Resolution! How many of us approach resolutions without thinking of failure in the back of the mind? While we ask each other about resolutions for the New Year, most of us already expect failure. Despite all the negativity and the failed expectations, achieving your goals in 2014 is not at all a Herculean task. Here’s a simple guide to focusing on and achieving your resolution for writing.
Setting realistic content writing goals
I will exercise for 3 hours every single day in 2014. If you are currently a couch potato, then aiming for three hours in the gym is unrealistic. Similarly, you cannot just wake up one day and aim to be a better writer out of the blue within a week.
In order to be a better writer, there are specific goals that you can work toward. Choose your poison wisely.
- Write for yourself – If you keep a journal, write in it religiously. If you don’t have a journal, then start one today. Make writing a habit. Even if you can only get five minutes to write for yourself, capitalize on those five minutes. Writing every day is one sure shot method of getting better. Practice, after all does make perfect.
- Read – Most writers at some point in their lives give in to the pleasure of reading another author’s work. Irrespective of whether you like soppy romances, erotic short stories or murder mysteries, you should read more. Reading will give you ideas on bettering your own craft. Eventually you will learn how to ensnare your reader’s attention and take them on a thrill ride even if it is a drab press release that you are writing.
- Accept criticism – Nobody likes to be told that they are not good at something. Writers, like artists, pour a bit of themselves into their work and do not take kindly to criticism. Instead of shutting down in the face of unfavorable advice, you might want to listen carefully. People who criticize have read what you have written. As a reader, their opinion is valuable and only help you get better at building a rapport with your audience. Understand the critique and weave the good advice into your work.
- Read your own work – When the muse speaks, she often doesn’t pause for a break. Writing the first draft is often fast and fun. Revising and editing takes the fun out of writing for most writers. Nonetheless, it is a very important step in order to better yourself as a content creator.
Taking a break between the first draft and the edit is a good idea as it will allow you to look at your work with a fresh perspective. You will find incomplete words and sentences after a refreshing walk in the park or a stimulating conversation with your co-worker about the day’s steaming hot gossip.
- Forget social media – One of the hazards of content creation is the fact that internet surfing or research as we refer to it, is a part of the job. But as we all know, social media, the latest movie review and that incredibly funny video on YouTube just have to be seen.
When you are working voluntarily shut yourself off from all distractions. Soon you will find that a page that took an hour to write will get done in under twenty minutes. While it is impossible to completely shut yourself right away, begin with a considerable time limit on non-essential surfing for fun.
- Don’t compare – Comparisons come relatively easy especially in an office scenario. Your boss might unwittingly tell you about a star writer and their endless flow of fabulous work. It is not conducive to your motivation and might bring your self-esteem down.
As with all other areas in life, don’t compare yourself to a contemporary. Instead focus your energy on learning from them if they are willing to help you. Just reading their work might help you understand the nuances of writing that you can then use in your work.
Achieving the goals
Making your resolution is the easy part. The journey to reaching the resolution takes time, effort and most importantly persistence. Here are a few tips that will help you accomplish your new year’s resolution.
- Pick realistic goals – Don’t bite more than you can chew. Evaluate yourself as a writer. Think about specific areas that you can work on to help better your craft. Choose wisely.
- Persist – One of the main keys to accomplishing any goal is perseverance. There will be days when the writer’s block will take all your time. There will be crazy days when the nosy aunt visits and days with consistent power outages and there is always the crimson tide of menstruation. Despite these ‘breaks’ that you take from your resolution, keep returning to work on them.
- Pace yourself – These New Year’s resolutions that you make are meant to be completed over a year. So don’t assume that you have failed if Valentine’s Day rolls around and you haven’t gotten very far with your goals. Instead of beating yourself up and letting the negativity creep into your work, accept the setbacks and move on.
- Don’t procrastinate – You have a major party coming up, but that does not warrant you putting off starting on your goals till next week. Get started as soon as you reach a decision on your goals. Overcoming the setbacks and the roadblocks is all a part of achieving the goal.
- Make it a habit – Remember the quote “Old habits die hard”? Well it is true. If you make up your mind and sit down to reading one page every day, then soon it will turn into a habit. Shaking off habits as we all know is one hard task.
One of the most important ways to achieve your writing goal for 2014 is to bring the fun back to work. If you dread writing and working, then something is missing. Take a break, take a vacation, take a hike (well, literally) and then come back to writing. Turn on the music and find your mojo again.
What are your resolutions for the New Year? How do you come up with your resolutions? Tell us what you think, share your silly resolutions and we can all laugh together. Here’s to creating amazing content every day in 2014! Happy New Year everybody!