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  • Stuart Wakefield

7 Things To Do Now To Prepare For Next Year's Writing

Updated: Dec 22, 2022


Did you dilly-dally during 2022 and not get your book planned or started or finished?


Will you dilly-dally during 2023 and not get your book planned or started or finished?


Not on my watch!


If you're going to make 2023 the bee's knees, then don't wait for the new year. Pencil in some 'me-time' this month to give yourself the upper hand.


If you launch into 2023 with a burst of energy, you'll be light years ahead, heading into January with a sharp eye, a precise plan, and pure grit!


Here are seven things to do before New Year's Day:

1. Review your year

2022 has plenty of wisdom to share! Before it slips away, take a moment to reflect on your experiences and cherish the moments that will stick with you for the years to come. And don't be afraid to look at what slipped, why it slipped, and what you can do to stop that happening again.


For me, I'd hoped to finish my novel, Spirit of Water. I've been trying to finish that bad boy for 10 years. 10!


Yeah, I relaunched my coaching business, started a part-time, freelancing position with Author Accelerator, wrote a novelette, Out in the Cold, compiled and published my writing group's first anthology, and three episodes of a new comedy TV show, but not finishing that novel is bugging me.


And why did that happen? Because on my daily list of things to do, my writing came last.


2. Get clear on what’s most important

Cramming your day with a hundred and one tiny tasks won't suddenly make you the person you want to be. But if you get clear on your core values, it's like getting a mystical guiding light to show you the path towards your top priorities. So define what matters most to you, and then follow the energetic breadcrumbs to get where you're going.


On my daily list of things to do, my writing will come first, closely followed by my coaching work.


3. Set a context for 2023

Pinpoint the things you'd like to achieve.


Define a word for the year that will grant you permission to say YIPEE to the stuff that resonates with you and BOO to the stuff that doesn't jive.


My 2023 word is "accomplished". I want to accomplish these goals:

  • Secure a spot on a Creative Writing PhD course.

  • Publish Spirit of Water.

  • Author Accelerator certification as a nonfiction book coach (stretch goal because it depends on my practicum client).

  • Publish the next novel in my Bacchus Chronicles series.


4. Review your habits

James Clear says, “you get what you repeat”.


Are your habits helpful or hurtful? Could you benefit from incorporating some new tricks into your lifestyle to guarantee your success? Be sincere with the behaviours you take on autopilot and determine if it's time to roll out some modifications.


I've had a rough few months. One of our dogs put up a brave battle with cancer but passed away on December 10th. There's never a good time for a pet to pass away, but both my husband and I were suffering with the most awful chest infections. Since then I haven't bothered setting my 7 A.M alarm... and now my days are all over the place. As of tomorrow, I'll be setting that 7 A.M. alarm and getting some structure back into my days. I deserve to end my working days feel with a completed "To Feel" list.


Which bring us to...


5. Make a "To Feel" list

Achievements are great for injecting some purpose into your life. But what sort of person do you want to be and how do you want to feel? A "To Feel" is a sensational journalling technique that can help you explore a more intentional life experience.


I learned about "To Feel" list from my bestie. She says that we'll die with an unfinished "To Do" list, so why not concentrate on doing the things that contribute to how we want to feel?


In the words of Oscar Wilde, “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist.”


Build a "To Feel" list, and you'll find it simpler to experience 'the rarest thing in the world'.


On my daily list of things to feel, 'feel like a writer' will come first. I'll want to write if I want to feel like a writer.


6. Create your support structure

Jim Rohn famously said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Who will surround you in 2023 and help you thrive?


For example:

  • Is it time to join a writing group? I didn't have any local writing groups, so I started two writing groups from my National Novel Writing Month cohorts, first in Essex and now in Hertfordshire. Each month, we make commitments where we'll be by the next meeting and during every meeting at least one of us says, "And I wouldn't have done it without you lot".

  • Would you go further with an accountability buddy or mentor? Having someone out there who's expecting pages from you is a huge motivator.

  • Do you want to find more online groups where ‘your people’ hang out? My writing group is online, and it's just as social as it is productive. Plus, you don't have to haul your cookies out of the house for the meetings.

  • Does your friendship group nourish and support you? If they don't, consider that writing group, accountability buddy or mentor—they understand the writing life.

  • Does your family nourish and support you? See above!


7. Set a three-month goal

Goals provide you with a beacon of light, guiding your every move. Accomplishing things that matter most to you gives you a sense of grandeur - as if you were a master builder of your own destiny. So don't simply set goals, but craft them. This way, you can ensure that your dreams and aspirations are well within reach.


I've ordered a copy of The 12 Week Year for Writers: A Comprehensive Guide to Getting Your Writing Done (affiliate link) by A. Trevor Thrall because I want to feel accomplished by hitting the deadlines for my goals. This year, I've proved to TV producers—and myself—that I can rewrite an entire episode in 24 hours. Imagine what I can do with the novel I've been putting off for 10 years!


If you think mentoring might be a good option for you, check out my monthly mentoring service.


What fresh adventures await you in 2023? Here’s to making the coming year one for the books. YOUR books!

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