Resolutions get a bad wrap, for obvious reasons. January seems like the time to reach for the skies, and when March comes you’ve fallen flat on your face. But they can work, and I seem to be the kind of person who thrives with specific targets. In light of that I have a few writing goals that I have set for the year, like finally polishing up my first novel, or entering some writing competitions.
But that is not what this post is about. As I said, I tend to find resolutions suit me. But there is one thing that I find a huge struggle.
Doing things for me.
It is probably a female thing, and definitely a mother thing. I click on an interesting literature festival, or I see a book on writing that would be helpful to buy. And then I think “I’ll get it another time.” or “It’s tricky to find someone to watch the kids on a Saturday.” or “It’s too much money.” Constantly saying no to myself because I’m not quite sure I deserve it.
So, I declare 2019 as the year of giving myself some writing treats!
Here are my resolutions:
I will attend three face-to-face writing events.
Unlike 95% of the writing world, I am a big E extravert. I love meeting people, I love seeing people, and I love talking to people. However, with a few (awesome!) exceptions, most of my writing friends are on-line. I want to change that. I want to start going to events and networking and getting to know people.
At the moment I am down to go to KidLit Victoria in May. I am still not sure of the practicalities of the Writers Victoria YA day with a not yet weaned 14 month old. I am also looking at the AWC Story Doctor course in November in Melbourne. So that is three good possibilities without breaking a sweet.
I will have some sort of writing retreat.
Every year my husband and I talk about it. Me going away for a few days to write. He is happy for it, and I know I will love every minute. But it never happens. I don’t plan it, because I feel guilty or unsure, and then we hit the end of the year and it is far too busy to fit it in. Not this year.
This year I will go away for at least two nights to get some writing done. I will plan ahead, booking in a couple of days so I can’t back-out due to Mother-Guilt. I will write, my kids will survive, and I will be a better writer and mother for the time away.
I will Buy and Read more New Books
Okay, so I cheating a bit, because this one started last year. I knew in theory that I should be reading more new books. But it takes so much more time and concentration and bother than picking up a Harry Potter again and reading it for the hundredth time. Time and concentration I could be spending on my family, or even on my writing.
But I realised something last year. My best writing tended to follow on after I had just finished reading an excellent new book. The quality of the book, the excitement of the story inspired me on and I was a better writer because of it. So I started buying books. I am a naturally tight individual who isn’t great at spending money on myself. But a book cost less than a fancy meal out, and was much more satisfying. And I was supporting other authors in the process.
And when my money-spending guilt was on overdrive, I went to the local library. There are plenty of great books that I haven’t read, sitting on the shelf waiting for me to reserve them. And when I reserve them, it barely takes a minute to go into the Library and find all the books I want already there, waiting for me to pick them up. Win-Win
I will Keep Writing for Fun
My favourite aspect of writing is the first draft. The heady excitement of new characters popping into being as my fingers tap. Plot twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. The fun of creating a budding relationship, building the tension and sprinkling in the romance as grows.
But the problem with loving first drafts is you end up with too many projects, with none of them ready. And many of my goals for the year involve getting some of those project polished up to be ready for submission.
But writing is allowed to be a hobby as well as a job. So I will give myself permission to indulge in the occasional new, shinny project. My five year old has been keen for me to write a space-based story for him, and the plot and characters for this children’s story have been bubbling away for months. One of my treats for this year will be writing that story, something new and different and as much for my own amusement as for any future publishing merit.
So those are my New Years gifts to myself.
And I’d love to hear other writer’s fun plans for the year ahead.