Warning: Hacks for Hacks tips may have harmful side effects on your writing career, and should not be used by minors, adults, writers, poets, scribes, scriveners, journalists, or anybody.
New Year’s resolutions are for suckers. The problem with resolutions is that they’re unrealistic, and you have no structure in place to accomplish them. I’m here to fix that. This is NOT a list of resolutions. This is like what success coaches call your five-year plan, except it’s a one-year plan, so it should be a snap. Here’s a roadmap to making 2017 your most satisfying and productive writing year of your life.
- January: Begin the year with hope. Buy yourself a new calendar. The months are open and white like a snowdrift unbesmirched by footprints and dog urine. This is the ideal time to start writing your new novel! Set a reasonable goal and give yourself ninety days for a first draft.
- February: It’s cold. Start wondering how long until spring. Try selling Valentine’s Day copy to greeting-card companies. Send them a snarky card when they tell you they need their ideas six months in advance. Keep trucking on that novel, you’re two-thirds done!
- March: Send out some short stories to magazines. You should’ve been doing this anyway, but this is a friendly reminder to keep you on task. And this is a not-so-friendly reminder that you should be wrapping up your first novel draft, right? RIGHT?!
- April: Set aside the first half of the month to do your taxes for all the books you sold last year. If you didn’t sell many (or any) books, reserve this time for crying softly in the dark. You can spend the second half of the month finishing the novel draft you were supposed to finish in March.
- May: You’re not really used to planning things this far in advance. I mean, they could have flying cars and faster-than-light travel by then! There’s a good chance they’ll have a device that can extract the words for your novel directly from your brain.
- June: The rejection letters from those short stories you sent out in March should start arriving. Spend the rest of the month in an coffee-fueled anxiety attack and revise each piece until it’s barely recognizable. That way, maybe someday someone, somewhere, will finally love you.