I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I was completely unsuccessful this year. In fact, 2016 was a fantastic year for my personal and writing life. I was laid off from one job and was able to find another in a matter of months. I celebrated 1 full year of marriage with the love of my life. We traveled to Texas and met some really awesome people. I won NaNoWriMo again. Those are just some of the highlights, and I can say I’m proud of the accomplishments I made this year.
That being said, I failed at the one goal I set for myself…and that was to finish and publish this book. My long term goal is to be a full time author, and make a career out of the one thing I am most passionate about. Unfortunately, like many other people, I tend to get in my own way.
Here are 5 things I won’t be doing in 2017 (which will hopefully yield a book for you to read! 🙂 )
1. I Won’t Wait For Inspiration.
You need to be inspired to write…right?
I think many writers fall into the “writer’s block” trap. Writer’s block is all in your head. If you’re feeling “uninspired” or “blocked,” it’s important that you just sit down and write anyway. I have fallen victim to this all year long. I don’t feel inspired, then I feel intimidated, and all of a sudden it has been days since I last wrote a sentence.
How do I plan to overcome this? I’m setting up a writing schedule. I will be writing for a minimum of 1 hour a night during the week, and a minimum of 2 hours Saturday. If I write more than my minimum, great, but regardless of how inspired I feel, I will be writing something down every night. I feel like this is what I need. I’ve always been a procrastinator and I need to make writing nightly a habit.
As far as the blog is concerned, I am going to make a conscious effort to create two blog posts a week – this will be separate from my nightly writing time. I want this blog to grow, so that when my book is released, I have another platform to interact with people already set up.
2. I Won’t Be Afraid To Write Crap.
This goes hand in hand with number one. One of my biggest downfalls is being afraid to write garbage. I focus too hard on writing perfectly, instead of just getting my thoughts down onto paper. I think this brings about the writer’s block.
I need to leave the editing behind – I can’t spend my nights re-reading things I wrote and nit-picking through the words. This is why we call our first few times through the story “drafts.” A draft is not supposed to be perfect – the editing is something that should be done later.
How do I plan to overcome this fear? I will forego my minimum writing goal on Sundays, and spend time editing. This will allow me to get the editing out of my system, and it will also allow me to focus on just writing during the week. If I know I will have time to edit, I hopefully won’t feel the need to edit as I go.
3. I Won’t Make Excuses
There might be some, but most writers, wrote their novels while other crazy life things were happening. Moms write. Dads write. Full-time workers write. No one is going to listen to excuses. This step is for anyone trying to accomplish anything in the new year – you’re not going to get sympathy from people because your life is “hard.” Using the excuse that you have a full time job, you’re too tired, you have kids, etc. to justify why you’re not accomplishing your goals is only going to make 2017 a failure.
How do I plan to overcome this? I guess there isn’t a physical step I can take. This is going to be something I have to mentally get myself into the habit of. I think forcing myself to write nightly and not be afraid to write crap will help immensely in this. I just need to suck it up. If this is what I truly want to do with my life (and it is!), then I need to make it happen. Excuses are only going to hold me back.
4. I Won’t Let My Inner Critic Win
I don’t think you have to be a writer to understand this one either. If you’re going after any goal, you’ve probably had your inner critic unleash his/her hell-fire on your self-esteem. I am the first one to admit, I beat the crap out of myself sometimes. There are nights, I sit and stare at my computer, wondering why I am wasting my time – all the while, my inner critic is telling me I have no talent, and no one is going to like anything I write.
My father has told me my whole life that not everyone is going to like you or what you do and it shouldn’t bother you. There isn’t much you can do to change someone’s opinion of you. It is what it is.
How do I plan to overcome this? I’m going to need to remind myself daily, that I am talented and I can do this. I think this is another mental thing. I refuse to be the reason I don’t live the life I want to. I’ve wanted to be a full time writer my whole life. Now is the time to make this happen.
5. I Won’t Wait For Affirmation From Others
The hard truth about being a writer, or a creative person, is that no one cares during the process of creating said creative thing. The average person doesn’t care about the process of painting/writing/photographing/etc – they only care about the results (if they even care at all). A person who doesn’t like to read, surely isn’t going to care about the writing process and probably won’t give a hoot about your finished product. A person who loves to read but doesn’t write, isn’t going to care too much about your process either.
I know the people in my life love me, and I actually have quite a few supportive friends and family members who ask me on a semi-regular basis how I am doing, and quite often read my blog posts…but they aren’t writers, and a lot of times, me rambling about my process/hardships/successes just doesn’t hold their attention. And I can’t blame them for that.
How do I plan to overcome this? I think I need to make some writer friends. Join some sort of group or something. NaNoWriMo is a good place to start – I know people still frequent the boards during the off months. I need to get over being shy and put myself out there. It’s called networking and it’s worth it to involve myself in the writing world a bit more.