As She Writes

How to Productively Live the Dream

Your fresh start is calling. Will you pick up?

Photo by Keren Levand on Unsplash

A new year is your chance for new beginnings. You may not be one for new year’s resolutions, or you may think that you won’t be able to change much because your goals feel like they’re lightyears away, but that doesn’t mean you should shelve them, hoping next year will somehow be the right time to start.

You can already picture what you want your life to be like, what you want to achieve, and where you want to be by the end of the year, but will you actively work to get there? Take this fresh start of yours and use it wisely. Don’t put an immense amount of pressure on yourself to achieve everything right away.

The saying goes, “you won’t know until you try.” That is my primary focus going into 2021. That is because I’ve been the kind of person that has laid out my goals in a practical, realistic plan only to abandon it because I was too afraid to begin.

I decided it was time to stop focusing solely on the anxiety that ensued when putting myself and my work out there for the world to see. You may work hard, and you may not see the results you want right away, but that doesn’t mean any of that time was wasted.

If you want to productively live the dream, you have to first decide what you’re genuinely trying to accomplish and create a plan to help you along.

Here’s a little insight into my own.

Goal-setting looked different this year

When it comes to writing out my goals for the new year, I’d usually focus on all the things I didn’t accomplish the year prior. They’d spill over, leaving me feeling overwhelmed and frustrated that they were unfulfilled.

This year I made a list of five life goals and ten writing goals. I made a point to set new goals; realistic, productive objectives that I could reach if I put the time and effort in. It made me feel like I had a plan, something to look forward to, and I finally had a place to start.

A journal dedicated to writing fears

I promised myself that I’d take journaling far more seriously this year. I want to check in with myself and write about my experiences, especially regarding how much progress I’ve made on my goals, but I decided I needed more.

Due to my anxiety being so severe lately, I decided to set aside a journal specifically for my writing fears. It’s going to be a place where I can write about all the things that scare me, and I know that being able to shut that away once I’m done will help me cope.

A plan to take things slowly but aim for consistent progress

Consistency is something I still struggle with to this day. It is because I spend far too much time overthinking, and it halts my creativity, keeping me from doing what I love. I’ve made it a goal to produce consistent work and strip away some of the tension so I could enjoy the process the way I used to when I first started.

Having a plan is the key to consistency, and I’ve gotten good about using Notion to map out my daily/weekly schedules. I’ve created a dashboard to take care of all that I need to focus on, whether that’d be to-do lists, content calendars, or personal projects. It has elevated my productivity exponentially.

Learning to relish in writing to relieve creative pressure

I’ve spoken a lot about the benefits of writing for ourselves this past year, mainly because it has become a job. I’ve made it my mission to take some time during my journaling to play around with writing, enjoy thinking of new concepts instead of worrying exclusively about what I need to publish next.

This year, I plan to self-publish, which means finishing the novel that has been slowly moving along for a while. Taking the time to bask in the writing process will help me bring it to the finished line so I can have it up by the end of the year.

Aiming to grow and learn through creative work and self-reflection

I don’t want to spend the majority of my time worrying about what’s not getting done. I want to allow myself to branch out without feeling hounded by doubt. It will take some time to get used to, but the more I take the time to reflect on the work I do, the more I will grow.

2020 has shown me where I struggle the most. It has made it clear that to create great work, I had to first learn to take care of myself. The right mindset will do more for you creatively than pushing yourself to your breaking point, and that is something I aim to remember throughout the rest of this year.

You are capable of doing so much more than you realize. Once you decide to leave the pressure at the door, you’ll be able to create much more freely. I’m ready to encourage genuine change this year, believe that I’m not only capable but that I’m prepared to handle both the highs and the lows.

The question is, “what are you going to do with your fresh start?” Don’t let the time slip away from you. Use it to your advantage, create work you’re proud of, and bask in the little things. It will make all the difference in the long run.

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