New Year’s Resolutions – Progress. Not Perfection.


Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? I do. I love making them. I also love breaking them. It’s a time-honored ritual, and who am I to mess that up? But this year–this year I’d like to actually keep a few. I’m O.K. with tossing the old “lose 50 pounds” on there, knowing full well the chances of that happening are essentially nil. I’m not O.K. with not upping my commitment to my writing.

Apropos this time of year, my cousin recently sent me this article (she knows all about my “Make It & Break It” habit, I guess). In it author James Clear encourages us to focus less on setting goals, and more on creating systems of sustainable action that, while leading of course to increased achievement, are not the end in and of themselves. It’s the journey, not the destination, and by taking small steps every day, we’re making progress. Goals imply finality; systems are never-ending–but in a good way.

So here, at least, are my Writerly Resolutions, er, I mean Writerly Systems for 2014:

1. Write an hour every day. Maybe on a book. Maybe on a blog post. Maybe just scribbling on something never intended for others eyes. Whatever. Just write.

2. Blog 3 times a week. Because I *know* my 9 subscribers are breathless with anticipation over whatever I have to say, and also because it will feed into Writerly Resolution #1. (And hey, if you subscribe to my blog and get me up into the double-digits, I will be ecstatic! ;))

3. Read an hour every day. I call myself a bookworm. I certainly have an addiction to books. But, um, well, last year I didn’t read NEARLY as much as I should have, not in fiction, or non-fiction, or research. This will not do. So while I’m not claiming I’ll give up Facebook or Netflix or that blastedly addictive HayDay game, I am pledging that in between all that I will get in an hour of reading a day, at least – which hopefully will get me to my goal of 50 books this year, minimum.

4. Publish a book in 2014, whether by traditional or indie means. O.K., so this one is a goal. A BIG goal. But it’s an intentional one; I can keep dithering on my first book, A Man of Character, forever, doing edits and rearranging words, but in the dithering is hidden procrastination motivated by plain old fear. While revising and editing with the drive to improve the book is, of course, desirable, hiding behind revising and editing as an excuse not to research agents, craft that query letter, and send the sucker out is not.

Whew. O.K. There they are; 3 “systems” and 1 flat-out goal. What do you think? Reasonable? Unreasonable? Better than pledging to run a marathon and drop 100 pounds?

What are YOUR goals (er, uh, I mean ‘systems’) for 2014, writerly or otherwise?

One Reply to “New Year’s Resolutions – Progress. Not Perfection.”

  1. Pingback: New Years Resolutions Part D’oh: February is the New January. Right? | Margaret Locke

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