Don’t Make Resolutions, Set Goals

The year 2018

We’re a week into the new year and many of us have already broken or severely undermined our resolutions already. Things will only get worse for some as the year progresses. Others will completely abandon their resolutions as unachievable. But there is a way of achieving (or coming close to achieving your resolutions). Don’t make any resolutions.

Resolutions are essentially promises we make to ourselves that we eventually can’t keep. But a resolution can be seen not as a lofty promise but as a set of reasonably achievable goals which can be adjusted based on feasibility and realistic expectations.

Set yourself a goal or series of goals and then set out to reach them. If a goal seems unachievable, re-evaluate it and adjust your outcome/reward. If it turns out you can’t reach it, no harm, no foul, just put it on your to-do list and skip it for the time being. Move on to the next goal.

If you’ve decided to finally write that novel you’ve had bouncing around in your head, then set yourself a goal of writing it. Set yourself a goal of writing a chapter a week. If that turns out to be too much, pare it down to a chapter every two weeks, or a chapter a month. If that’s too much, then pare it down to a paragraph a day. (Think of it as writing a novel in flash fiction installments.)

Get into a routine; it’ll become second nature. Eventually, you’ll be running on automatic and have that novel written and be ready to move on to the next one. And if something happens and takes you away from your routine, the habit of writing regularly will become ingrained. You will naturally be drawn back into a comfortable writing habit.

Just remember, life happens and stuff gets in the way. If you set reasonably achievable goals (baby steps along the way), when you get sidetracked, it won’t be difficult to get back on track. And if you begin to doubt yourself, you can gain some inspiration from New Year’s Resolutions for Writers.

For other resolutions/goals, check out Making your New Year’s resolution stick.

Can You Be Both a Writer and an Introvert?

Is it possible to be a writer and be an introvert? Yes, it is. Just because you don’t have a natural inclination to mingle and put yourself out there doesn’t mean you should give up being a writer. So what if you’re shy. Big deal. So you’re not comfortable being around people. Big whoop. You don’t have to be comfortable with anything but your writing. But how do you get noticed without being noticed? You can get noticed by working with social media.Introverted Writer

You can create a Facebook page to promote your latest book, blog, or stories. You can create a Twitter account then set about looking for other writers who share your interests. You can set your news-feeds to receive information and notices from fellow writers and those in the writing business–as well as readers.

Mystery writers write mysteries for people who enjoy reading them. Science Fiction writers write for those who enjoy reading science fiction. For every genre, there is an audience of readers.

Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Goodreads, or any number of social media sites, or writer communities, you can post notes, updates, and any other useful information that will get your writing and your name “out there” without you actually being out there.

Save, Backup, Archive Your Writing

Save copies of what you submit and publish.

Backup your work. Nothing lasts forever

When you submit a story to an electronic publication and they accept and publish it, never expect your story to be forever accessible.  Anything could happen that might cause your story to disappear. The most likely scenario is the publication your story appeared in ceases to exist. More times than not, they will not only become defunct but so will your story. Either the domain will disappear or change owners and focus. The story you so diligently worked on and submitted will vanish into the digital ether.

Keep a record of where you submit and get published

The same is true for any social networks or writing communities you are a member of. If you have a page you actively post to, keep a copy of everything you post or publish to it. Note the site, the dates posted/published, and any comments and responses. These items will prove useful if you decide to submit your story somewhere else. Though you may not have any traceable evidence your story saw the light of day, you will have data to corroborate your claim you published your story before if you are trying to sell reprint rights. And that just might go a long way in convincing a potential publisher that your story was published before.

Use the Cloud and maybe a few other locations

Ensure your backup doesn’t get corrupted, save a few copies of your work. Archive your stories on flash drives, terabyte drives, or cloud storage like Google Drive, iCloudOne Drive, or DropBox; a hardcopy also helps. If the work is extensive and you don’t want to have to retype it again, scan the hardcopy and save it in a manipulatable format like MS Word. This way, if something happens to one (or two) of your backups, you will still have an archive of your work. It’s highly unlikely all of your archived copies would be lost.