My 2011 Goals & Better Writing Habits

It’s 2011 and I can’t remember ever being so excited about the start of a new year. Last night, at midnight, I kissed my husband and my daughter and then I sat down at my computer on the edge of my seat and waited for the new year to start off with a bang. About an hour later, after checking my Twitter and Facebook incessantly hoping the world was excited with me, I realized it might be more prudent to be excited at a better hour.

So here I am, excited in the evening and ready to share my goals for the year.

This year, I want to learn to be a better writer by being a better editor. Ideally, the writing course I take will be on editing to help me rewrite my first novel to the best of my ability. I’m really excited about it!

I also want to get myself out there more. I’ve been in my little bubble for a while now and I think if I’m going to take the next step in my writing, it’s time to start getting feedback and connecting with other writers. I’ll be doing more with my blog here, adding fictional blogs and hopefully upping the traffic, as well as commenting more on others’ blogs and, as my goal states, blogging elsewhere as well. If you’re interested in having me guest post on your blog, please contact me to help me reach my goal!

I feel so good about my goals and I’m ready to dive right into them!

If you ever want to check on my progress, visit my Projects page.

Speaking of diving right in, I’ve had my eye on a new project Jennifer Blanchard and Suzannah Windsor Freeman have been tempting the writing/blogging (someone needs to come up with a clever way to combine those) world with. You may have seen my Retweets on the topic. I’ve been a long time follower of Procrastinating Writers (Jennifer’s blog) and more recently Write It Sideways (Suzannah’s blog) so of course I was intrigued when they teamed up in an attempt to help writers create better writing habits. I know I can always use better writing habits. Here’s what the project is about, directly from the website:

The 31-Day Better Writing Habits Challenge is dedicated to writers everywhere who wish to make 2011 their very best writing year yet.

Jennifer Blanchard of Procrastinating Writers and Suzannah Windsor Freeman of Write It Sideways bring you 31 days worth of challenges to help you banish poor writing habits and replace them with the kind of habits that can help you achieve your writing goals this year.

Last night (at midnight, while I was * patiently* scouring the internet for something productive to do) they finally opened the website to the world and announced the first project. I plan to follow along (did someone say challenge?) and blog about my exploits here. If you want to make over your writing in 31 days, I “challenge” you to visit the website at BetterWritingHabits.com and join me. Write your responses down in a notebook, shout them from the rooftops or blog about them and post the link below. I’d be happy to encourage you along the way.

Their first challenge (starting on the first day, weekend or not!) is titled, Say Goodbye to Your Worst Writing Habits of 2010. The challenge: Identify your worst writing habit to be overcome, and devise a game plan stating exactly what you will do to break that habit in 2011.

My worst habit: Waiting for the circumstances to be perfect.

I know, you’re laughing at the word “perfect”. There are no perfect circumstances. I know this but it doesn’t stop me from trying. I want to have the house clean, the laundry started, the dishes loaded, at least some of my work complete, the baby down for a nap, the husband out of the house, Twitter, Facebook and email checked, blogs read, blogs written, etc., etc., etc. I also only like to sit down if I know I’ll have at least 30 minutes of dedicated writing time, otherwise I think, what’s the point? How I do all those things before I even touch my WIP and still manage to get any writing done at all is a mystery to me but I know if I could get past that, I could accomplish much more. Baby Girl is getting to an age where even 30 minutes of dedicated writing time will be a miracle so I need to take 10 minutes wherever I can get it.

My game plan:

  • Take 10 minutes wherever I can get it. If there’s anything National Novel Writing Month taught me this year, it’s that I can get a surprising amount written in 10 minutes. Do that a few times each day and I can bump up my daily word count by at least 500 words.
  • Bribe the baby. She’s at the age where she wants to get into everything and nap time is torture. Toys that entertain her for longer than five minutes will be my writing expense for the year.
  • Schedule word sprints. If I’m letting go of my control over the circumstances, I might as well drop whatever I’m doing at scheduled times during the day and slam out 10 minutes worth of writing. Of course I’ll still take advantage of my 30 minutes and even hours if I get them and I might not always keep up the 10 minute schedule but if I do it long enough to break my “perfect” habit, I’ll call that a success.

Want to help? Hunt me down on Twitter throughout the day and challenge me to a 10 minute word sprint. It might even help you with your writing habits!

I’m holding up my chai latte to cheer you and your writing goals on in 2011! I hope that together we can accomplish everything we set out to do.

I am an author and a writing business teacher. I am also a mother of two, a wife, a businesswoman, a nature-lover, and a wannabe yogi. My debut women's fiction novel, PERFECTLY UNDONE, will be released on October 3, 2017. Here, I blog about my journey in publication in the hopes of inspiring others to follow their own dreams.

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Comments (8)

  1. Jamie, I love your goals, and I have the same bad writing habit you do. I tell myself I can only write in the mornings because that’s when I write best. Then, when I sleep in, I have a ready-made excuse for not writing after work. “What? Can’t write after work. Only possible in the mornings.” I know it’s crap, but I do it anyway.

    I’m looking forward to encouraging you toward your goals this year!

  2. Great goals! I’ll do a quick writing goal list too:

    1. Write write write…Enough with the long breaks.
    2. Start a blog/website.
    3. Finish all current projects…There are a lot, but they’re all short stories and definitely doable.
    4. Have YOU be a guest writer on my site!
    5. Take a writing course.
    6. Participate in NaNoWriMo. πŸ™‚
    7. Read more books. I think it’s good to stay in the writer/stories mentality even if I’m going through writer’s block.
    8. Grow my Internet presence as a writer.

    Woo! *wipes forehead* Is that a good list or what? πŸ™‚

    1. You have no idea how excited I am about your goals! It’s so great to see you writing again. And the fact that one of your goals helps me reach one of my goals…well, that’s icing on the cake. I am all kinds of cheering you on!

      1. I’m officially back *right now*. I’ve been toying around with a few ideas the past few days and I think it’s time to jump in. My goal is to write SOMETHING every day. Even if it’s one paragraph. When I take a day off, it easily turns into 2, then a week, then a month. I really want to avoid that.

  3. Very good writing goals. I’m impressed. I’ll be here cheering you on!

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