I have a problem: I make too many New Year’s Resolutions. I am that person in the gym on January 1st, jump roping until my heart feels like it’s going to burst out of my chest.
Every year, I swear off sugar, Starbucks, fruity cocktails, library fines, needless pedicures, wearing mismatched socks, Cookie Chips, etc. etc.
And then comes February 1. My resolutions are busy collecting dust like that unread copy of Moby Dick. I am feasting on Valentine’s Day treats, running up a huge library fine because I can’t seem to finish the Golden Notebook and no, I haven’t signed up for Yoga.
This year, I decided to scratch all that stuff and make solid New Year’s resolutions related to my passion for writing.
1. Write everyday.
That means everyday. I don’t even wash my hair everyday, so this would be huge. Whether it’s a blog post, an artfully written list, a poem, a journal entry, a short story, I plan to write for myself (not for work) everyday.
That’s 365 pages or paragraphs or something just for me. By the end, I will have a solid writing routine in place, one able to survive diversions, distractions, and Seattle’s rare sunny days.
I’m marking progress on a wall calendar, which I’ve heard helps visualize the goal. I am also marking down time spent in the gym.
2. Create realistic goals. And reach them.
In 2013, I wrote this travel article on Annecy, France.
It received a lot of “Plus Ones” or whatever they call it on Google Plus. Strangers liked it. That makes me feel like I am on the right track.
In 2014, I plan to write at three travel articles for widely circulated travel publications. The first step is learning to write a great pitch letter. The second step is making and keeping great connections with editors.
The third step is annoying all of your friends and fellow bloggers with “Share This” or you’re on the sh!t list requests. And finally, I will be posting more travel writing advice on here as I go. That way, you can ride along for my personal successes and failures.
2014. The year I will become fluent in networking.
3. Organize old papers.
Another goal I have is making my creative writing count. I write poems, stories, humorous essays. They’re saved as Word files or in my writing binder, which I am proud to say is growing fatter and fatter, just like my junk-food-filled belly.
But I have never learned to properly archive old pieces. It seems important now. When I look back at all the pages neatly put together, I can see how far I’ve come.
4. Get some *bleeping* confidence.
I know I can out-funny some of the writers published in McSweeney’s. So why not try? Many writers share a similar fear. That Dave Eggers himself is going to write back and the letter is going to say, “This sucked. Please stop submitting to McSweeney’s. Love, Mr. Dave Eggers, formerly one of your favorite authors.”
That’s unlikely, almost as unlikely as being published in the magazine in the first place.
I resolve to stop thinking about rejection and focus on the writing. The writing is the accomplishment. Send it out. Get rejected.
5. Social media diet.
There is a lot of fluff out there. From hoaxes and pathetic cries for attention to pointless listicles, like “10 Things Obama Has in Common with a Unicorn.” Sigh. The Internet has become a writer’s best pal and worst enemy.
So I am scaling back to less than one hour a day. I am sorry, not really sorry I will miss baby pics, weather rants, inane food pics, and all of that other weirdness. I need to write.
And that’s it. Do you have New Year’s writing resolutions? Comment on them below! I will hold you accountable.