A New Year, A New Start

IMG_3211

For me, the beginning of a new year carries with it feelings of excitement, hope, and a strong personal drive for self-improvement. It doesn’t feel like any other time of year, except maybe the way the start of a new school year felt to me when I was growing up, and every January 1st, I always can’t help but experience a rejuvenating rush of energy and determination to make this year the best of my life.

Two weeks into 2013 and I am already on a flight home from my first business trip of the year. I’d planned on writing a post similar to this on January 1st, but after making some initial new years resolutions, I decided to give it a couple of weeks and really think about plausible goals I could set for myself to achieve this year, not just in terms of my writing, but in terms of the quality of my life in general and how I impact those around me.

First of all, I looked back at 2012 and the anti-resolutions I made last year. Did I manage to go with the flow and keep a positive outlook? I feel like I really did, to be honest. I  managed to start some great habits that I’ve mostly kept up with all year, the most important one being regular exercise and eating healthy. I wrote and worked on my novel, though admittedly not nearly as much as I’d liked, and I entered a writing contest that I did well in and learned a lot from. I feel like the relationships in my life got stronger, including the most important one – the one I have with myself. All in all, it was a pretty great year for me, and I’m so thankful for the family I have and the incredible opportunities I have in my life to excel and enjoy.

However, there were mistakes this last year, and those few that really stick out in my mind tend to haunt me and come back to me in times of self-doubt. As I’ve written about before on this blog, I definitely am very, VERY hard on myself, and dwelling on my mistakes, especially if they are times that I hurt people I care about, is probably the worst habit that I have. So, I’ve decided to tackle that bad habit this year – I’m going to work on giving myself a break. This applies to all areas of my life, including in the subject of this blog – working on becoming a better (and more disciplined) writer.

Speaking of writing, I’ve set a few tangible goals for myself in that arena as well, which I’m sure I’ll be writing on this blog about in the coming months. I’ve narrowed it down to three goals:

1) Aim for 3-5 posts on this blog a month. I am trying to be realistic (and give myself a break!) by keeping in mind my intense work schedule and focusing on writing when I can and when I have something meaningful to say.

2) Work on my novel with enthusiasm and energy. I have started trying to regain the initial fire I had to work on my novel when I first had the idea and was in the planning process. I felt like I lost enthusiasm as the year went on, and now I’ve started getting myself hyped up again when I sit down to work on it. And I want to keep it up, dammit!

3) Enter 3 writing contests. I enjoy the feedback that I get from these and the spark they give me to keep writing. Also, who doesn’t love the satisfaction you feel when you get a positive response to your work?

Cheers to 2013, and to all my writer friends – I hope this year you write the best thing you’ve ever written!

I am always interested in hearing about other people’s new years resolutions, so please feel free to leave a comment telling me about yours! Also, here are some posts from some of my favorite bloggers about new years resolutions that I read as I started to formulate my own:

 

Advertisements

Having Clear Writing Goals

Because of my new dedication to actually writing – and no longer being a non-writing writer, at least in practical terms – I’ve spent quite a bit of time in the last few months defining what my writing goals are. Now that I’ve committed myself to starting a writing career by this time next year, I’m starting to see them take a clear shape.

The hardest part for me in setting writing goals is figuring out what I think I can accomplish while I’m working full-time. I usually work between 50-70 hours a week and travel a lot from January thru May. My day job isn’t one that people who have a part-time writing career would usually choose, but I love it and I have committed to another season that goes until October of 2012. Trying to set goals based on what I know will be another demanding work year is difficult, but I think what I’ve come up with is pretty fair.

My overall goal is to have built the base of a writing career by this time next year when my contract finishes, so that I can (hopefully!) take some time off from reality TV and write full time. Specific benchmarks I’d like to hit are publishing at least 3 articles in newspapers or magazines, finishing the first draft of the YA novel I started last month, blogging daily while expanding my audience, and, most importantly, writing every day in an effort to refine my skills, harness my voice and become a more talented and paid writer.

From all the research and reading I’ve done, these seem like reachable goals, but I know that I have to make them all happen myself by putting in the time and hard work. With my job, it will be difficult, but not impossible. However, I’m curious to know what other writers think about these goals, especially those that have recently broken into the business or are currently trying to. Are these realistic goals? According to David Trottier they are. But I’d much rather hear from people who have been through it themselves.

Any thoughts?