Writing resolutions: yes or no?

We’re two days into the new year. We’ve all seen the memes–walk quietly, don’t claim this will be your year, don’t tempt fate, it can always get worse, etc. We thought 2021 would be better than 2020, and we were disappointed. So.

We’ve also all seen the range of social media posts about resolutions–why they are helpful, and why they are terrible, and the folks in the comment sections are really feeling some feelings. So.

Where do you fall? Are you making any resolutions this year, particularly for your writing or reading or research?

A while back, a friend of mine said she doesn’t call them “resolutions,” because she thinks there is a succeed/fail dichotomy inherent in the term. A resolution is a promise, and you either keep a promise or you don’t. Instead, she sets New Year “goals,” which are a little more malleable. You work toward goals, you make progress toward goals, and goals are adjustable. The “reaching for” is the whole point. I love that, and though I also use the word “resolutions,” I think of them as goals–as long as I make progress, I have nothing to beat myself up over at the end of the year.

This year, some of those goals are vague, and some are more specific. I want to write more, and I want to work on getting 100 rejections (and so submitting my butt off). Credit for that last idea goes to Kim Liao at LitHub. I also want to finish my story collection and start sending it off to whole-manuscript contests and publishing houses that don’t require an agent (I’ve heard from other writers that it’s an extraordinary feat to get an agent with a story collection; my energy is likely better spent elsewhere). I’m signed up for an awesome class in February (Feminist Horror with Lindsay Merbaum), and in June, I’m taking myself on a five-day writing retreat at a cottage near a lake. I want to read at least one book each month and lift up other writers whenever possible. I also want to post to each of my blogs twice per month, with one of those being an author interview or guest post. And I’ll keep tracking my submissions, fees, and responses, so I can compare 2022’s numbers to those of 2021.

I know now that I will reach some of those and not reach others. But that’s fine. I’ll be reaching all year.

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