This semester, I’ll be attending twenty-three hours of class each week, working a 7-13 hours at my job, and I’ll also be filming five episodes of my webseries on weekends throughout the next three months. Oh, and I also am required to finish a feature length script for class.
Now while I appreciate catchin’ them Zzzz’s, this busy lifestyle is basically how I roll. If I’m not chugging black coffee at 2am and banging out twenty pages of my script after finishing all my other homework, my life is incomplete.
Which brings me to the importance of setting writing resolutions.
It’s far too easy to lose your shining writerly aspirations in the whirlwind inferno of daily life if you don’t have “WRITE A HOMELAND SPEC IN 2014!” sticky-noted all over your desk/room/forehead.
So here’s how to maintain your writing momentum in the New Year without going insane or overdosing on caffeine:
1. Know your end goal. When I was in the sixth grade, I stuck pencils in my hair for career day and proclaimed that I wanted to be a writer to all who would listen. Not much has changed since then, except for my utensil of choice is now a pen. I still want to be a writer, but now I know what kind. I want to be a showrunner of a dramatic television show. Could this goal change? Possibly. But right now, I’m creating all my writing resolutions to get me closer to my end-game goal.
2. Map out steps to your end goal. What should you be doing now to get to your goal? A year from now? Five? Ten? Knowing in general what your resolutions need to be next year gives you motivation to achieve what you need to do this year.
3. Keep your resolutions manageable. I’m very tempted to add a whole list of projects to my resolution list, but I know I need to focus. Alas, “taking over the world” didn’t make it onto the list this year. Now, since my resolution list stretches into six giant tasks, it may appear that I’m doing too much. First, you underestimate the power of my coffeemaker. Secondly, I’ve already made progress on four of the items on my list, since they’re ongoing projects that all happen to have a 2014 deadline. But seriously– if you overextend your goals list (and I have), it feels awful when you are unable to accomplish goals you didn’t even have a chance of accomplishing in the past.
4. Give your projects deadlines. I’m not talking about the fluffy “I’ll finish this by the end of the calendar year” deadline. Because when December 31st rolls around you will have an impressive amount of procrastinating accomplished, but not much writing. For me, my webseries already has a set launch date of May, so there’s no going back on that. My horror spec is for a class, so it must be done by May, no exceptions. Summer is for my novel, and I have to finish it by August so I can begin to query.
5. Find people to hold you accountable. In my case, I’ve got an entire creative team expecting this webseries to move forward at the pace it needs to. Ask your friends to ask for a draft to read at a certain point, and promise to swap scripts with someone so that you have someone waiting on you to finish your draft.
6. Understand the WHY behind each resolution. This is critical to getting ANYTHING done. Why are you going to stay home on a Saturday night making fictional characters talk to each other instead of going out with real friends? Why are you going to work hard to accomplish this goal instead of just chillin’ out and watching episodes of Sherlock on repeat for the rest of your life?
Anyways, if you’re interested, here are my writing resolutions for 2014:
- Rewrite, film and launch the first season of the webseries I wrote, Antidote 15
- Complete the final draft of my contained horror spec
- Complete a final draft of a Homeland spec
- Write another hour-long dramatic TV pilot
- Write two short films for an upcoming contest
- Complete a final draft of the novel I’ve been rewriting for the past seven months
Sleep? Who needs it?
Good luck in 2014 everybody.