Writing Goals and the New Year

fireworks new year's eve celebration
(c) Image credit Pixabay / user geralt

The end of the year approacheth, and with that comes the shift from doing an inventory of writing accomplishments that have happened in the past year, but it’s also a time of reflection–an opportunity to look toward what we want to accomplish going forward.

Here are a few things I did this year:

  • I got writing done! 🙂 Compared to my output from the past five years, this year has been the most productive in large part due to NanoWriMo.
  • I submitted more of my work–perhaps not as much as I should have (that’s for the next section).
  • One of the online critiques groups I’m a part of designated the first chapter of one of my novels as an Editor’s Choice pick, which was a huge honour.
  • I attended a workshop run by SFF writer Julie Czerneda at this year’s Ad Astra convention in Toronto.
  • I critiqued a heck of a lot (also for the next section).
  • I started writing in a whole new genre and surprised myself about the lack of overt supernatural influences and that might change but so far it’s been a straightforward historical.

Here are a few things I want to do better next year:

  • Write more. This may seem trivial and/or obvious, but it stands.
  • Revise more. I didn’t used to slack when it came to implement revisions, and I found that whenever I got critiques on a short story, I would implement them right away because otherwise I wouldn’t get to it. This year, revision has really fallen by the wayside for me, which is something I plan to rectify next year.
  • Send more of my short stories out. I’ve been struggling to pull myself out my dry spell and while I couldn’t do it this year, I hope that next year will be different.
  • Keep improving my craft and learning through workshops and exercises.
  • Find a writing schedule that works for me and that I can maintain.
  • Challenge myself to grow as a writer more. Don’t just settle for “good enough.”

If this were me a few years ago, I would have set goals like “Get into X editor’s anthology” or “Publish 10 short stories” or “Sign with a huge agent and get a multi-book deal.” Now, while I think those are still good things to aspire to, my goal this past year and for the next year is to find the joy in writing for the sheer love of it and not with some grandiose aim in mind.

These past few years, I learned the hard way that while hard work and grit are essential to one’s success as a writer, they do not guarantee publication. I used to think of the writing world like school where students are taught that they will get into the big flashy university and onto a greater future as long as they: (a) come to every class, (b) do all their homework, (c) hand in all their assignments on time, and (d) ace their exams. That’s the contract. That’s the agreement.

Publishing is a business and it most certainly doesn’t work that way. A writer can submit a story or a novel for years and never make a sale (in which case there are several different possible scenarios for why that is). Look up any blog post by Kameron Hurley (if you don’t already read her blog, bookmark it)–she gets to the point quickly and doesn’t sugarcoat anything.

Next year, I’m going to focus on the writing process itself while giving myself a bit of a shove toward pursuing more opportunities to publication. What about you, fellow writers? What are your writing goals for 2016? Do you find that you’re good at setting goals but tend to falter a bit when it comes to keeping them, or are you consistent with meeting your goals? Do you set goals? Sound off below!