Lose a few pounds. Quit a bad habit. Get organized. You name it. You’ve vowed it at the beginning of a new year. Perhaps you have been successful with your resolutions. In that case, you need a fresh crop of goals to tackle. If you have fallen short, perhaps your target was too general, too specific, or out of your control. Either way, let’s resolve this year to make an awesome, attainable goal that reflects your love of words and language. Here are five worthwhile resolutions for writers that might make this year the best one yet.
1. Write that thing.
You know what it is: the biography of your Great Aunt Sally, the cookbook of decadent vegan recipes, the poem that expresses all the love you feel for miniature horses. For each person, the dream project is different. Most people have something they fantasize about writing. Obstacles—the perceived lack of time, talent, or resources—might make the goal seem too difficult. This year, identify those barriers. Devise a plan to overcome these challenges or resolve to carry on despite them. Within the year, you can complete or at least make significant progress toward your dream objective.
2. Go on location.
You always hear about authors working in a foreign land, an isolated cabin in the woods, or even just a local cafe. It’s time to take it up a notch. If you write about real or fictional characters, this year make it your aim to walk in their shoes. Go to where they live. See the sights; smell the aromas; listen to the noises. Try to experience life as they would. If you are writing nonfiction, you can still visit key locations. For example, if you are writing a book on diamond mines, take a field trip to visit one. If possible, arrange to do the work of a miner for a day. Follow the journey of a diamond from the mine to the jewelry store to the finger of a future bride. Your writing is guaranteed to be more meaningful if you enrich your perspective.
3. Read a book that changed the course of history.
The Bible holds the Guinness World record as the best-selling book of all time, at over 5 billion copies. The Little Prince, a French literary work by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, is available in 253 languages. Other books have changed the course of individual lives. How many of these literary giants have you read from cover to cover? Consult a book list, find out the favorite book of your role model, or ask your family and friends to recommend books that impacted their ideas and actions. By selecting your next read carefully, you can open up a new world of possibilities for the coming year.
4. Learn a different language.
How each culture expresses ideas is intrinsically linked to the language. You will find it a refreshing challenge to learn the nuances of foreign phrases. What language grabs your fancy?
5. Do an in-depth study of your writing.
Gather materials as far back in your writing history as possible. From preschool scribbles to college essays, each thing that you write reveals a little about your personality and personal growth. You may notice trends of repeated errors. You may see multiple instances of commendation on the same skill. If you consistently make the same mistakes, research how you can correct them or consult a writing coach. If you find that you excel in a particular area, explore how you can build upon your talent in your next writing task.
One of the best ways to ensure that you accomplish a goal is to visualize the results of your success. How will you feel this time next year if you can converse in another language? What opportunities will speaking another language open up for you? Think about how you will feel if you finally complete a writing project that has occupied your imagination for years. Consider how much your writing will improve if you analyze your previous writing successes and failures. Why not take a moment now and set a goal for the new year?