The New Year’s Writing Resolution You Can Actually Keep

The title is right on. We believe that this article does indeed tell us how to keep a resolution to write. But…is writing all by itself enough? Or should we be working at writing with an added adverb like “well,” or “effectively?” Oh, wait, that’s the second step, we get it. The first step, which we definitely agree with, is to just plain: WRITE!!!

Old School Roomby Sonia Simone

It’s that time of year again. Time for resolutions, and for all of the skeptics and killjoys who say that resolutions never work.

They certainly can work, but you need to approach them the right way.

Most people fail at resolutions (at any time of year) for two reasons. The first is that they focus on outcomes (“lose 50 pounds”) rather than behaviors. The second is that they try to put massive changes into place all at once. (“I will work out three hours a day,” even though today I work out 0 minutes a day.)

And if you want to become a better writer, so you can reap all those awesome benefits of being a strategic, authoritative content creator, you’re not going to get there by resolving to “be a better writer” this year. Or by promising yourself you’re going to write for six hours a day, every day.

Here’s a more realistic habit you can develop instead — one that will actually get you where you want to go.

Every day in January, write for 20 minutes.

By every day, I mean every day. Including weekends. Including the Martin Luther King holiday. Including the days that get crazy.

If you’re not in the hospital with two broken arms, write every day. For 20 minutes.

During your 20 minutes, turn off all distractions. Set your phone to Do Not Disturb, or shut off the ringer. Quit your email service. And for heaven’s sake, get rid of all social media. Use a service like Freedom or OmmWriter if you need to.

Some days you might write someplace weird, like in a notebook while you’re waiting for the bus. That’s fine.

Some days you will definitely write embarrassingly awful crap. That’s also fine.

Set a timer for 20 minutes. I like using a meditation timer on my phone (there’s a good free one here) — it’s much less jarring than the usual nasty buzz.

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One thought on “The New Year’s Writing Resolution You Can Actually Keep”

  1. This is great advice. When I write, I normally shut down my browser and twitter app so I have no distractions. Or, at least attempt to. 😉 I’m going to try those apps and the timer. Thanks.

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