I often have resolutions around New Year, as I’ve mentioned on my other blogs, and I especially have them for my writing. Every year, without fail, I only complete a single goal: To win NaNoWriMo. Nothing else.
Only succeeding in NaNoWriMo would be fine if I was only writing for fun and did not want to become a published author. But I do, and if so, you need to be able to sit yourself in the chair and write, November or not November. In this case, having a set amount of words to write per day is both recommended and wise, I’ve heard.
But then life happens. My work occasionally entails very stressful periods and very, very long days, lots of people and lots of things that need to be done at once. Not usually, but sometimes. That’s nothing rare, plenty of other people have jobs like that, but it is an impediment to writing every day. I have tried my best, and it’s a fool-proof way of burning out. Most likely it was why NaNoWriMo was so hard this year.
Life is not just work either. There’s Irish dancing as well, twice a week plus extra classes/competitions now and then, plus other exercise. That takes time, and it’s not something I’m willing to sacrifice. I have friends there, and it’s what keeps my sane and healthy. Quite literally, in fact. Healthy food, exercise, and moderate stress levels keep my illness at bay and my mind fit. Plus, of course, socializing with friends, my writing group, tidying my apartment (it’s not the end of the world to have a messy apartment, and I am often a messy person, but a neat apartment keeps my stress levels down), maintaining four blogs and my numerous other hobbies, plus relaxing and sleeping.
Many people are able to juggle a hectic lifestyle and writing. But many people are not, and when you have been burnt out and/or depressed before, it’s not something you want to ever experience again. Even if you keep doing the same mistakes as before. For me personally, having a rigid schedule (though I love planning) makes me stressed (not the usual “oh, I have so much to do” feeling, but the dull, heavy, all-consuming exhaustion in every cell of your body combined with a mind that’s gone haywire), and then I can forget about writing. I’ve learnt that picking your battles is a good thing, and that putting yourself in situations over and over that you know you react badly to, is a bad thing. See, I can learn sometimes.
This year, instead of resolutions, I am making wishes for the writing year. Wishes are vague and not very committing, but as it turns out, goals and resolutions aren’t necessarily any better. From what I’ve learnt during my period of using HabitRPG for the other parts of my life, starting with small goals so that you can build a habit out of them first AND get the sense of mastery before progressing to the harder stuff is the way to go.
Wish #1: Do something writing-related at least three days a week. Three days a week I have no other commitment (at least nothing pre-planned) and there’s very little that can get in the way. If it does, I can choose to write on other weekdays. “Writing-related” includes writing, editing, worldbuilding, planning, plotting, conlanging and even drawing something related to one or more of my stories.
Wish #2: Win NaNoWriMo. I would love to overachieve, but I am not going to plan on it.
Wish #3: Win and overachieve at least one Camp NaNoWriMo. Preferrably the April one, as I actually have time then. And preferrably I would like to write more than 200k.
Wish #4: Write at least one second draft for any story (but preferrably Rogue Sorcery or The Madness)
Wish #5: Finish Ancient Elvish
Wish #6: Update this blog at least once per week (on average), that is at least 52 times per year.
Do you have any resolutions?