Happy New Year!
As you can see from this week’s podcast, we’re big on resolutions here at DIY MFA. They can be a powerful tool for motivation, and also for building your community. Studies have shown that the mere act of writing down a goal makes you more likely to achieve it. Telling it to others—and asking to be held accountable—will make reaching your goal even more likely. It’s a great way to let others know where you are, where you hope to go, and to get a little help along the way.
So this Friday, we’re practicing what we preach by letting the world know about our resolutions. And we’re counting on you to help us keep them!
2015 Resolutions from the DIY MFA Team
Gabriela: I Resolve to Write the DIY MFA Book
Since I now have an official deadline for the DIY MFA book, I want to hammer out that manuscript as efficiently as possible. To that end, I’ve officially blocked writing into my weekly schedule. Four weekday mornings, plus one weekend day I’ll spend at least two hours working on the book. This means that with the exception of Thursday (my one non-writing day) I won’t take calls, hold meetings or answer emails in the AM. My plan is to experiment with this schedule for the month of January, evaluate how it goes at the end of the month and then make adjustments accordingly.
Bess: I Resolve To Write 1000 Words a Day, Every Day
True confession: I don’t actually like writing that much. And by writing, I mean new writing. Drafting. Staring at the blank page and filling it. I have a lot more fun revising. Last year, my main writing resolution was to work on writing every day. I kept that, and was able to write, revise, polish and pitch a book in time to start a new one for NaNoWriMo.
This year, I want to take that momentum and up it a notch. Drafting isn’t my favorite part of writing, but when I haven’t drafted anything new in months, starting again is like riding a bike with rusty wheels. I don’t think it will be as difficult if I simply don’t stop. Right now, I’m working on a new book, 1000 words a day. When I finish the draft, and dive into revision, I resolve to keep writing as well. 1000 words a day on something new! I’ve bought a calendar specifically for this goal, along with a set of stickers. Each day I get to 1000, I’ll stick a sticker on that date. A small, maybe silly, but concrete way to say “Job well done! Now keep going!”
Robin: I Resolve to Re-Evaluate
Resolutions are tough for me. As soon as I make them, I break them. My fear of not making them becomes so strong that I just…quit. I’ve been a ‘quitter’ too often in my life. This year my goal is “Don’t Quit Writing”. But that’s not a very smart goal.
You know, a S.M.A.R.T. goal? Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic and Timely. “Don’t Quit” misses at least three of those. Darn it.
My goal to submit my novel this year has been moved at least four times, and today I moved it again. It makes me sad, but if my goal is not attainable, I have to re-evaluate. Otherwise, I’ll quit, again. I’m thinking “Re-evaluate” is my 2015 resolution. About every two weeks, on the fifteenth and thirtieth of each month, I want to re-set my S.M.A.R.T. goals. Then maybe I won’t be so likely to quit when things don’t go as planned. Then maybe I won’t forget that every day I “Keep Writing” is an achievement.
Alicia: I Resolve to Submit My Work
In 2015, my goal is to submit my work to literary journals and magazines. I often write flash fiction and short stories, and only post them on my blog. The quest for publication can only be successful if I start knocking on doors. I got off to a good start in 2014, submitting work I’d already written and searching for competitions and calls for submissions. I managed to get a short story published in July, and it was very exciting and gratifying.
This year, I plan to research opportunities on the 5th of every month. I will write hard deadlines in my calendar along with dates for first and second drafts to be completed. I know that I need to set these dates and deadlines to organize my time and keep myself on track. I’ll submit to a minimum of two paid and two unpaid opportunities per month. At this point in my writing career, my goal is to drive more traffic to my blog by gaining exposure in the literary world, serving my stories to the audiences that are hungry for them.
Wendy: I Resolve to Build My Brand and Community Through My Website
As a writer, I’ve always had trouble believing in myself and my work. Deep down, I know what it is I want to accomplish – it’s plucking up the courage to go for what I want that’s challenging. This past year, I redesigned and launched my new writer website, complete with a blog and email newsletter. Once it went live and public, I couldn’t believe it! I was so proud. Here was a personalized online space for me to do whatever I wanted, write whatever crossed my mind.
It’s been an exciting ride, but also a little intimidating. It’s as if I’ve given myself permission – an internal freedom – to be a writer, even though I’ve technically been a writer all along. In 2015, I hope to take this writing project even further by solidifying my personal brand as a writer, following my blog content calendar and engaging regularly with the online writing community. Most importantly, I resolve to write honestly, consistently and from the heart.