Forget Keeping Resolutions: Keep a Schedule

Posted by on Jan 8, 2014 in Blog, Fresh Ink | Comments Off

As the month of January starts up, many of us make New Year’s resolutions.  These promises to ourselves are a yearly tradition.  And one of the reasons they are annual is because most resolutions are not followed through on and abandoned before the month is up.  I say it is time to throw in the towel and give up on our resolutions!

Now perhaps you are one of those rare people who makes resolutions and sticks with them, but statistics tell us that most people are now struggling to keep up with those annual promises to write more, eat less, exercise more, and clean house–or whatever it was you wanted to improve in your life.  Most resolutions are promises that are never fulfilled.

It may sound drastic, but resolutions are a losing game.  Let’s give them up and try a different approach.

THE SOLUTION

Perhaps the solution is to admit that resolutions don’t work.  Don’t make any, and if you did make them, swear off of them right now.

Instead, make a schedule.

That’s right, sit down with your calendar or pull up your electronic schedule keeper of choice and make a commitment to whatever thing you wanted to improve.  Since you are here at San Diego Writers, Ink, I’m going to guess you are one of the many who wanted to get some writing started/finished/improved/worked on.

If that is the case, find a time in your schedule when you can regularly write.  If you can find one hour a day that you can block out for writing, do it now (or a half hour, or even 15 minutes if that is all you can spare, but do it!).  My phone alarm rings 6 days a week at 7:30am.  That’s my writing hour (occasionally less than that, if something is going on, but I try to get in at least an hour).  It was the only time I thought likely to be able to keep for myself, uninterrupted.  And it helped, more than I ever thought possible.  Just the act of having a schedule, and sticking to it, made a huge difference.  I completed a first draft of a novel in seven weeks with this schedule, after struggling with it for years and not getting any writing finished.

SDWI’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE CAUSE

Another way to schedule your writing, and give you an incentive to keep going, is to participate in one of our classes or workshops, or make your scheduled time one of our Room to Write sessions.

If you know that every week for 8 weeks, you will be attending a Novel Writing class, you are already committed to your writing.  And you will have structure and encouragement to continue.

My one-hour schedule of daily writing came about because I was attending a weekly course with Judy Reeves, one of SDWI’s popular instructors.  I reported in to my fellow students weekly about my progress, making me feel obligated to continue the commitment I made to myself.

If you can find a course (or two) on our schedule and commit to it, and supplement that time with a regular schedule where you write for at least a short time, you will make huge strides in the very thing you made a resolution to work on  back on Jan 1.

Let’s all give up on resolutions, but that doesn’t mean we have to give up on our goals.  There are better ways to get writing done than simply making a promise to ourselves “to be better, this year.”  Instead, make a commitment, make a schedule, make a date for yourself, and choose a class.  You’ll be glad you did.

 

Blog post by Kim Keeline

Kim Keeline, staff member at SDWI, is also holding a workshop on brainstorming and breaking through writing blocks on Saturday, January 11.  If you have been stuck in your writing, come learn tricks she has used to break through.  This hands-on workshop will give you tools to get past your writing problems and generate draft content to help you reach your goals.  This is an expanded version of the class which ran during the Fall for Writing conference and contains new material and tools.