My writing goals rarely start exactly on January 1st of any year. But, just because I don't create official writing resolutions or goals at the start of every year, doesn't mean I don't have experience. Over the past solid four years that I've devoted my time to nurturing my craft, I have learned a thing or two.
Shoot for the big things.
Don't be afraid to push for the hard things. Know your limits, and strive to get as close to them as you can. Acknowledging when a goal is big has a way of pressuring your mind, unlike a goal that suddenly turns out to be difficult. Decide, "this is my big goal, and I'm going to do my best to achieve it." The right mindset is key, even if you don't accomplish it. However, don't let the size of the goal become an excuse at the end, if you didn't complete it.
Plan little victories along the way.
When shooting for a big goal, look at it like a long stair case. If you're like me it's easy to fall down those stairs, but find a way to celebrate every step you take. Get excited over the little things. It will make the big victory worth more. If you happen to not complete the goal, you still have many little victories under your belt.
Try for your best, not the world's best.
I cannot stress this enough. You can always keep learning. Any writing goal will really have no end, as there is always something that could be changed of improved. Don't settle for what the world says is "okay." Work on that project until it is at your best. Which brings me to the next point.
Accept the challenge that takes longer than a year.
I'm currently on the fifth draft of a novel, and a large chunk I'm only just now stripping and rewriting. This is taking much longer than a year, but that's okay. Actually, that's great. The challenges that take longer than a year, are sometimes the best. You don't become a good parent by focusing on you infant for a year then moving onto the next kid. The yearly cycle doesn't define that challenges should be accepted and completed. Plan and complete, no longer how long it takes to get it your best.
If you're stuck, temporary try something else.
All writers get stuck sometimes. If you do, push it aside and write something else for a day or two. Poetry and flash fiction are great outlets. Try a different way to brainstorm or outline. Try writing a different scene or chapter. If it's not working, don't quit, try a different way.
Get writers and non writers to support your endeavor. Writers can help you out with the technical aspect of the writing goal. Non writers can help you out with the life aspect of the writing goal. Look at NaNoWriMo, for example. Tons of people got together and supported each other for a common goal for a set amount of time. For many people, this support and challenge was effective. Don't be afraid to ask someone for help, or admit that it's hard. Writing goals aren't easy, and that makes finishing them feel awesome.
Have you made any writing goals for this year? What's your game plan?
Have a great year!