Many of us begin the year by making resolutions – firm intentions to do or not to do something over the coming days, weeks and months. According to psychologists, by February our best intentions have usually fallen by the wayside.

Contemplating the gap between deciding to do something (thought) and actually doing it (action) can be overwhelming – especially when it comes to writing goals. Over the years of breaking my resolutions and beating myself up over what seemed like another failure, I discovered that even though the goals I’d set looked good on paper, I needed to be Super Human in order to accomplish them. They were a list of shoulds rather than intentions from my heart.

Small steps add up to major accomplishments.

If you write:

  • twenty minutes a day, at the end of the year you will have spent 121 hours on your writing. That’s the equivalent of three forty-hour weeks. 
  • one double spaced, typewritten page a day, by the end of the year you will have written 91,250 words, the word length of a young adult novel or inspirational book. 
  • two pages a day, at the end of the year, you’ll have a manuscript about the length of a hefty novel.

Now when I write my intentions for the New Year down on paper, I try to avoid listing items like “Write a Book” or “Write 20 Articles.” Instead I make a contract with myself to write half an hour a day on a particular project. Somehow it works. In fact, most days I end up writing far longer.

Everything that is written, from a Stephen King novel to a scholarly work on the Middle East, happens one word at a time. There’s no way around it.

Creative Writes – New Beginnings:

Make a list of all the intentions, large and small that you’ve followed through on until you made those dreams a reality. They might range from deciding to return to school to parking your car two blocks from work in order to get more exercise or even taking the risk of wearing a bright blue sweater when you’d normally wear black or gray. Pick the intention that gives you the deepest sense of accomplishment. Then write about it:

What motivated you to make the resolution?

Was there a time you became discouraged and wanted to quit?

What did you do to keep yourself going?

How did it feel to accomplish your goal?

This writing exercise gives you a chance to rediscover your strengths and the strategies that have worked for you in the past, so that you can apply them to your current intentions.

It also provides a basic plot for a fictional piece of writing. Try using your own experiences and emotions to create a story about a character who wants to change something about herself or himself. Write about how they triumphed over one external and one internal obstacle.

Market News:

Jan Phillips, author of God is at Eye Level and Marry Your Muse is seeking submissions for an anthology called Reborn from the Fire: Women in Mid-Life Re-Creating Their Lives. The stories, essays and poems need to focus on the experience of learning to be true to your passion and creativity. Deadline is January 30, 2002. Complete guidelines are posted at