A lot of folks make New Year’s Resolutions. I think that’s a fine tradition, and I’ve got a few that I’ll keep to myself. What I’ll share here, though, are some goals that I’ve set for the year in connection with my writing.
Goals, it seems to me, should be realistic and achievable, but ambitious. There’s no point in setting a goal that is impossible, since failure is then inevitable. On the other hand, what’s the point in setting a goal that takes no effort to reach? Goals should be measurable, otherwise how can you know if the goal has been met? And goals should be limited in time, if only to add to the motivation to reach the goal sooner rather than later. Here’s an article that might be helpful in your goal setting for the coming year: Personal Goal Setting: Planning to Live Life Your Way.
In my case, there are two things that MUST get done this year plus a few more that I’d like to accomplish before the year is over. Ambitious, but achievable.
- Finish Edits on Novel under Contract. My novel, The Shaman of Turtle Valley, is under contract to Braddock Avenue Books for publication in early 2019. That means I’ll be spending time this year with the editor to get the manuscript into shape.
- Compile the Anthology under Contract. Volume III of my anthology series, Everywhere Stories, will be published in the fall. We’ve promised submitters of stories that we’ll make our selections by the end of March, so that’s the first deadline. And then about two months after that I’ll need to deliver the manuscript to the publisher.
- Find a publisher for my novel. I finished another novel last year and I’ve begun looking for a publisher for that book. That’s not entirely under my control, of course, but I’ve started and will continue for as long as it takes.
- Finish the new story collection. I realized at the end of the year that I had nearly enough stories for a new collection. So I’ve started putting that together and writing a few additional stories for it. I’d love to be done with that by mid-March when I head off to AWP.
- Finish the new novel. I’ve been working on yet another novel for a couple of years now. I have some nagging concerns about it, but I think I’m close to resolving those problems and moving forward toward completion. Dare I hope for getting it done by the end of the year?
- Query agents. This one depends on finishing the new novel. I am currently unrepresented, but I believe the new novel has more commercial potential than my last novel did, so when it’s done it will definitely be time to shop around once again.
- Dabble in the essay form. I’ve become intrigued by the memoir and personal essay forms. I’ve written very little in this genre, but I’m determined to write some essays this year to see what I can make of them. Possibly a memoir or a collection of essays? That’s a longer-term goals, not likely to be finished in 2018
As you can see, my writing goals for the year are ambitious. I think they should be. I’m actually attending a workshop this coming weekend on goal-setting for writers in which I hope to learn either that I’m being unrealistic or I’ve done just the right thing.
But speaking of those goals, I need to get to work.