Pam here. Let’s talk about goals, New Year’s resolutions, whatever you want to call them.
When I set writing-related goals, it’s always about plotting, planning, writing, re-writing, submitting, etc. I don’t say “sell 3 books this year!” which would be wonderful, but that’s not something I can control. Short of a major disaster, I can accomplish the things mentioned above.
And if I meet those goals, then the possibility of “selling 3 books this year” might actually become a reality some day!
Set yearly goals, then break them down into quarterly and/or monthly goals, then weekly or daily goals if need be. But be prepared to go with the flow. If you get a redirection from an editor or agent you do need to be flexible. So if you’re really industrious, you can have more than one set of goals. Now wouldn’t that be fun? Maybe I’ll try that this year!!
I just reviewed my writing goals for last year. My first quarter goals were to send a requested proposal on a second book in a series to an editor and finish the manuscript. However, those goals were set aside when the editor passed on the first book in the series. I moved to my second quarter goals which told me to revise and submit the first book elsewhere, which is what my agent and I did.
Next, I moved to part B of my second quarter goals which was to start another manuscript on a new series while the first book in the other series was making the rounds. This manuscript is now finished and in the final editing stage. So, even though I had to flip my goals around a bit, I did have a plan.
If you get bogged down trying to set goals for the latter part of the year, you can be a bit vague. My goals for the 3rd and 4th quarters for last year simply stated: Third and fourth quarters will depend on what happens in the first two. But if you do this, make sure you go back and set those goals as soon as you find direction in the 1st or 2nd quarter. If you don’t, you might find yourself wasting time trying to decide what to do in the second half of the year.
Setting goals can be a little overwhelming and sometimes we wonder later why we bothered. I think the key is to review your goals periodically throughout the year. Either print them out or make a note on your calendar to look over them every month or so to track your progress. Or, if you prefer, write them on a calendar or an erasable bulletin board. Anything to help you keep track of what you want to accomplish.
And you know the coolest part…the part we often forget to do? At the end of the year, you can mark off all those goals you actually accomplished in your writing. And if you’re like me …ahem… it makes you feel guilty to have NOT accomplished much towards your writing goals so you determine to do better next year.
I didn’t accomplish all my goals for 2008, but I learned a bit about my schedule and when and how I can get things done. Due to my day job which is pretty hectic in the fall and winter, I have more creative energy in the first half of the year, so part of my goals will be to write two rough drafts from January through June. The second half of the year will be devoted to editing those rough drafts. If I stay ahead of task, and get a chance to edit, that will be extra gravy.
So, let’s take the next couple of weeks and work on our goals. Maybe we’ll have a chance to come back and review this topic again after the new year to see how organized we’ve become.
How about you? Did you set goals for 2008? Did you accomplish them? Have you started working on goals for 2009? Any tips you’d like to share?
Set goals that excite you!
Set goals that you can control
Break them down into yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily to-do lists