The advent of a new year tends to bring a whole bunch of best intentions along with it. Lots of writers like to spend a little time thinking about resolutions, revamped goals, refreshed ambitions and so on. All of those things can be great, but what do you do when all this talk of making a fresh start makes you feel anxious rather than enthused? Here are a few tips for keeping those resolutions manageable.
Set your own timelines
Unless you're heading for a specific publishing or competition deadline, there's really no need to get too hung up on specifics. A new year might be just what you need to give yourself a pickup, but it's also just a date on a calendar. Maybe the start of February is the time to get stuck into a new project. Maybe you need the start of spring to get that bounce back in your step. Don't set unrealistic timelines just because you're surrounded by people making big January plans.
Work to your own rhythm
The thing about writing advice is that none of it works for everyone. Some people need to write a little bit each day. Other people work best in concentrated blocks. Some people mix and match between the two, depending on the project. All ways are fine. The two biggest stumbling blocks are trying to make yourself follow a rhythm that doesn't suit you, or never getting started at all. Instead of worrying about whether you're writing enough, spend a little while thinking about the times writing has gone well for you – what method worked then? Can you encourage that again?
Finds ways to nourish your creative side
A huge part of writing isn't the actual getting the words down (although don't get me wrong, that has to happen too!), it's also the thinking and feeling a story out. Sometimes, it can be too easy to focus on wordcounts and projects plans and not leave enough space for the important hunting and gathering stage. Watch movies, listen to music, visit galleries, read books you enjoy, chat with friends and most of all stay open to inspiration – you never know where it might find you.
Find support from other writers
Not everyone understands the ins and outs of the writing life. Why should they? They have their own sets of passions and concerns and hobbies to think about. So when you need a little bit of pep in your step, it's great to get that support from other people who're in the same boat. Check out writing groups in Scotland or find out how to set up your own. Share your plans and your worries and you're sure to find you're not the only one having the exact same sort of thoughts and worries.
Last of all, remember that it's your writing and your year – make all the resolutions you want, just don't beat yourself up if they can't all come to pass.