HELLO JANUARY! It’s as good a time as any to take a little look at your writing life and slip in some changes to help you move a step closer to your dreams.
But here’s a disclaimer: ‘New Year, New You’ posts don’t work for everyone. Some people like that fresh start and the new-notebook vibe but if you find it’s too much pressure on January to bring all the magic, then feel free to do this review on whatever date feels good to you. Confession: I do it randomly.
Here’s what I ask myself:
What didn’t work so well? What do you want to let go of?
Throw it all in here. Burning out. Falling into the comparison trap (we’ve all been there). Doomscrolling on social media (GULP). Setting faraway goals that only make you feel like you’re failing. The specifics too – like negative comments that have stuck in your head or beliefs about yourself that are holding you back. Write them down. Now burn that paper or rip it to shreds. Choose to let that stuff go.
What has been working well for you?
Make a note to do more of it. Got any little rituals you’ve tried and tested? A fixed time of day where your brain drops right into the writing zone? A critique group you’ve found you can lean on? Motivational hacks like micro-goal charts with stickers? This is an exercise in getting to know yourself as a writer because we’re all so different. For instance, not writing for set periods has worked amazingly for me but others love the self-discipline of ‘showing up’ every single day.
What are you proud of?
Go wild here. List every little writerly thing and maybe some non-writerly things too. And yes, making it through 2021 absolutely counts. So do kind words. Write them out. Keep this list somewhere safe so you can look back at it when you need to. Did you celebrate all these things? Make time to do it now. Every little thing. Let’s make it a practice for 2022.
What are your wishes and dreams going forward? What do you want to make space for?
Set your intention but with flexibility because Life happens. Try specific, time-capped micro-goals. Focus on things in your control (e.g. ‘writing 5 polished picture books and submitting them to an agent’ instead of ‘getting an agent’ but again, break it down into baby steps). And create space for restful and restorative activities. I can say this as I’m 100% guilty of not doing this up until now. Maybe your goals are less about doing and more about being gentle with yourself. Again, write it all down.
You get the picture. It’s a review process. A delicate adjustment. For me, it’s about looking back, letting go of what isn’t working for me, keeping what does, feeling proud of the good things, setting my intention going forward, and then offering it all up to the universe. Try it. Or try some of it.
As with all writerly tips, take what you like and drop the stuff you don’t. But I hope you find some little thing in here that resonates, something that makes a difference, however small.
Happy New Year!
Want to learn more from Rashmi?
Rashmi is 2022 Picture Book Writer-in-Residence for the Hub, WriteMentor’s community learning platform that connects like-minded storytellers and provides all the tools they need for writing success.
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