Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Own Your Writing Life in 2015

Do you have writing goals for 2015?

I've been reading Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson. This inspirational book is about being intentional about all of your life.

As part of the launch, many readers created posters. These posters say:

I will own my life in 2015 by...

My question is are you owning your writing life?

Or is it owning you? Have your rejection letters driven you to despair? Do you find yourself thinking if only I could...get published? Find an agent? Win a contest?

What if only's are under your control? Is this the year you need to finish the manuscript that's been languishing in a drawer? Is there anything you haven't done because you're afraid of failure? Or maybe afraid of success?

Is this the year you need to try a new genre? Make the commitment to wake up early to write? Or take time during your lunch breaks?

How can you be more intentional about your writing life in 2015?

1) Spend time writing your goals down.

Author, speaker, and power blogger Michael Hyatt found those that write down their goals are more likely to attain them.

2) Start backwards.

What are your long-term goals?

What would you like to see in your writing life in five years? One year?

For instance my goal for 2015 is to finish a nonfiction book. I realize many of you might take much less than a year to accomplish this goal, many write a book as quickly as one to three months. BUT its all about making your goals attainable. YET you still want a goal that will be challenging to reach.

What goal would be stretching for you, yet still manageable?

3) What do you need to increase to get to your goal, and how will you get there?

What is it you think you are lacking that is holding you back and how can you change that for 2015?

One example is I've found I need to get more sleep in order to be creative, at least 7-8 hours. I also need to increase quiet. I have trouble meeting my goals during my lunch break with my children milling about. Going to a coffeeshop to write a few times a week increases my word count.

What place, time, conditions will ease meeting your goal?

4) What do you need to decrease to get to your goal, and how will you get there?

What are you spending too much time or energy on that may be hindering your writing life?

For me the biggest hindrance to my writing life is my own insecurity. I need to believe that God designed me to write and has a purpose for my writing. Then I need to meditate on the truths about Him and who I am in Him daily and know that I don't need to measure up to some standard for God to use my writing. He can use imperfect me, even when I have a lot of growing to do.

Other hindrances can be the way we are using our time. The computer itself is probably my biggest distraction and I find that even using it too often in my non-writing times cuts into my life creativity. I need to be intentional about shutting off in a world that is constantly connected.

4) Do you have a ritual you can connect with your writing life?

For me it is motivating to have a small ritual I associate with my writing times. Do you have a favorite pen or beverage? Can you use these small things to help you stay motivated?

5) Give yourself a reading goal related to your writing goal.

What you read can strengthen what you write, so plan accordingly. Since I am writing nonfiction right now, my goal is to finish a nonfiction book every two weeks. Read writers you want to write like. Read writers you believe you'll never write like. And make time for reading every day, even if its only five minutes. My favorite time to read is before bed. I always set aside at least fifteen minutes. As I come to inhabit the stories, my imagination flows anew and it sharpens my own writing life.

6) Review your progress regularly and then adjust.

Daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, set aside time to check where you are in regards to making your goals. Be flexible, yet push yourself. If you're not reaching your goal, what is standing in your way? Is it a change in attitude that needs to happen ? A change in the way you're spending your time?

What changes do you need to make to OWN your writing life in 2015? By the way, if you are looking for a book on being more intentional with your life, I highly recommend Sally Clarkson's Own Your Life.

Julia enjoys writing women's fiction whenever she can find a chair free of smushed peanut butter sandwiches and lego blocks. She is a wife and homeschooling mama of two littles. She also enjoys writing for Library Journal magazine and the blog Wonderfully Woven. 


Robin E. Mason said...

great questions, Julia! I've added them to my personal goal-setting. I've never set goals [let alone resolutions!] for the new year. What I need most, is structure! thus far I've been rather winging it, hit-n-miss, and that's not going to accomplish my goals! any goals really! thanks for laying down some tangible topics to address! the best to you in the new year - and here's to celebrating goals reached!!!

Julia M. Reffner said...

Thanks, Robin. I really struggle with structure, too, in several areas of my life. I've found writing things down has been the most helpful for me as well as being more specific, but I need to work in this area as well.

Angela said...

Thanks for the inspiration. This came in handy as I sat down to think about what I want to accomplish with my writing in 2015.
Happy New Year...blessings to you in your writing.