It’s January, the start of a new year, the time to look forward and make plans and goals for the year ahead. It’s also time to look back at what was accomplished, or not accomplished, over the past 12 months. I’m a little afraid to look back over my goals for 2009 to see how I did, but I need to do it. How else do I measure if I made any progress towards my goals?
My first step was to dig out my goals for 2009. When I couldn’t find them right away, I realized I had already made a mistake. I probably should have put them somewhere where I could easily find and refer to them over the year.
Most of my goals related directly to my writing. (That’s strange. I usually have at least one about losing weight.) My goals were as follows:
- To finish and send my short story “Wings of Fire” and novella “Burning Love” out before I left for holidays on Feb.22/09
- To finish “Welcome to Paradise” by May 1 and submit to a publisher by Aug.31/09
- Rework “There goes the Groom” by Dec.31/09
- New story to be plotted by Dec. 31/09
So how did I do? Well, I did finish “Wings of Fire” in the allotted time. My writing group, the Saskatchewan Romance Writers, is hoping to do an anthology of “Saskatoon” stories and this short story is my contribution. So I get a big check mark for that one! Yay!
I also completed, submitted, edited and sold “Burning Love” to The Wild Rose Press, and it will be released on January 20, 2010. Double yay! Another check mark!
Now for the not so yay things. I did not complete “Welcome to Paradise” by May 1 and I haven’t submitted it anywhere. A first draft is done but it still needs work.
I didn’t rework “There Goes the Groom”. In fact, I haven’t even looked at it. This was the second in what I hoped would be a series, but it got stalled somewhere along the way and I haven’t been able to revive it. It still awaits on my hardrive.
When I said I wanted to plot a new story by Dec.31/09, at the time I meant a brand new story, something I haven’t work on before. Instead, I pulled out an old idea. I believe I began “Twice in a Lifetime”, my WW2 story, a few years ago before abandoning it. It required a lot of research, and I didn’t know where to go with it. I began working on it again this year, and I’m about 40,000 words into it. I guess I can give myself a checkmark for this one. Another of the goals I set for myself was to overcome my fear of research, and finding information for this story has helped with that. I guess I’m not as enthusiastic about my checkmark here because the novel is not finished, and I know it will require much more work.
I had a couple of goals relating to finding time for writing:
- To protect writing time and not squander it by doing housework etc. during that time.
- To be more productive and not let distractions (like TV) take me away from writing.
With these goals, I think I have to give myself a thumbs down. I had quite a productive first half of the year. From January to the end of July, I wrote pretty much everything I mentioned above. But from August to December, my production dwindled to almost nothing. The only thing I wrote were blogs. And I’m still finding it difficult to back away from the TV. Other distractions sidelined me as well. Normally, I write during the day, preferably mornings. But I was so busy with my day jobs this fall that I was at work most mornings. And afternoons. I continue to find it hard to write when I’m tired, upset or worried. I doubt I will ever be able to change that.
All in all, I think I’ll give myself about 55% for 2009. On second thought, I was part of the successful first year of the Prairie Chicks blog, so I’ll up my mark to 65%.
So now it’s time to look forward. I’ll use the S.M.A.R.T. Goal setting system again this year: I’ll try to make my goals Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.
Goals for 2010:
- Complete edits on “Welcome to Paradise” by April 30, 2010. Submit to agent by June 30, 2010.
- Finish first draft of “Twice in a Lifetime” by June 30, 2010. Work on polishing and having it critiqued to Dec.31, 2010.
- Rework “There Goes the Groom” by July 31, 2010.
- Write the first draft of the third story in the series, “Always a Bridesmaid”, by Dec.31, 2010
Am I being too ambitious and maybe a little unrealistic, considering I didn’t exactly burn up my computer with all the words I wrote last year? Perhaps. But I also need to push myself and set goals that are a challenge. I think I also have to be prepared to amend the goals during the year if I change direction, or if any of my goals have proven to be either too difficult or too easy. And this year I’m going to put them someplace where I can check on them more frequently!
About changing goals: I originally wrote this blog in early January, and then inspiration hit. One of my publishers, The Wild Rose Press, is currently running a contest. The criteria is fairly simple: write a novella length mystery/suspense of 20,000 to 65,000 words about a blue diamond. I’ve known about this since at least October, but nothing came to me. And then suddenly I had an idea. So my revised goal is:
- To complete a first draft of “Flawless” during this week’s annual BIAW for members of the Saskatchewan Romance Writers.
- To finish the stuff I've already started!
So, gentle readers, what are your goals for 2010? Care to name one here? It can relate to writing or to any other aspect of your life. Or can you give us a piece of advice about goal setting, or perhaps a link to an interesting website on goal setting?