We all know the schtick. Resolutions are made to be broken.

By February, most of us have forgotten any resolutions made, let alone are sticking to them. It’s another pointless, painful cycle, accompanied by nagging feelings of disappointment and self-doubt. Are you ready to kick it to the curb?

Try thinking of your resolutions as goals instead.

My BIG goal, and I think I’m not alone here, is to write full-time with enough income to comfortably sustain myself. But I’m not going to get there setting resolutions like: get my first novel picked up by one of the big three publishers, sell the movie rights, and celebrate Christmas in Hawaii. Come on, let’s be real.

Make sure goals are achievable, actionable, and within your control.

Why is ‘getting published’ not a good goal? You don’t control all the pieces of that process. Even if your novel is a knock-out, its genre might be wrong for the market this year, and publishers won’t touch it. Getting a manuscript to the query stage and sending it out IS under your control.

Break down your goal into single actionable items.

For our original ‘resolution’ to get published? That could mean a lot: write the MS, edit the MS, revise the MS, share the MS, review feedback, make revisions, write the query. It sounds like a lot, but with each action item mapped, you have a clear path to take and it breaks the goal down to smaller sub-goals, if you will, to digest and accomplish rather than one big overwhelming, unattainable-seeming goal.

Yes, shoot for the stars, but also, shoot for down the road.

I’d like to go to some writer’s conferences this year. My first imagining? Mingling with New York Times bestselling authors at the Writer’s Digest Con in NYC. I am, however, sadly on a budget and out-of-state writer’s cons just didn’t make it in it this year. So, instead, I’m going to an author night with Mindy McGinnis and a one-day writing conference at my local community college. Not as glamorous, no, but still helpful to my writing goals as an opportunity to network and learn from those who have made the switch from part-time writer to full.

Give yourself the creative fuel you need.

If you need downtime to read or do yoga or pet the dog or drink wine, give it to yourself without the guilt trip. Listen to your body and mind. If your creative juices aren’t flowing and you’ve tried all the usuals (break down your writing marathons to sprints, get up and stretch, try writing in a new location, etc.), maybe listen to yourself and take a break. Read your favorite author, watch bad television, bake cookies, whatever. If you have to admit you need those other things in your daily life to feel creative, admit you’re a turtle writer and get done what you can–even if it is only a measly 320 words in an hour.

Share your story. Find your tribe.

Find your preferred outlet (mine’s Twitter) and share your story. Share when you stare at your screen in frustration for an hour and write nothing. Share when you’re in the zone and push out 2,000 fantastic words in one sitting. It might seem like no one’s listening at first, but keep at it and you’ll find your virtual tribe, and they’ll encourage you and be excited to share their progress with you in return. It’s fun making writer friends!

Oh, and don’t forget to write! Write every day.

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