Resolution Hangover: Making Your New Writing Habits Stick

Stop trying to make me drink this, every health food advisor ever. It’s not going to happen.

January is winding to a close with its traditional “start with fireworks, end with a cold so deep that you wish you were dead” progression. And with the end of the month comes one thing: the end of resolutions. Empty treadmills at the gym, unused bundles of kale sitting next to a dust-covered blender, desk chairs unwarmed by the buttocks of wannabe writers who swore that this year, the year of our internet overlord 2015, was the year they were going to really start to write.

I’d say it’s sad, but it’s not, really. If someone doesn’t have the minerals to stick with it for a month, then they clearly don’t want to write. They want to have written. And god help the editor who may one day have to deal with their meandering mess of a manuscript.

Resolutions end because the magic of the new year has worn off. Midnight struck, Cinderella, and all the glitter and glamour has gone, leaving only the work behind. This is, as they say in sports, gut check time. Do you have the intestinal fortitude to continue?

Luckily for you, there are ways to prolong the magic just a little. Until you find your own magic in the work, that is. And the sooner you do that, the better.

In the meantime, the following can help you stay on the path of the writer:

1. Make friends with other writers. Find a writing group, reach out online, make Twitter friends, whatever. Find other writers to talk about writing with, and soon the group instinct will take over. You don’t want to be the only one not writing, do you?

2. Worry less about sucking. Just write something that really moves you. Who gives a damn if it’s good at first? You can always edit that shit later. Just work on something that makes you not want to leave the keyboard. Being good comes with practice.

3. Read the right amount of advice. As my father is fond of saying, opinions are like assholes: everyone’s got one and they’re usually full of shit. Stick writing advice in that column as well. Read only what resonates with you. Don’t read the blogs that made you afraid, or make you worry. Pick a couple of good books on writing that work for you, find the occasional blog or online community, and let the rest of the no doubt well-intentioned but often contradictory advice go hang.

Don’t let your resolutions go the way of the kale wilting in thousands of crisper drawers around the continent. Keep at it, and soon it will become your new normal.

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