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Writer Wednesday: Set a Pace to Succeed

Happy New Year Writers and welcome to the first week of 2021! The Sword and Silk Family is gearing up for a banger of a year, with our first releases rolling out by the summer. That means a winter and spring full of reveals and other goodies coming up fast so keep your eyes on this space in the coming weeks. But first, let's talk about that writerly tradition of New Year's Goals.

New Year, Big Dreams

Many an author I know is putting out big dream energy into the universe this year. This past year was a rough one, not only for the closure and cancellation of so many events that made debuts especially difficult, but for the absolute draining energy and stress of a world in lockdown. It is important to acknowledge that stress, and take the time and self care needed to keep yourself sane dealing with it.

Coming into the new year, many authors are ready to jump back in, fists swinging as it were, with big dreams. It is important to dream big. When it comes to dreams, the sky is the limit. Put that big dream out there for the universe to manifest. An author should dream big, pie in the sky dreams, but goals are another matter.

The Resolution Let Down

We have a running joke in this household about resolutions: Make them January 1st, break them January 2nd. Now, it is important to set goals. Having goals are the foundation stones to setting up a plan of action and making your goals happen. However, we often treat out goals like dreams. We create huge goals and then, when we fail to meet them, we disappoint ourselves. To the outside eye, they might not be aware of how or what we might have failed at in our intended goal, but that failure is often internalized and knocks our confidence as creators. Resolutions and goals should not be about setting ourselves up to fail, they are meant to be anchor stones on the path to success.

Set Goals To Succeed

The theory sounds simple, but in practice, setting goals to succeed means being honest with yourself as an author. It means taking a critical eye to realistic goals that match your lifestyle, to the other commitments in your daily life you must prioritize, and what real success looks like vs what you think success looks like.

Realistic Goals For A Busy Life: Say you want to set aside a portion of your day for writing. I think it is unrealistic to make a goal to get up at five in the morning every day if you have to a full time job, family, and other obligations to juggle. You may quickly find your reserves tanking and your creativity on fumes. It might be more realistic to sacrifice an hour of time in the evening you normally crash on the couch two or three times a week. Set a goal that is easier to shift around in the confines of the energy you already expend in a day rather than try to immediately push yourself into this new demanding schedule. That is not to say the former goal is out of your league. It could be something you work up to, getting up five minutes earlier each day, but when it comes to your time and energy, don't spend it all in one go.

Other Commitments On Your Time: I wish I could write every day, however, it's not realistic as a working mom, juggling the demands of work, school, and parenting. My commitments are not the same as your commitments, everyone's are different and it is important, vital, to keep those commitments in mind when creating writing goals for yourself. Remember there is only one of you and don't over tax your resources.

What Success Looks Like: Writers are often their toughest critics, and that includes the lofty expectations we set for ourselves in goals and resolutions. Write three books in a year. Write two thousand words a day. Write everyday. The reality is: we might only manage one draft this year. We might only write 500 words a day. We might only manage to write a few days out of the week. All of these are still examples of success. We still created something. We still committed time. Those successes should be celebrated. It is victory. We wrote, we won.

Going into the new year, I carry over the same message as last year: Remember to be kind to yourself as a creator. As you set up your goals for this year, keep in mind the demands on your time and energy, because if you set up goals that will help you succeed, than those pie in the sky dreams are much closer than you think.

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