The following is a guest post by author Katharine Grubb.
I blame the ice and snow. I blame the post-holiday fog that is still lingering in the corner around those Christmas cards I still have hanging on the mantel. I blame the insatiable desire for all things flavored egg nog and peppermint. I think we should collectively rename January and call it “Good Intentions Month” instead.
Will the rest of the year be any different? Will we really make time to pursue our dreams or will we snuggle up with old habits like we do those flannel pajamas we got for Christmas?
I believe, though, that the mid-winter fizzle doesn’t have to come. I believe that with encouragement, practical planning and accountability, any time-crunched (or just downright lazy) writer can find time to meet writing goals for 2018.
Know your specific goals. You can’t develop a good writing habit if you don’t know what you’re trying to accomplish. Come up with a clear goal for the day. Will you write for ten minutes? Will you write a thousand words? Will you get up an hour early every day?
Have a space that’s just yours for writing. If you don’t have a designated space to write, then it will be much harder to commit to your goals. Take some time to clear off a table, restart that old laptop or unpile the desk. If you take your workspace seriously, you’ll be more motivated.
Have an organized, easy to access document. If you only have a few minutes a day to write, you don’t want to waste it looking for that old file from Windows 98. Get everything together either on your computer or on your desk and keep it handy.
Evaluate your time commitments. This could be the most challenging thing you do in this process. Slowly go through all your obligations and evaluate their importance. If you can say no to an obligation you don’t love or need, then you can fill it up with writing time.
Look for time wasters throughout your day. We’re all given the same amount of time a day. We get no more or less. Make sure every moment of your day is useful. You may be surprised at how much extra time you have if you turn off Netflix, combine errands or stop playing Crossy Road.
Delegate your responsibilities. Is it possible that other members of your household can take over a few tasks? Analyze what can be given to spouses, children or teens. By gently instructing them and trusting them in your tasks, you’re giving them value and having them share your vision.
Communicate your needs to your family. Have you expressed a need to the people that you live with that you want time to write? Can you ask for ten minutes here and there? This also brings them into your life and they be your biggest cheerleaders.
Have low expectations and grace for yourself. Your writing goals for 2018 should not be unrealistic and lofty. A NYT best-selling title in the next 365 days isn’t in your future. Instead, think about small, daily changes that can make a difference in your time management.
Learn to work fast. If you only have ten minutes to write and you’re fussy over each word, you’re not going to go far. Practice free writing or sprinting so you have something on the document. This habit will build your productivity and your confidence.
Silence your inner critic. This is probably the hardest thing to do. Let 2018 be the year that you look your inner critic in the eye, call him a dirty name and kick him out the door. You can’t succeed if you have that inner critic giving you trouble.
And most importantly, plan your summer writing conference! 10 Minute Novelists, a Facebook group for time-crunched writers everywhere cordially invites you to join them for their first ever conference. August 9-11, 2018, 10MinCon, Small Things Brought Together, will bring together hundreds of virtual friends and mentors to meet in person while honing their craft. In addition to pursuing their writing goals 10 minutes at a time, many attendees are full-time employees, parents, homeschoolers, and caregivers whose time is already stretched to its limits.
We’re featuring widely-sought award-winning and bestselling authors Donald Mass, Janice Hardy, and James Scott Bell, will be held August 9 -11, 2018 at The Embassy Suites in Covington, Kentucky. Our intention is to bring our online community of hard-working writers together for learning, support, and fun. We want you to make connections, amplify your writing energy, and to add even more tools to your writing tool belt.
It is no small thing to pursue your dreams. 10 Minute Novelists understand this. Join us this next August for a chance to learn and grow with us.
For more information about the conference, including the schedule and registration details, visit www.10mincon.com. For more information about 10 Minute Novelists, visit www.10minutenovelists.com.
So yeah, right now we do have ice, snow, and the temptation to stay warm and not venture out to pursue our goals. But this August, you can change that. Put down your peppermint hot chocolate and think margarita!
The year has just begun! It’s time to grow as a writer. Your dreams are worth it.
Katharine Grubb is a mom of five, homeschooler, baker, comedian wanna be, former running coward, Challenge A Director with Classical Conversations, and independent author. Her biggest joy in life is meeting aspiring novelists with big dreams and showing them how to meet their goals. She founded the Facebook Group 10 Minute Novelists and works with her staff of volunteers to create a vibrant and fun community for writers. She and her family live in Central Massachusetts where they cheer for the Patriots.