In her memoir, Isabel Allende talks about starting a new book on the 8th of January of a new year. She finds a few hours of silence before she writes the first line. She places flowers on her desk to intimidate tedium. She places a book from Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, under the desk to inspire her. Ritual plays a romantic and important place in this writer’s creative process.
What if we could set ourselves goals, as writers, which resonate with our creativity, our sense of individuality and even our idiosyncrasies? What if—and here’s a wild idea—we made it fun?
Making resolutions and setting goals in the New Year has become a trite tradition. We’re all high of cheap champagne and big ideas. By February, the fizz is gone and we’re scrambling to pay bills. Still, it is important for us to have something to strive for—a novel, screenplay, short story, poem. We need an uninhabited place to fill with our hope imagination.
5 Creative Ways To Set Writing Goals
Here are some unusual and fun ideas we could try to help us set tangible and reachable goals.
- How do I love 2014? Write your goals as a poem. It can be a mucky and funny limerick, it can be as dramatic as Keats dying on the Spanish Steps, or it can be a radiant little haiku. Just as long as it contains the essence of your dreams.
- Picture perfect future. I’m the kind of person who breaks out in hives at the idea of scrapbooking, but I’ve discovered a passion for Pinterest. Set your goals down visually. You could find pictures of your characters or the house you want to buy with your first big royalty cheque, and pin it.
- Put your money where your mouth is. Open a separate bank account and deposit a lump sum that can be equally divided into twelve months. For each month you achieve a goal, withdraw an amount to spend on yourself—on a new book, a trip to the movies, chocolates or a watch. Whatever you don’t achieve, you don’t spend. In December you must donate the balance to charity.
- And then eat your words. If you’re an aspirant baker, bake a batch of biscuits and ice them with a single inspirational prompts: Write. Have one with your morning coffee or tea. It will remind you of the sweetness that comes from doing something you really want.
- Start your own ritual. Like Isabel Allende, develop your own creative custom. It doesn’t even have to start in January. Maybe you like to become a hermitic winter writer. Buy a cashmere blanket, vanilla candles and sit with your laptop in front of a fire. The important thing is to find a way into writing that suits you.
We all have a story to tell, a life to share, a creative expression of our individuality. Having a goal is simply setting your dream down in words. It is like dropping an invisible penny in a ripple of wish water—and I just know yours is going to come true this year.