Sep 16, 2013

3 Tips to a Successful Writer's New Year

Despite having been out of school more years that I’m comfortable admitting on a public blog, I am one of those people who still looks to the Fall start of school as the beginning of the new year.
In addition to the New Year being a good excuse to drink champagne, it’s also a time for reflection on the year past and time to focus on what comes next.

For those who have followed the short life of my blog you already know my last year has been filled with change and adventure.

But with the New Year, it’s time to look forward. 

As you will discover in my bio section, in my day job I am a certified project manager (or a PiMP to use my daughters lingo).  I also have four kids, three pets, two businesses,  two houses (one being sold and one new house that needs work), one manuscript on submission with publishers and two WIPs.

Translated – I am currently a task juggling fool.

Luckily, two things that I have absolute passion for are task/time management and the science of creativity with an emphasis on how these two can intersect.  The only way I have been able to survive my current load is by experimenting and finding secrets to time management and applying those that work. While there is certainly plenty of advice in the world on time management, not much of it is focused at writers and creative people. In fact, I often find that many creative people have bought into the myth that creativity cannot be managed. That is a theme worth exploring.

To that end, for the next while I will be focusing on time/task management for writers and how science can make your creativity more efficient.

So, no time like the present. Today’s post focuses on the New Year and making your writer year the best it can be.

3 Tips for a Successful Writers New Year

1. Set Goals - 

As a writer, if you do nothing else for yourself, please, please, please set a goal or goals for the coming year in writing.

Quick tips to good goals:
  •           Do not worry about how you will achieve your goal. Simply have one makes you more likely to achieve it. Your subconscious is a powerful thing. I will focus more on goal achievement in coming blogs.
  •           Your goals must be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time bound) – example – will write 4,000 words a week for the next six months
  •           You must write your goals down – You’re a writer, so this should be obvious, but so many writers I’ve met don’t do this. They have a goal in their head. This won’t cut it. Science shows that one of the best ways to achieve your goals to put them in writing.
  •           You must keep your goals a secret – This is counter intuitive and flies in the face of what we yoyo dieters have been told, but studies show that when you share your goals, you are less likely to achieve them.

2. Commit to Doing Something Different – 

Many of you have tried goal setting before and failed miserably. To achieve your goal this time, you must commit to doing something different, to trying new things to get you there. You don’t have to know what those things are yet, but you must write down that you will be open to exploring and then set time aside each week, even if it’s only a small amount.

3. Write Something Personal - 

I’m in my second week of being on submission to publishers. Before that, it was the agent chase, with its countless rejections (I am now represented by the delightful Lotus Lane Literary). Before that, it was trying to finish my wip and managing beta’s and critique groups while juggling everything else, before that…before that…before that…

I am sure your writer’s story looks similar to mine. In all of the chasing it is easy to forget why we write, the power of writing and what has meaning. As I was researching something on story structure last week, I ran into a post from Larry Brooks that was a great reminder to me of the power of words:

Larry reminds us that in the pursuit for fame, fortune, glory or discovery of our work by the rest of the world, the most important things we will ever write are ones to those closest to us. As our family and friends put up with a lot for us to pursue writing, remember them in your writing this year. Adding this step to your writing routine and goals is sure to make you feel better about your writing.

And a happy writer is a productive writer.

Are you setting goals this year and have you written them down? Share your tricks in the comments.

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