend more time in God’s Word.

As a writer, have you made resolutions for 2017? Maybe you’re determined to finish a manuscript and work on those proposals and query letters. Perhaps you plan to make a schedule and set aside a certain portion of each day to devote to writing. If you’re like most writers, you’re probably trying to decide which conference is the right fit for you. There are countless opportunities for us to grow as writers and polish our skills.

Whatever your desires might be for this year, try something different. Instead of making the usual resolutions—which fade further and further away with each passing day—establish small, bite-sized goals that can easily be achieved. When we set unrealistic expectations, we end up disappointed, frustrated, and ready to give up completely. In other words, don’t vow to have your book on Amazon by this time next year. Instead, establish some reachable goals and then stick to them.

But stay flexible. Life happens. When it does—and it derails your best efforts—don’t beat yourself up and pronounce yourself a failure. And, whatever you do, don’t quit. Tomorrow is a new day, and God’s mercies are new each morning.

Here are a few ideas to get you started. Pick out a couple of items, and then put them on your calendar or to-do list.

This Year I Will Commit To:
  • Pray over my writing and commit each project to God.
  • Set aside a certain amount of time each day/week to write.
  • Clean and organize my desk/workspace.
  • Spend less time on FB, Twitter, and computer games.
  • Attend at least one workshop or writers’ conference.
  • Take an online course.
  • Stop procrastinating and complete one unfinished project. (devotion, article, blog post, short story, or novel).
  • Step out of my comfort zone and try a different genre.
  • Start a blog (or blog more).
  • Update my website.
  • Join a critique group.
  • Offer to mentor another writer or help them promote their book, blog, or services.
  • Send thank-you notes or e-mails to those who have helped and inspired me. 
Do you have other suggestions you would like to share? We would love to hear from you.



(Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/Stuart Miles/satit_srihinm.)

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