When it comes to making New Year's resolutions, it's pretty easy to find yourself feeling inspired — yet totally worried. Keeping up with resolutions is much more difficult than saying you'll do them, but there's nothing wrong with starting off the year with (realistic) optimism. As a writer and book-lover, my resolutions tend to revolve around how many books I can read in a year and how I should definitely work on spending more time writing and less time thinking about writing (or on Facebook, tbh). If you're in the same situation, you might be wondering how you can make 2017 a better, more productive year for your own writing and reading purposes, which is why I've found some creative and inspiring resolutions made by famous authors to help you out.
The best way to keep a resolution, I believe, is to write it down and put it somewhere you'll see fairly often (above your desk, as a phone screen background, or even at the beginning of your journal or planner). From there, it's up to you to live up to whatever new expectation you've set for yourself. While it isn't easy, it's sort of exciting trying new things and pushing yourself to work harder, be kinder, and find happiness through these resolutions.
From Neil Gaiman's wise words of wisdom to T.S. Eliot's poetic words, authors are often beacons of inspiration and have always provided sensible New Year's resolutions to piggy-back on. Gain some new ideas from these 13 author resolutions to make your New Year the best year yet:
1. "I’m going to begin writing my third novel in 2016 so my new year’s resolutions center around self discipline. I need to carve out the time and the space to write and to stick to a strict writing schedule. In order to help myself do so, I intend to re-read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I have found her writing tools (such as Morning Pages and Artist’s Dates) to be invaluable."
— Louise O’Neill
2. “Stress less, and daydream more. This year, I realized I’d switched all my daydreaming time to stressing-about-things-I-can’t-control time. I plan on reversing that, pronto!
Write books! I need to write the second half of one book, and I want to write another one, too. One and a half books is totally doable.
Read books! This year I read 79 books. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to read more next year.”
— Jodi Meadows
3. "My reading/writing resolutions (might be interesting to revisit these in a year’s time and see what stuck):
1.) Cut back enormously the time spent on social media.
2.) Read more books that are not YA (nothing wrong with reading YA, but because that’s what I write, reading YA is not as escapist or uncomplicated as it could be. And I read a lot of YA, so it tends to crowd out other books).
3.) Start writing something that isn’t YA.
4.) Finish some long-term projects that have been crawling along for more than three years.
5.) Start some new long-term projects.
6.) Take a screen-writing course."
— Keren David
4. "My resolution is simple, and I’ve already started it. More time reading, less time online. I’ve been trying to read for four hours a day and it makes my brain feel good."
— Meg Rosoff
5. "As always I hope to make more time to read. I try to start every day by reading for half an hour and end it the same way, ‘bookending’ each day. What I need to really take on board is how this is ‘professional development’. And I want to spend less time on screen in the world of social media. More time painting. Yes. More books in translation. More poetry."
— Jackie Morris
6. “My writing resolution for 2014 is to take my laptop to new and exciting places. I always get the best ideas and most inspiration when I force myself out of the house and into a new park or coffee shop!”
— Madeleine Roux
7. "For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning."
— T.S. Eliot
8. "One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: To rise above the little things."
— John Burroughs
9. "The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective."
— G.K. Chesterton
10. "I do think New Year's resolutions can't technically be expected to begin on New Year's Day, don't you? Since, because it's an extension of New Year's Eve, smokers are already on a smoking roll and cannot be expected to stop abruptly on the stroke of midnight with so much nicotine in the system. Also dieting on New Year's Day isn't a good idea as you can't eat rationally but really need to be free to consume whatever is necessary, moment by moment, in order to ease your hangover. I think it would be much more sensible if resolutions began generally on January the second."
- Helen Fielding
11. "Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man."
- Benjamin Franklin
12. I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're Doing Something. So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life. Whatever it is you're scared of doing, Do it.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”
― Neil Gaiman
13. "Dear Ones -
You did it, everyone. You did a whole year!
Whether it was a great year for you or a painful year — you did it.
You got here.
You made it.
We made it.
Whether you feel like taking a victory lap right now, or just lying down in a darkened room with a cool washcloth over your eyes — you did it.
Time to close the book.
Please try to take some time today to reflect. Give yourself some silence in which to figure out what you need to put behind you now, and what you are ready to welcome in for 2016. Don't be afraid to make up a ceremony around this, or to invent a small ritual.
May I suggest writing things down, and either burning them or burying them, or bringing them to water?
I always do this on New Year's Eve. I write down what I want to shed from the old year, and what I want to welcome into the new year. Then I burn the paper, and bring the ashes to the nearest body of water, and let it go.
This is a day to return to the elements — fire, water, earth — and to set yourself free from what was, while opening your heart wide to what is to come. It's worth the trouble to invent a little ceremony at this moment of transition, because it's a big moment.
I have always loved New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Even though our sense of time is arbitrary and human, it still means something. I love the feeling I always get on New Year's Eve that I am lucky — that the universe has been generous to me, to have let me stick around for another year, and to now erase the slate and give me another chance.
Tomorrow I will be gifted with a brand new year — with no mistakes in it yet, and no heartbreaks yet, and no failures yet. I get to try again. Amazing.
You will be gifted with this huge blessing, too. A clean and empty book awaits us all. Maybe we will be able to write things differently this time. Maybe a bit better. Maybe we will be wiser this time. At least we get to try.
We have all been given a fresh chance.
Let's close the old book, and open a new one.
Here we go, and blessings for 2016, and — now more than ever — ONWARD.
— Elizabeth Gilbert
Images: Pixabay; Giphy (13)