All other 2016 disappointments aside (and I’m sure you can think of a few), it wasn’t the best year for me in a writing sense. In 2015, I got a lot more writing done, and I was better about meeting my deadlines. Granted, they were self-imposed deadlines, but without that level of discipline, forward progress is halting or, at best, slower than it could be. Which brings me to 3 New Year’s resolutions that aren’t going to be easy to keep.
Keeping These Three New Year’s Writing Resolutions Ain’t Gonna Be Easy
I’m not usually into New Year’s resolutions. I’m more of a daily, weekly, or monthly resolution kind of person. Periodically throughout the year, I evaluate what’s been working and what hasn’t, and I go from there.
This year is a little different because I’ve noticed some problems on a larger scale – things that need to change to make those periodic adjustments possible. For my writing, anyway.
1. Set up and maintain a dedicated writing space.
In 2015, I had a home office set up. It was really nice – bright, airy, and decorated to encourage creativity (Oh, those were the days). In 2016, that room got converted to storage space, and I tried to use a smaller, less-separated writing space (which was all supposed to be temporary, blah, blah, blah). As you may have guessed, that didn’t work out so well.
What they say about dedicating specific spaces to specific purposes is true: it helps manipulate your brain to encourage habits (good or bad). Like how they say you shouldn’t work in bed because your brain will be ready to work when you try to go to sleep. Similarly, if too many things are going on in a room at once, it’s easy to get distracted by other tasks, especially ones that take less energy or are more fun.
Long story short, if I’m serious about getting writing done, I need to have that office back. I need a dedicated writing space, a space committed to that work. It’s going to take some serious planning and elbow grease, but it’s doable. Once it’s set up, the biggest trick will be to keep it that way.
2. Write ahead.
I did a really good job of this in 2015. Not so much in 2016. It’d be easy to blame the problem on travel and outside commitments, but the truth is that there were a lot of factors, including not having a dedicated writing space or a regular work schedule.
I can fix the first problem (see New Year’s resolution #1). The second part, now that’s gonna be more difficult.
See, there’s a growing possibility that my work schedule is going to become much more intense and, as a result, much more complicated. If I’m going to keep the writing going at all, let-alone meet my self-imposed deadlines, I need to not only write every day but also write ahead. Without fail.
3. Get enough sleep.
Doesn’t seem like a writing resolution? Well, that’s where you’re wrong. If you push too long and let all your projects (& social activities) keep you from regular, healthy sleep, you are going to crash at some point. Usually when it’s least convenient. And that’s after the loss of sleep wreaks havoc on your writing (see “Good Grammar & Tired Brains Don’t Mix“).
If I have to lose sleep every night or even most nights to get everything done, then something needs adjusted. Period. I have to get more organized, I have to cut back hours of something, I have to let something go – whatever it is, something needs to change.
And there you have it: 3 New Year’s resolutions that aren’t going to be easy to keep.
At first glance, they seem simple, right? I mean, really, don’t they seem pretty straightforward and manageable? Arrange my stuff to make room for an office, write ahead, and get enough sleep. That’s doable with a little effort and time management, right? Right? (…sob…)
So… wish me luck?