Keeping a New Year’s resolution is no easy feat. Often times, we set expectations for ourselves a little too high. It’s admirable in theory, but if you set yourself unreachable goals, you’ll only feel discouraged when life gets in the way. Remember: You have other priorities too—you know, eating, sleeping, feeding your dog, all that sort of stuff. So instead of telling yourself that this is the year you’re finally going to write a 1,000-page novel/get your manuscript published/make it on the New York Times’ bestseller’s list, cut yourself a little slack and try taking on one small task to make yourself feel better as a writer. The rest will come soon enough.
Give yourself a gift
Sometimes all you need to motivate yourself to write more is a little added incentive. Been eyeballing a new book by your favorite author? Or perhaps a new fountain pen and journal set? Spoil yourself with small things like this. It will make you feel more connected to your writing roots and could inspire you to pen something new.
Put yourself out there more
It goes without saying that writers write for the love of writing. But if you’re looking to earn a little extra cash or expand your audience, then you have to take a few extra steps. Do something simple, like start a blog and post something once a week, whether it’s a haiku, a new recipe, or your thoughts on a particular issue. Send out some writing samples to a literary magazine or join a writing workshop. It’s gratifying to see your name in print and it will allow you to improve your writing skills. As an added benefit, writing workshops often come with great connections or tips on how to get published.
Write something you haven’t tried before
Many writers often find themselves getting comfortable in a certain genre – whether it’s poetry, essays, knowledge articles or novels, it’s easy to fall into a niche. But this year, try expanding your writing horizons by experimenting with a new format or a new topic. Who knows? Maybe you’ll realize you’ve been missing out on something you end up loving.
Revisit something old
Every writer has one: a collection of old pieces that never really took off. Maybe you became preoccupied with new responsibilities at home or work; maybe you wrote yourself into a corner; maybe you put it away in a drawer to revisit in a month and forgot about it. This year, go through those files and see what you find. There could be a hidden gem somewhere in there. And if nothing else comes of it, you’ll get a kick out of seeing how much you’re grown as a writer.
Give yourself more credit
Because “being a writer” is a bit of an abstract concept and means many different thing to many different people, too often writers will find themselves telling other people “I’m trying to be a writer.” Well quit “trying.” Do you write? Then you are a writer. Be proud of it and tell the world! You don’t need to be published; you don’t need to have a novel or even a wide pool of readers. You just need to write. Don’t wait for the world to validate you. Validate yourself. All it takes is three simple words.
Write something that is meaningful to you
Okay, yes, you need to pay the bills. But if you only write to earn income, writing stops being a pleasure and starts being a chore. It’s great when you write something you love and it earns you some extra cash, but let’s be honest: You’re probably not looking with starry-eyed affection at that technical manual you just passed in to your boss for publication. So even if it’s just five minutes a day on your coffee break, take a little time off from the practical and do some “me” writing. Regardless of if you show it to anyone, you can still rest proud that night knowing that you’ve created something that speaks to you and truly represents the writer that you are.
Happy New Year! What are your resolutions this year?