The New Year is upon us, just like that.
Many people I've spoken to recently say 2023 was one of the worst they can recall for several reasons: the climate (floods and destruction), the cost of living (high), wars in the world, the constant COVID resurgences ... and they're glad to see the back of it. At times 2023 seemed like a year without end, piling more and more upon us and now, all of a sudden, here we are in 2024.
The New Year means summer holidays for us in the southern hemisphere, a time for relaxing, catching up with family and friends, and enjoying the beautiful places New Zealand offers. It's also when we make our resolutions, and I am going forward with a simple hope that 'this year will be better'. I'm setting some goals for my writing too because I know having a creative outlet can help me navigate the tough times.
Over time I've come to understand that the goals I set myself have to be achieveable and specific. For example, in 2024 I will keep up my journal writing, a lifeline that has gotten me through some stormy waters, and the 2024 goal is to write it every day. 2023 saw me sitting down with my pen and notebook whenever I could and whilst much of that was due to 'life getting in the way', as they say, I didn't serve my journal well and so it didn't serve me well either. 2024 is an every day sit-down with my journal, at least 15 minutes a day, more if I can. 15 minutes and every day does feel achievable. I will also start on a couple of short story ideas I've had knocking around for a while and will do this during my regular writing hours (weekday mornings, between 8am and noon).
Perhaps your goal is to write a book. Get specific. What is your book is about? Do you have a story to tell? If so, how are you going to tell it? Sort out the nuts and bolts. What writing schedule can you manage: will you write every day, every other day, once a week, what time of day? Where will you write: at the kitchen table, in the bath tub? How will you write: pen and paper, desktop computer, laptop? Do you think you may need help to write your book: what kind of help, who will help you and how?
Ah! Enough questions to totally put you off! But don't be.
Hang in there. Set a realistic goal and make it one you can achieve.
There are few greater moments than seeing your writing reach its conclusion: a book you can hold in your hands, a story on a website, an e-book on Amazon. Glory, unfortunately, doesn't often drop from the heavens for writers - we work hard for it and in that effort comes true reward.
You can do it. Make 2024 your writing year.