It’s the end of the year and writers all over the world are rushing to set more unrealistic writing goals. I thought I would give you a few things to think about before you make that list.
Do you really want to do this?
Writing is lonely, and it can often be an alienating experience.
If you are a party animal who spends every spare minute worrying about your love life, your appearance, and the venue for your next night out, you may want to consider if this is really the life for you. If you are consumed by your family – your spouse, your children, your pets – and your life revolves around making them happy, you may not be ruthless enough to be a writer.
If you use your social life, your friends, your family, and your job as an excuse not to write, you are probably never going to be a writer.
Writers have to be selfish. They stand at the edge of society and observe. Even when they are in the middle of an important work commitment, about to have a baby, studying for an exam, getting married or getting divorced, dealing with a serious illness, moving to a new country, moving house, cooking dinner for the family, or looking after a sick child, they write.
Writers don’t find time to write. Writers make time to write.
Five Top Tips
If you’ve decided that you’re tough enough, I think you should include these in your resolutions:
- Time. Make time to write every day. Remove distractions. Eliminate internet access. Tell everyone you do not want to be disturbed.
- Word Counts. Give yourself a realistic daily word count. It could be 200 words or 2000 words – whatever works for you.
- Deadlines. Give yourself a deadline. Count how many words you intend to write every day. You will be able to work out when your first draft should be finished. Put that on the calendar.
- Plotting. Plot the book before you begin. This is so important and so obvious that I still cannot understand people who say they don’t want a plan. If you don’t want a detailed outline, at least write a synopsis.
- Community. Join a writing group that will hold you accountable.
I would also suggest that you attend a writing course, read two or three good books on how to write a novel, or do research on the Internet before you start. Do not use this as an excuse not to write! Give yourself a month to do this.
I hope these observations help you to accomplish your writing goals. Happy New Year and Happy Writing!
© Amanda Patterson
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