It’s coming up on the end of the year, and I’m noticing people posting about how they’ve done this year or making plans for next year. (I’ve got a wrap-up post of my own that’ll go up Saturday, so I’m not immune.) If you need help in thinking about goals, I suggest you take a look at Dean Wesley Smith’s blog. Annually, he does a series of posts on goals, how to set them, and how to make sure they’re realistic. Right now, only the first one is up for this year, New World of Publishing: Failure is an Option. Quitting is Not. Here’s the meat of the post (in my opinion):
Check through all your goals for 2012 and make sure they ONLY concern your work level that is in your control.
No action from another party can be involved, otherwise it is not realistic.
He’s also got a lot in there on failure (hence the title of the post), and how it’s going to happen. Anything that’s out of your control (which, as a writer, includes a publisher picking up your title or readers buying your work) is subject to failure. But you only fail completely if you give up. Definitely worth a read.
So . . . looking at posts like this, I get in the mood to think about all I’d love to accomplish next year. I could probably write a huge list. I usually do, including lists of books I want to finish, new projects I want to do, and on and on. This year, however, I’ve already set my new goals, and I’m keeping them simple, as I already mentioned.
- Finish something every week. This can be a novel, a short story, a haiku, a drabble, or a paying project for work. Paying work often leaves me exhausted and not wanting to do much if any writing, so taking that into consideration keeps me from beating myself up. Still, it’s a concrete weekly goal. Do something!
- Get something up for sale every month. By only asking myself to get one new thing up per month, that gives me time to make sure I have covers, and when a month is filled with family or with paying work or unexpected turbulence, it still gives me a chance of success.
Why am I posting today? To remind myself that I don’t need a huge to-do list. Just following through on these two goals is sufficient, and it should be instructive to look back next year and see just what 52 things I’ve managed to finish. It’s even conceivable that, say, the week I decide to finish sewing up my son’s quilt that that will be my finished project for the week. I don’t know, but it should be a lovely adventure to find out.
What about you? What goals are you planning to work toward in the next year?