As a freelance writer/editor working from home, it came as a surprise when I realized recently that I haven’t been focusing on my personal writing as much as I’d like.
After all, why wouldn’t I be getting tons of personal writing done? Since making the switch to full-time freelancing, I have no commute. Less driving time means more hours in the day to dedicate to writing, right? I’ve also finetuned my writing process for my freelance projects so that writing thousands of words a day isn’t nearly as difficult as it once was.
With more skills and more free time, shouldn’t I have several novels in the bag by now?
The end of the year, of course, is a natural time for reflection. The calendar will switch over to 2022 in just over a week, and like most people, I’m over here wondering where I stand now in my pursuit of fulfillment and where I hope to be by the end of next year.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to become less goal-oriented and more habit-oriented. What do I mean by that? To be cliché about it, I’m acknowledging the fact that the joy is in the journey rather than the destination, at least for me. Of course, accomplishing a goal feels amazing, but sometimes the achievements I define as goals can feel “one-off.”
Once I’ve met a goal (like finishing a story, exercising a certain number of days each week, etc.), it’s not unusual for me to immediately feel like I need to be working towards “something” once again. Instead, I’m now working on being content with my day-to-day routine (habits). In other words, I want to feel satisfied with how I spend my time throughout the day, and ultimately, my life.
This year, I’m hoping to actively spend more time on my own creative writing each day. While this focus could be considered a “goal” in a sense, my aim is less about meeting a specific target and more about seeing how this dedicated writing time can ultimately support a fulfilled life. So instead of thinking, “I plan to finish my cozy mystery this year,” I am thinking more along the lines of “I plan to dedicate more time to writing my cozy mystery.”
One trick I’ve found to be especially helpful with focusing on creative writing is to schedule my writing time before I get too tired. I’m also working on not pushing my personal writing off until the last minute of the day when all I want to do is hit the bed. Listing my creative writing time in my planner as a task reminds me of its importance, and like any other task, I can choose to do it in the morning or the early afternoon.
Another step I’ve taken is repeating an affirmation that I dedicate time to my creative writing. I’ve been reviewing this statement (and others) for the past week with the Gratitude Journal Affirmations app. (If you think affirmations are kind of cheesy, I’ve found it can be helpful to think of them more like a chant or a prayer.)
I’m excited to see what 2022 has in store for the writing world. Hope all you writers out there give yourselves a pat on the back for the hard work you’ve done this year and start the New Year off with lots of words on the horizon!
What writing changes do you hope the New Year brings? Or is there some element of your writing life that you hope continues into 2022? Let me know in the comments!