New Year Writing Goals Suggestions

Posted: January 1, 2015 in Uncategorized
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This is part two my long post on New Year’s Resolutions, though it focuses solely on goals for writers based on their writing level. Before I get to those suggestions, I want to point out that for many new writers you will be learning to form a new habit. Some people think it takes about 21 days to form a new habit based on base research from the sixties. Well we now know it takes roughly 66 days on average to learn a new habit. That is just the average; it can take between two and eight months. I think this alone explains why so many people give up on their New Year’s Resolutions. They try to form a new habit and don’t give the time-needed daily to form that habit for the time need.

Please note there may be skills or habits I suggest you form in lower skill levels you don’t have yet, but you have been writing for a long time. No I am not suggesting you are only a beginner if you haven’t formed this skill or habit yet. This is based solely on what I wished I learnt when I finally started to take my writing seriously. I have habits I still need to form all over the five levels.

Beginners:

Defined. Never written beyond what you had to for school.

  • 1) First Drafts are not Final Drafts.
  • It amazes me how many first time writers think the first draft is their only draft. What they wrote is pure gold. Sorry, it isn’t. Not even Stephen King can do this, don’t believe me read his book, Stephen King on Writing.
  • 2) Writing anything is the goal.
  • Writing anything is your goal; you need to get in the habit of writing, who cares if it is good. Once you learn to write, then you start working on making it better.
  • 3) Learn to Write Daily
  • You need to write everyday, but starting off that could be too much. Start off writing three days a week for thirty minutes.
  • 4) Don’t be in a rush
  • Remember it takes between 2-8 months to form new habits. Don’t add days just because after a few weeks you seem to be able to do it. I say wait three months before you add another day or up the time. After that you will still to have feeling of when you should start adding days.
  • 5) Novels aren’t the only thing to write
  • Novels aren’t the only things you have to write. Short stories, novella, are just a few. Google “Novel Lengths” if you don’t know what a Novella is.
  • 6)Track your Word Count
  • As you write post how many words you wrote for the day somewhere. I suggest Excel and the date. This will come in handy later.

Novice

Defined. You are no longer a beginner once you have formed the habit of writing on a regular basis.

  • 1) Focus on Word Count
  • This doesn’t mean you wait until you can write seven days a week. I personally think it would be better suited, but once you have the habit of writing, you could start focusing on this. What I mean by focus on word count, instead of writing for a certain amount of time, your goal changes to so many words per day. Stephen King goal is 2000 words per day. Once he has them he moves on to other things he has to do that day. (He edits in evening).
  • Suggestion. If you kept track of your word count when you started, you can find your average words per day. Once you have that I would add 2 to 350 words to it as your new goal, with the idea of doubling the average by the end of the year.

Intermediate

Define: You write every day; you found your number of words per day that you feel comfortable stopping at for the day.

  • 1) Deadlines are your friend
  • If you ever get a your novel published, you will have deadlines you have to meet. Starting to set up deadlines for yourself now will help you when you have a publisher breathing down your neck. Make sure you have some kind of fine setup if you don’t make your deadline, because if you are late on your deadline they will fine you.
  • 2)Writing a good first draft
  • Once you have gotten good meeting your deadlines, start focusing on making the first draft someone good. An example will help you know what I mean. Most of my first drafts suck, to the point where I need to rewrite majority of the whole draft. I have treated my first drafts as get the damn story out. I always will, but I am not going back and editing what I wrote the day before to make it so there is less work to do in the second.

Writers

Defined: You can work within a deadline, note have to rewrite the whole story from scratch in the second draft, write every day, and found your word count goal.

  • 1)One Novel
  • Work on one novel at a time. This is my problem I have so many damn projects in the works, I sometimes jump from one to another and never get really anything done on any of them.
  • 2)Feedback is Key
  • You need feedback to improve, and not feedback from ass kissers. You need people who will tell you’re your writing sucks if it sucks, and it is good if it is good. Chances are you will have areas that need work and others that won’t. The best people who to read your work will be honest, tell what needs to be fixed, and how to fix it. Well, maybe not everyone will be able to help you with that last one. Other writers will.
  • 3)Know when hold them and when to fold them.
  • With feedback, especially from other writers, they will give you thoughts on how to fix issues on how they would fix them. You will need to learn how to know when one of your ideas is just not working and give up on it and find something else, and vise versa, know when to hold on to one even when everyone else is saying it doesn’t. This will form over time, and always, take any advance on changes from other writers and make it work for you.
  • 4)Know when to call a quits
  • This is not quit writing, it is when to quit on a novel. You can only work on a novel for so long before nothing you can do will make it better. Sometimes you just need to toss the damn manuscript into a file cabinet and forget about it for a few years while you work on something else. Moving on to another Novel doesn’t mean you cant’ come back to it in a few years when you will have fresh eyes again.

Advance
I don’t think people need a definition for this, another name for it could be author, but not required. Usually, advance you are either on your way to getting published, have published one or more novels, either self-published or by a publisher. These days, it really doesn’t matter; you have something out there for people to buy. What can I say to people who fall into this level? Not much, since I am not here, but I am going to try.

    • 1)Switch it up
    • Instead of just writing what you always write, let’s say Fantasy stories for elementary school kids. Try something else, like writing for young adults, or sci-fi for child. You may have to learn more about your new readers or genre before you write. Will help you grow in a new area.
    • 2)POV
    • Go from writing in third person to first, or first person to third. About going from writing in one character POV to having many characters POV. It will help you know more about your characters and how see the other.
    • 3)Genre
    • Kind of suggested this in the first one, but I’ll say it again. Change up your genre, especially if you are having trouble writing the same genre you have always written. Writing something different could breath new life and take you to a new level, also it requires learning about that genre.

That is all for my suggestions, hoped they helped. I hoped you enjoyed my post on New Years Resolutions. In the next week or so I will be posting my writing goals for the year, so check back for those.

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