How To Set Exciting Writing Goals for Next Year — And Actually Meet Them, This Time!

This time next year, you could be staring at a list of achievements that are directly related to the goals that matter to you…

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The Allure of the Fresh Start

I love the idea of a fresh start, don’t you?

It doesn’t matter when it happens (New Year, the first day of spring, the start of a new academic year), I’m always ready with my list of “this time it’ll be different” resolutions.

  • This time I’ll get my assignments done ahead of time!
  • This time I’ll write every day, even if I don’t feel inspired!
  • This time I’ll floss three times a day!

    And What Happens Next?

    You know what I’m going to say, don’t you?

    I’m excited to follow through on my plans for about three days.

    Then I start to force myself to stick to the new regime.

    Then I start to miss a day here or there…

    …and suddenly it’s June and I’m flipping through my journal and I find that massive, guilt-inducing list of Things I’m Going To Do Differently This Year, and my shoulders slump, and I spend the next three weeks in a slump, wondering why I can’t get anything done.

    Sound familiar?

Continue reading “How To Set Exciting Writing Goals for Next Year — And Actually Meet Them, This Time!”

[Writing Prompt] It’s Time For Holiday Stories

It’s Write On Wednesday Day! (That’s really clumsy. I’m going to have to never do that again!)

Thanksgiving dinner decor
Photo by Karin Dalziel


The Nov/Dec/Jan holiday season is fast approaching. I know you don’t want to think about it, but if you’re interested in putting out a short story for the holidays, this is actually kind of last minute.

Publications have long lead times for date-specific stories, so if your holiday stories aren’t already written, now’s the time. Magazines and online pubs LOVE themed stories (Christmas stories; New Year issues; Thanksgiving horror stories!).

Or perhaps you’d like to create a story for friends and family to say thanks for all their support (or: na-na-na-na-na-na-you-see-I-wasnt-lying-around-watching-daytime-TV-all-year).

The Prompt

Write a story tied to a Nov/Dec/Jan holiday

Tips

  • You can use this to flesh out characters from a longer work in progress.
  • You can include characters from your real life.
  • You can use this as a calling card/thank you note/Christmas letter if you send holiday greetings cards
  • Mine your own memories, but don’t feel you have to write memoir. Take an incident from one of your family holidays and recast it on a steampunk airship or a city made of living bone towers or at the Tudor court.
  • Don’t feel it has to be a narrative story. One of the delights of the short story form is that it can be much more than that. Consider writing a list of holiday gifts your character has to buy, complete with passive-aggressive commentary; or a series of increasingly frantic tweets from the Thanksgiving dinner table…
  • Create a compelling character and set them in a ridiculous situation, or a ridiculous character and put them in a banal situation.

Have fun with this. Amuse yourself. Remember, nobody ever has to see this story, so you can be as cruel or as kind as you like!

[Write on Wednesday] Seasonal Six Sentences

Last week I talked about the benefits of writing seasonal stories and yesterday I highlighted a seasonal story over at Six Sentences. Today I’m combining the two, for today’s prompt:

The Prompt

Write A January Story In Six Sentences

Tips

Your story should have something to do with “January”.
It might be set in the month, have something to do with the Roman god Janus (after whom the month was named), or feature a character named January.
Don’t forget that your experience of January is different from that of many others. (hint: even the weather is different in the other hemisphere.)

[Writing Prompt] Beginnings

The Prompt

Write A Story In Which Something Is Beginning

(I know it’s what you’re thinking about! It’s January  2, for goodness sake!)

The Prompt

Write A Story In Which Something Is Beginning

Tips

  • This can be a New Year story if you want, but it doesn’t have to be.
  • Your character can be beginning something, or the story can chart some THING beginning
  • Don’t concentrate so much on the beginning that you forget about the middle and the end (this story still needs them)

The Rules:

1. You should use the prompt in your story.

2. You must write the story in one 24 hr period – the faster the better.

3. Post the story in the comments — if you’re brave enough.

4. Find something nice to say about someone else’s story and leave a comment. Everybody needs a little support!

Optional Extras:

Share this challenge on Twitter or Facebook

Some tweets/updates you might use:

This week’s #WriteOnWed short story prompt is about beginnings #storyaday http://storyaday.org/wow-beginnings

Come and write with us! #WriteOnWed #storyaday http://storyaday.org/wow-beginnings

See my story – and write your own, today: beginnings! #WriteOnWed #storyaday http://storyaday.org/wow-beginnings

Don’t miss my “Beginnings” story #WriteOnWed #storyaday http://storyaday.org/wow-beginnings

[Tuesday Reading Room] After The Reign of Jimmy Carter by James Thrasher

For New Year over at Six Sentences they’ve posted a New Year themed story.

It doesn’t tackle a particularly novel topic (a New Year’s story about resolutions? Shock!), and it’s not very long (six sentences!) and yet it manages to say a lot and stay fresh.

It’s a great example of how restrictions in length, topic or form, can help transform your writing.