Instead of making New Year's resolutions this year, I am making intentions. I've chosen each aspect of my life -- writing, yoga, marriage, parenting, my emotional health, and my physical health -- and created an intention for making it better over the next 12 months.
I'm pretty good at keeping my New Year's resolutions. The secret is this: I try to be realistic. I don't want to be skinny; skinny is not me. It's never been me. Even as a teenager with the metabolism of a hummingbird, I've never been skinny. But, I can make the intention to get off my butt and exercise more, starting slowly and working my way up to a regular daily workout. And yoga: I'd love to be able to do a headstand but I doubt that's ever going to happen. What I can do is make the intention to do a fuller practice once a week rather than my daily 10-minute back stretches.
When it comes to writing I am also trying to be realistic in my intentions. It took me two years to write my first novel. That is unacceptable for my second novel. I'll never get anything accomplished if it always takes me two years to write 85,000 words. However, I can make the intention to create a more thorough outline first so I can be more efficient with the little writing time I have, especially now that we've cut out one of the baby's daycare days from our weekly budget.
Knowing my limits means not resolving to write three books this year. That's setting myself up for failure. Instead, my writing intention for 2013 is to finish a first draft of my second novel, finish a full first revision, and write two additional short stories. That, I think, is realistic enough to accomplish while also giving me something to truly work towards and challenge myself with.
Do any other writers make writing resolutions, or intentions?