Resolutions in Writing

Welcome to the official site of Amanda J. Clay, author of the young adult novel, Rebel Song.

It’s been one of my goals for a long time to try this blogging thing… What better way to start a blogging goal than blogging about goals!?

Like so many people, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what I want out of 2015. Now that we’re one month in, it’s time to do a gut check.

Did you know that less than 10 percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions actually keep them? If you’re much of a gym rat, you probably already know this. Walk into the gym on January 2 and there won’t be an inch of free workout space. By March (Hell, maybe even Feb.) it’s pretty much back to normal. So why does nearly everyone keep making a set of promises to themselves they have no intention of keeping year after year? I actually think most have every intention of keeping and exceeding their resolutions. The problem is their sustainability plan.

I actually hate the word resolution. Alright, I don’t HATE the word but I do find it to be a misleading ideal to which very few measure up. Resolutions are these all-encompassing, all-or-nothing Holy Grails mocking you from the top of Mt. Olympus. You accomplish them or you don’t. You climb that mountain or you fail. Black and white.Additionally, they often focus on what we DON’T want to do, rather than what we DO want to accomplish, filling you with negativity from the start. (I WON’T eat DoubleDouble cheeseburgers for breakfast, rather than I WILL eat more veggies.) That’s why I prefer the term “goals.” Goals are measurable, specific, obtainable and digestible in tiny bites. As my fitness coach says, “resolutions gets broken, goals get accomplished.”

For example, here are some of my 2015 goals compared to resolutions.

Resolution: To improve my running.
Goal: To complete a 5k, 10k and half marathon.

Resolution: Become more fluent in Spanish.
Goal: Complete one Fluenz training module per month.

Resolution: Be more philanthropic.
Goal: Volunteer at the food bank twice per month.

So how does this idea apply to writing? Your “resolution” may have been to write a book this year. That is in fact a goal—but mind you it’s a ginormous one. Writing a book is a lifetime goal for some (or if you’re James Patterson something you do before breakfast). Regardless of whether it’s your first attempt or your 100th, it’s important to set the small goals that will add up to that great Holy Grail at the end of this treacherous trek into Mordor I call writing.

Some small, obtainable writing goals I’m trying out to help me finish my next novel are:

– Write 500 words per day—even when the muse is on vacation. (honestly, sometimes my first draft sentences come out like “The dog was happy. The end.”)
– Read for 30 minutes, four days per week (You can’t be a writer if you ain’t a reader!)
– Spend one evening/afternoon/morning per week doing something that churns my creativity (running outside, hiking, listening to music, sitting at the park with mimosas watching the world go by)

You get the idea.

What are your goals for the year—writing, reading or otherwise

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