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Writers: The trick to keeping your resolution


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We make resolutions to diet when we are full. I resolved to diet many times before I got into the right mindset to lose 40 pounds. We depend on excitement, instant gratification and short-term thinking, which is why we got fat in the first place. Much the same is true with that resolution of yours to write your book this year.

You don’t need short-term thinking, but you do need short-term focus. You need long-term planning and short-term action. Each day you work toward your goal is a little course correction. Just as you drive and make tiny movements of the steering wheel along the way, each time you don’t get distracted and write another 500 words instead is a step toward finishing your book.

Sure, we can make big announcements. “This, I swear by all that is holy, is the year I will…” But it’s the little things you do, the day-to-day commitments to your goal, to yourself, that will make the difference. 

Why did your past resolutions fail? Think about it. What happened? Was your goal clear? Did you write your goal down? Did you tell somebody you trust to help you remain accountable? Did you track your progress? Did you make a game of it? Did you set up small rewards along the way? Did you set up a bet or a competition with a colleague to spur you on? Are you feeding your goals with information that helps you? Are you cautious to protect your time from short-term rewards that are really sabotaging you? (And if so, spend some time working out why you’re okay with settling for less.)

These are all useful strategies, but it comes back to the reaching your goal one day at a time, sometimes one minute at a time. Keep your resolution. Resolution means focus.

Too often we suffer from JOM Syndrome. JOM means Just One More.

Just one more cupcake. Just one more day off the diet. Just one more day without writing. Just one more day before I really start. I deserve a break. I deserve something less than my ultimate goal.


I deserve to earn the reward without putting in the work.

Real-life answer:

No, you don’t.

Forget your grand pronouncements while your energy is high and your belly’s full. Instead, do what you can today to reach your goal (whatever it is.) Forget your entitlements. Do the work and no whining is allowed. If whining worked, you’d be done by now.

That sounds tough, but it will get better. You know why? Because the toughest part about writing is simply to begin. After you get started, you’ll be okay. You just have to keep on starting. Again and again and again, every day.

When you fail, begin again.

When you give up, begin again.

People will criticize your writing. So what? Don’t let them say you don’t write. Writers write. If you weren’t a writer, you wouldn’t have come to the end of this post.

Filed under: Books, getting it done, publishing, Rant, Writers, writing tips, , , , , , , ,


Winner of Writer's Digest's 2014 Honorable Mention in Self-published Ebook Awards in Genre

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