New Year’s resolutions already? But we’ve only just finished the last of the turkey noodle soup, turkey tetrazzini, and flaming turkey wings from Thanksgiving! And we’re in the midst of deciding whether or not we need to make a run out to the Hallmark store to buy more gift wrapping paper and greeting cards. Stop the madness!
Yet we are less than a month from January 1, when many people resolve to:
Lose weight. (But first, I have to finish eating the goodies left over from the holidays. We can’t let good food go to waste. Surely, I’ll finish them by January 31. Oh, here come the Valentine’s Day chocolates.…)
Exercise more. (Oh, I’ve got to get that exercise equipment ordered because it’s too cold outside to run. I hope it doesn’t take too long to get the equipment delivered. Oh, wait. I forgot I wanted to put down new flooring first.…)
An aspiring writer may list:
Write a book.
Many resolutions fail because there’s no set action plan or too many good excuses not to put the plan into action, so the resolution fades as snow melts. We have to do more than resolve to meet a goal. We must implement steps to make the dream happen.
As for writing a book, here are a few tips:
- Choose a plot or topic that excites and motivates you to write.
- Aim to write a certain number of words a day. Two pages equal 500 words, while four pages mean writing 1,000 words. If you choose 1,000 words, you will have a 90,000-word book in three months.
- Set aside a particular time for writing, five days a week. Look at your day. Usually, you can find a free hour or so. Choose that time and guard it by letting your friends and family know that, for instance, 5 PM to 6 PM is your writing time, and you will not be otherwise available. Turn off the phone and other distractions during this specified hour.
- Designate a special place for writing. Whether that’s your dining-room table or a corner in the living room, or even if you have the luxury of a home office, go to that specific place at your selected time and write. Your retreat to that location will also emphasize your nonavailability to those around you.
- Change your clothes! Special attire can help you make the mental transition that you will spend the next hour writing. For comparison, think of a nurse’s uniform, a school uniform, business attire, or workout clothing. The outfit can set the mood. The change doesn’t have to be drastic. Maybe keep on hand a few shirts with slogans about writing that you can throw on with jeans.
After you write your first draft:
Use your writing time to take a break from writing to research publishers and agents. Decide where you will send your proposal and final manuscript. Then, read over your draft, polish it, and prepare your proposal.
Here’s hoping you will write your book this year!