The New Year is always a great time to dedicate to new endeavours and promises that you intend to keep. That is, until you look back at this time last year and realise you only ever managed them until mid-January – or March at best! New Year’s resolutions, I have come to believe, are always meant to be short term: realistically they can’t be anything else because they are always so grand and ambitious.
But what if you want to start a good habit in order for it to last a year or – let’s go bigger: a lifetime? This time last year, I found motivation my biggest hurdle – physically putting my bum in the chair, opening my manuscript and letting my fingers type. I don’t envisage that being a particularly huge challenge this year: I’ve now come to realise that even if I can only write for short periods of time they all add up.
No, this year the mountain I will be climbing will be the stony peaks of Editing. Once I have completed first draft NaNo #2, I then have both this one and first draft NaNo #1 to re-read and terrify myself into realising that they both need appropriate re-writing and re-jigging for issues such as consistent viewpoint, varied description and, perhaps more seriously, adequate setting which are all things I know I am guilty of. Of course, thsse are things I anticipate: who knows what other errors I might find lurking in the text.
I also want to try and hone my short-story technique. I started this a little last year – with Story-a-day-in-May – and really enjoy the immediacy of being able to write from beginning to end in one day. However, the editing process there was also lacking. Therefore in order to try and get some practice in I aim to enter a few short story competitions and see how I do. This should, I hope, help me learn how to edit effectively and critique my own work with a keener eye, thus giving me some perspective for the larger task of editing the novels.
My New Year’s resolution, however, is this year inspired by one of my fellow bloggers whom I really admire. Vikki has been posting her weekly ‘To-Do Lists’ for some time now, and then updating her blog post with how she did each week. Not only is she super-organised like this, but she creates her own form of accountability by making these lists public and then having to explain why she may not have accomplished them all a week later (or, more positively, why she managed to whizz through them all!).
This suggests to me that not only is she able to set realistic goals and commit to them, but she also gives time up to reflecting on how she is attempting to reach these goals and the reasons or barriers for how and why she is able to tackle them. I like this: therefore I plan to set up my own weekly ‘To-do List’ in her honour. This will be my New Year’s Resolution – only time will tell if I can maintain it beyond mid-January which is possible only if I find myself energised by the act of accomplishment and reward that comes with such planning. If it doesn’t work as well for me as it does for Vikki, at least I’ll know I have given it a try. And, if it does work, one day I might find ‘Write Vikki a Thank You note for inspiring productivity‘ on my weekly To-Do List’ sometime in July, September or November next year!