The tradition of making resolutions on New Year’s goes all the way back to 153 BC. Janus, a mythical early Roman king with two faces, one looking forward, one looking back, was placed at the head of the Roman calendar. Janus’ two faces allowed him to look at both the past and at future events, and he became a symbol for resolutions.
Although no records exist, I’m sure that the history of breaking resolutions has been just as long a history as that of making them. We all know how hard it is to keep those resolutions. How many years have you made a resolution and actually kept it?
If your resolution this year is to actually finish that book idea you’ve had for several years, here are a few tips to help you keep your resolution:
- Set a Specific Time to Write. Start by looking at your calendar. Be realistic. How much time can you carve out of your busy schedule for writing? If you decide to write for an hour every day, will you really be able to keep it up? Setting a schedule that is too ambitious is one way to insure that your resolution will be broken. It might be better to set aside two or three hours one or two days a week. The most important thing is to make it a habit to write regularly.
- Organize Your Work Space. What do you need to write? Obviously, a quiet place away from distractions is important. But don’t just sit down with your laptop in a spare bedroom without making some preparations first. Make sure you have the basics: pens and a notepad for making notes. Any research books or tools that you might need. These days you can find many of the basics online. Set bookmarks for your favorite online dictionary, thesaurus, and grammar assistance.
- Find Support. One of the best ways to make sure you follow through on any resolution is find a support person or group. This can take many forms. Some people enjoy joining writing groups. Others look for an editor or writing coach. Find whatever form of support works best for you and check in regularly. Tell your support person about your goals and have him or her help you set deadlines.
Writing is hard work. It takes time and it takes energy. Don’t get discouraged if after a few weeks of work you miss some of your scheduled writing sessions. Don’t let a couple of bad weeks or unproductive sessions keep you from finishing your goal. Instead, re-evaluate. Is your original time to write still working, or do you need to change your strategy? Do you need to have that talk with your family again about not disturbing you when you are working? Do you need to do more research on your topic before you write more?
Writing a book is a large and complex task. Try to work on it a little each week and by this time next year you will have accomplished your goal.