Thursday, January 22, 2009

Writing goals for 2009

Camy here, talking about Writing Goals for 2009!

Pam Hillman recently shared her writing goals with us, and I was totally impressed how she broke things down into quarters.

What that mostly did was to help her target herself in terms of writing efficiency. She challenged herself to write a certain amount—or at a certain speed—by a certain date.

I thought this was brilliant. It was good for me because it inspired me to figure out my own writing goals, challenging myself to a certain amount of writing by a certain date.

I thought it would also be good for any writers who really don’t know how fast or how much they can write within a certain time period. If you are one of them, why not challenge yourself to a few quarterly writing goals?

Here’s an example of my writing goals for 2009:

1st Quarter: (January 1st to March 31st)
1. Finish line edits for Deadly Intent, due January 7th
2. Write proposal for next romantic suspense novel by January 31st.
3. Complete Marketing Info Sheet for The Year of the Dog by March 1st.
4. Coordinate the American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Genesis contest for unpublished writers.
5. Prepare for my HeadStart mentoring group for Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. (If you’re a beginning writer, and if you can swing the cost of the conference, the HeadStart program is a great way for new writers to get all the information they need to jump start their writing career. Learn from my mistakes!)

2nd Quarter: (April 1st to June 30th)
1. Finish writing The Year of the Dog by May 1st.
2. Write my next romantic suspense novel (assuming the proposal is contracted—crossing my fingers).
3. Work on “The Lone Rice Ball,” the fourth book (novella) in my Sushi series (it’ll be available as a free ebook download to members of my newsletter YahooGroup).

As you can see, I have a few non-writing goals like coordinating the Genesis contest and preparing for Mount Hermon writers conference, but aside from those, my writing targets are clear. I’m trying to finish a proposal within a month, and then finish the Marketing Info Sheet (like an Art Fact Sheet used by Harlequin authors) the next month. Then I need to finish writing my manuscript by May 1st (that’s a publisher-set deadline rather than my own, but it’s still a deadline).

Your writing goals don’t have to be as harsh as mine (since I write full-time, I have more time to devote to these things). But you should try to set some goals for yourself that will prod you to write faster or more consistently.

Remember, writing is a business—otherwise, why would you be entering all those contests?—and so treat it like one. Motivate yourself to work harder at your chosen profession, and don’t give in to self-doubt. You can do it!

Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. Her novel Single Sashimi is out now, and she runs the Story Sensei critique service. In her spare time, she is a staff worker for her church youth group, and she leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service. On her blog, she gives away Christian novels every Monday and Thursday, and she ponders frivolous things. Sign up for her newsletter YahooGroup for monthly giveaways!


  1. Thanks, Camy, for the kick in the butt -- I needed that! I think everybody works better with deadlines, or at least I do, so setting up time goals like this is imperative. Fortunately (or unfortunately), editors are MOST helpful at this. :)


  2. Thanks, Camy, for giving us a peek at how you divide and conquer by setting goals. Now that I'm selling on proposal, I must meet my publisher's deadline for turning in my books. No excuses. Setting goals that stretch you before you sell is great preparation for publication.


  3. Very good. For myself I have made monthly writing goals for the entire year and planned my vacation time from work around it. No big deal but for me it is as I usually just do things "as needed". So this actually is huge.

  4. Thanks for sharing, Camy! Here's to a great 2009, God willing, may we all meet our goals.

  5. Camster, these are good, solid goals, so reachable.

    And Tina, I like how you set up the year realistically. That's huge in goal-setting.

    Jules, what a great point! If we can't set goals and abide by them, how on earth will we work with an editor who lays down goals? And I work better with a deadline, too, even self-imposed. I think most of us do.

    I love setting goals. I love reaching them. And I'm not afraid to put the ones I don't control into God's hands, trusting his timing.

    Otherwise we waste a lot of time spinning our wheels and going nowhere. No room for fretting in this business. Too much wasted time in worry. I like production!

    To that end I made homemade bread this morning. There's fresh butter, homemade jams and non-salmonella peanut butter alongside.


    Also a toaster oven if you prefer it toasted.

    Coffee bar is set up and I think someone brought a honey assortment. Fresh bread, soft butter and warm honey...

    Simple. Amazing.

    Dig in, everyone!

