I personally think the official new year should start a couple of weeks into January. By then you’ve made your new year’s resolutions and know which ones you’re going to keep. You’ve got your Christmas decorations put away, probably, except for the ones you didn’t see. Holiday visits and parties are over, and you’re ready to settle back into a routine.
As for those new year’s resolutions—how about changing it to ‘new month’s’ resolutions? That way we get to start over, fresh each month! So January is only half over. Here are a few of my resolves that relate to writing.
Read a book, other than a picture book, each month—by making it a resolution I give myself permission to stop everything and read! I read Glen Beck’s THE SNOW ANGEL, and Richard Peck’s A SEASON OF GIFTS. So check that one off for January.
Write at the very least three days a week—this means working on a manuscript of some kind, and does not include blogging or other writing related things. Ok, I’m going to blame this one on the holidays. I’m giving myself a chance to make up the work these last two weeks. I think I can do that. ReviMo is helping me with that, too. (Click on the picture on the right for some great inspiration).
Submit something to a publisher, be it a book manuscript or something to a children’s magazine, once a month—I have two great manuscripts ready to go. I also have quite a few poems polished. So I just have to get them out in the mail. This is a ‘can do.’
Taxes: have them ready by the end of February—that’s a tough one, since although I keep my records and receipts all in one place, I neglect to log them on my computer throughout the year. I am one of those people who is organized by having everything in neat piles, or spaces. It takes me a day or two to organize and categorize everything for the past year! I think I’ll add a resolution—
Organize my writing expenses, mileage, etc. monthly—ok, that can work since this is still January!
Attend at least two events for children’s writers this year—maybe I made this one too easy. I’ve signed up for the Missouri SCBWI program on Learning to Work With the Common Core in March, and I just signed up for the Indiana SCBWI Spring conference in April. I know I’ll also attend the Missouri Fall Conference in September. So this one’s a done-deal.
Work on my website and networking—this one is harder for me, so I’m just going to leave it up as a general reminder. I also want to visit other websites and blogs by children’s writers more often.
I’m a list person. So making a list of new year’s resolutions helps me to stay on track. For some people, this can take a negative turn if it bothers you when you fail at keeping a resolution. Here’s a more positive way to look at it.
1—Make your resolutions things that you will likely be able to accomplish. Make some easier, and some a little more difficult. For example, if I say that I’m going to write every day, I know that won’t happen because there is work to do, and I also like to do things with my family and friends, and I know that sometimes other things will get in the way. So I made it three times a week instead. If I do more, then I really feel good!
2—Reward yourself when you reach your goal. Ice cream, a day out, or a movie night works for me.
3—Don’t let yourself feel down if you don’t accomplish your goal. Every day is a new start! Re-evaluate your goals each month and revise them if you need to—we’re familiar with revision, right!?
4—Instead of looking at how much you didn’t do, look at how much you did do. Maybe I didn’t get my three days of writing in one week, but I did write two days, for a long time!
5—If you reach all of your goals too easily, then you probably need to revise them.
Here are a few quotes to leave you with:
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Lao Tzu
“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
“It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce that counts.” - Zig Ziglar
Happy writing 2014 to all!