For fun, I did a bit of research on New Year’s resolutions. It’s no surprise that the top results include:

Exercise
Healthy eating
Learn a new hobby

Nothing turned up about crushing word count.

The search volume for New Year’s Resolutions average 25,600 per month. The average search volume for Achievable New Year’s Resolutions – zero.

Google Search - New Year's Resolutions
Google Search - Achievable New Year's Resolutions

Is writing that difficult?

No, and yes.

Putting words on paper is the easy part. Getting them in the right order, that’s intimidating. Writing is a craft which takes time to learn. Yes, you can master grammar and composition, but only with consistent practice do you discover your writer’s voice and how to make your stories feel alive for readers.

Achieving writing goals requires a plan. So, in the words of my favorite diet buster, “It’s time to make the donuts.

Lots of folks write down their goals, which is good. But can you say your goals aloud and feel the conviction and clarity of the words? Before you can convince the world, convince yourself. Define what you want to achieve and the steps needed to get there

Articulate your goals.Articulate your goals.

Writing your goals is a good start. But can you say your goals aloud and feel the conviction and clarity of the words? Before you can convince the world, convince yourself. Define what you want to achieve, and the steps needed to get there. Novels are written one chapter at a time. Chapters are written one page at a time. Break your goal into manageable tasks.

Add a time frame to each step.Add a time frame.

Nothing happens by accident. Give yourself a reasonable deadline for each step in your plan and watch your momentum build. This allows you to see your goal as a journey and not a monumental task that feels insurmountable. 

Track your progress.Track your progress.

Tracking progress is proven to increase your odds of reaching your goal significantly. It’s a visual reminder of your achievement and proof you can accomplish anything you set out to do. It’s also nice to see how much you’ve done and your list of tasks growing shorter.

Work your plan backwards from your goal.Plan backward.

Whether you’re writing a novel or building a treehouse, you need to know what you want as the outcome. Once that is clear you work the steps back to your starting point.

Build in days off.Build in days off.

Decide how many days you can take off from your goal each month and use them the same way you would vacation time from your day job. Everyone deserves a break, and it is often followed by satisfying progress and resolve. We all know life happens – build that into the plan.

Be ready to tweak.Be ready to tweak.

Failure is the fastest way to discover what works. Be ready to delete, move, and tweak your way to your goal. Just because you crafted a twenty-page outline doesn’t mean you have to stick with it. Make adjustments to your plan and timeline as you work. Each mini goal achieved along the way to the larger goal is a learning and turning point.

Have support.Have support.

You are not alone. #Amwriting is a warm community across all social media channels. Libraries sponsor writing and critique groups, and independent bookstores are welcoming to writers looking for support and encouragement. Let your family pamper you with quiet time to write. They’ll survive a few hours on their own while you slay your writing deadline.

You're still making progress.What if you don’t meet your deadline?

You’re still further along than if you did nothing. Keep going, follow your plan. Celebrate what you produced and keep moving forward.  Time will always march on.  You can choose not to use any of it toward your goal, or you can get started and see what you will accomplish.

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