Let’s Talk About Goals

Liz Prato

My writing friend Liz Prato, a wonderful teacher and author, sent out a very inspirational email this week about setting writing resolutions for 2012.

“How can you accomplish a goal if you don’t articulate it?” she wrote. “You’re also way more likely to meet your goals if you write them down, make them specific, and make them attainable.”

I’ve been thinking about her message ever since. I’m not much of a resolution-setter and I’ve never tried a daily (or monthly) word count goal. Coffee is a better motivation… and focusing on whatever scene I am working on at the moment. But Liz’s essay reminded me that it is important to set concrete goals–as opposed to my plan to “keep writing regularly.” She also advocates listing ways you plan to accomplish those goals, i.e. estimating how much time you expect yourself to write per week, what classes you might take to improve your skills, etc.

What are your writing goals for 2012?

In search of more inspiration, I turned to some of my favorite blogs to see how other writers are voicing their 2012 resolutions.

  • Maggie Madly Writing has compiled an ambitious list of writing goals, including reading 75 books this year.
  • Emma Burcart resolves to be kinder to herself. I love this one!
  • Nina Badzin discusses her own eating habits and prepares to launch a 2012 blog series, “hobbies and habits,” complete with guest authors weighing in.
  • Myndi Shafer–after debating about whether she wanted to post her resolutions–shared four wonderful ones, including “I will play.”
  • Although Anthony Lee Collins’ “Weekly Writing Progress” post isn’t about year-end resolutions per se, it’s a remarkably full and clear-headed look at his current writing priorities and it’s an excellent example of not only setting goals, but making them attainable. His range of projects is inspirational, too, and a good reminder that we should allow ourselves to go where the energy is.
  • This isn’t a New Year’s resolution so much as a reminder to moms who struggle to find writing time amid their many family focused duties. Holly Robinson posts her insights, and a charming piece of advice once given to her by Grace Paley, over at Women’s Fiction Writers.

After reading all these wonderful posts, I will likely spend the last few days of 2011 narrowing down some concrete writing goals for 2012.

What are your 2012 resolutions? How do you plan to define your writing expectations for the year?

About Laura Stanfill

Publisher, Forest Avenue Press
This entry was posted in Fiction, Research, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Let’s Talk About Goals

  1. To be honest, I really haven’t thought about my writing goals aside from trying to publish my novel, Read Me Dead, writing the sequel to Piercing Through the Darkness, and editing another novel and writing the second book in the trilogy to it. I’m not sure if this is an attainable goal or not, but I’m certainly going to try. I guess once I start writing seriously again, I’m going to stick to my goal of 1000-2000 words a day if possible. (Although I feel it’s important not to stress over word count goals so much as writing goals.)

    • Those are pretty big goals, Emerald! And concrete ones as well. Have you used the 1,000 to 2,000 words a day plan before, and was it successful? I shy away from that kind of thing, but I am struggling for motivation right now. It could be because I’ve put on the revision hat, or because it’s the holidays, or because my family life is particularly busy right now… but regardless of those excuses, I need to get moving again! And perhaps a word count goal might jumpstart me.

  2. Thanks so much for including me in this FABULOUS list!! *hugs* Happy New Year, Laura! Good luck with your 2012 goals…I think it’s going to be a great year.

  3. Maggie says:

    Thanks for the shout out! Best of luck with your 2012 goals!

  4. Emma Burcart says:

    I have tried short term writing goals on and off and had different results. Sometimes a daily word count goal will work for me, and sometimes it won’t. I usually have a goal of a new chapter a week, but then the holidays come and there goes that. I will have to check out some of those posts for idea. And thanks for the link to mine.

    • I love the idea of a chapter a week goal–setting a concrete goal but not necessarily one that needs to be measured every single day. And the holidays are for hanging out and relaxing, not necessarily getting a ton of stuff done. I know I’ve had a very slow, luxurious week!

  5. Thanks for the kind words, Laura. After I read Maggie’s post I was thinking of doing a New Year’s post myself about my goals for 2012, but now I have to go back and make sure I didn’t already do one. 🙂

    My one definite goal for next year (I think) is to publish some sort of e-book. I’ve been reading up on all the formats and conversions and so on, and I’d rather start with something that doesn’t have illustrations (my mystery book has floors plans and other illustrated clues). Emerald gave me the idea of publishing a novella, as opposed to a full-length novel. I’ve always thought of publishing as being just for book-length works, but with e-books obviously that doesn’t apply.

    But we’ll see. I could always do an e-book of A Sane Woman, but I’d really rather start out with something newer.

    Oh, and in terms of setting deadlines, I usually don’t (as I said), but I will add that both of my finished novels got finished because I gave myself an absolute deadline for getting them done (my 50th birthday). So, even for those of us who don’t usually work that way, deadlines can be useful at times.

    • You could still totally do a New Year’s resolution post, Anthony! I was struck by how specific, and wide-ranging, your goals were in that particular post, and your list will be really helpful when I sit down and map out my own goals.

      An ebook–wow. That’s very exciting. I can’t wait to hear more about your foray into publishing, and what you choose to put out into the world. It seems like the future of publishing is putting yourself out there, instead of waiting for someone else to do it.

      • Well, I forayed into publishing (I know that’s probably not a word) a while ago, but that was hard copy only (plug: http://u-town.com/jansleet/). I’m now very interested in doing an e-book as well, but I’m not sure what I’ll do yet.

        (Actually, the dictionary informs me that “foray” was once a word, but that usage is now considered archaic.)

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