  6. Good morning, Camy. You have a lot on your plate!

    I love goals, love lists, love checking things off my lists. I try to post my goals regularly so I will have some accountability. Today I'll have to revisit my goals for 2009 and see how I'm doing.

  7. I don't really write down a list of goals but I have them in mind.

    Let's see.

    1000 words a day five days a week.

    That's fundamental. I did nearly 3000 yesterday for some odd reason, just got on a roll. I wish so much I could do closer to that every day.

    Finish WIP by end of March

    Finish two more books by end of year (wishing it could be three more, but that's pushing it)

    Final revisions for The Husband Tree, due in....I think...July.

    A few other things but these are the basics, like I said, I don't exactly write down goals, I just have it in mind what I hope to accomplish.

  8. Hi Camy! I remember feeling tired after reading Pam's goals for 2009! I'm with you, goals set in quarters somehow aren't as overwhelming.

    I was listening to a 2006 ACFW conference tape last month as Chip MacGregor taught his Advanced sessions. When he came to goal setting, he mentioned that writers need to think in terms of quarters, because that's how the publishing industry views the calendar. Deadlines, promotions, royalties, etc, are all chopped into 3 month sections.

    Made it much easier for me to put my writing into perspective, too. My goals aren't as diverse as yours, but then I couldn't accomplish half of what you do : )

    Thanks for the New Year's kick in the butt : )

  9. Isn't it nice to be working, Camy? Deadlines keep me focused and on track, as well as more productive.

    Tina, you work "as needed." Most days, I'm using the business model of "just in time!" :)

  10. I'm a list person too. So if I can put my goals on a To Do list, it's all good. I always try to leave room for unexpected things life may heave my way.

    Great post Camster.

  11. I have goals in my head, too. Sometimes things happen and my goals start to weigh me down if I can't get them met, so I don't like to make them too hard and fast! Enough time for that when I actually get contracted! But I am trying to write 1,000 words a day, five days a week, like Mary. I hope to finish the rough draft of my WIP by the end of March or shortly thereafter. After that, it gets fuzzy.

  12. Melanie, I do this but if I can't I give myself a pass. For example, I dropped the ball badly because of my

    I don't let it make me crazy. I just pick up when I can get back to my routine and go with the 1000.

    I suppose if I did it all the time I'd have to get tough but it seems like the words add up, so I don't beat myself up about it.

  13. Hi Seekers -

    I LOVE THIS BLOG! Therefore, I've given you the Premio-Dardas award. The details will be on my blog tomorrow (1/23/09).

    I hope you'll pass it along to the bloggers you appreciate.

    Susan :)

  14. I'm waffling on my goal. At first it was to submit something somewhere once a month. Then I thought why not shoot for once a week. Not novels, weekly! By that I meant short stories, devotionals, queries, etc.

    Maybe it'll all average out.

    Ruthie, next time you bring homemade bread I will bring the Amish peanut butter :-)

  15. Thanks for the award, Susan!!

    Camy, great post. Right now I'm working on my first book that sold on proposal, so I'm learning to write (new words) under a deadline. I've taken the calendar, figured out how many days a week I have to write until the deadline. Then I divided it out to see what I have to write per day to meet that deadline. It's really working out great for me! One thing I like most is that when I reach that goal, I can quit for the day and do other stuff if I choose. Sometimes, I keep going. Other times I stop and take time for doing blogs. Or maybe things like washing dirty clothes or dishes! LOL


  16. Hi Camy, I love setting deadlines. I'm such a left brained person. The lists yesterday and your post today--right up my alley. Thanks for reminding me.

    One thing I found that helps me is kind of what Missy was talking about only she does chores. I make rewards for meeting deadlines--like a campout in the desert or a hike in the Superstitions. That makes me work harder for my goal. Thanks again Camy,

    Ruthy the homemade bread is yummy. I love the smell of bread cooking almost more than the taste. I have some homemade orange marmelade to spread on it if there is any left at this late hour--made from the tangelos in my back yard.

  17. Breaking your goals into manageable chunks is great advice. Thanks for the great post, and thanks to all of the commenters for furthering the discussion.

  18. Hey guys! Sorry I didn't show on Thursday, I was busy all day b/c of writer's group meeting that night.

    I'm glad people are setting goals in manageable chunks! I'm definitely a list person, so when I can tick something off a list, it makes me work more efficiently.

    Thanks again to everybody who contributed to the conversation!