Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Years!!

Happy New Years! I get to be the first post of the year. Yay! =)

Can you believe it’s already 2008? I, for one, have actually been looking forward to the arrival of this day. I love the start of a new year. I’m a huge goal setter, so the arrival of a new year is one of my favorite times of the year.

New Years is a time of reflection of the past, and of looking forward to the future. Think about the goals you’d set for 2007. Did you accomplish them all? Most people would answer no to this question, not because people are bad at keeping to goals, but because it is a natural occurrence in the process of self-growth and development. As the year progresses, you find that either you’ve changed your mind or altered your view, or your circumstances/situation have changed. Perhaps a goal of yours had been to write that single title paranormal that’d been simmering on the backburner but instead, you’d developed an interest in erotica and were able to whip out three erotica novellas. Not exactly what you had intended at the beginning of the year, but there you have it.

Goals are like the first drafts. The beauty of having a goal is that you can change it to accommodate your changing needs and circumstances. A completed book hardly ever resembles the first draft word to word. Your end of the year may or may not be what you had in mind at the beginning of that year.

So then why set goals, you ask?

Because like a good book that needs to be plotted out, your life – particularly your writing career – should be plotted out as well. You should always have an end in mind. What is it that you want from your writing career? Is this just a hobby, or a career for you? Do you see yourself with a smaller press, an e-publisher, or a NY house? Is publication even something you’re seriously pursuing? You may think this is a stupid question, but there are people who aren’t in it to be published. Some people merely enjoy writing. They don’t care if they get published or not. There are others who don’t want the NY houses, who feel more comfortable working with a smaller press. And then there are still those who opt for self-publishing because they just want to see a final product. Whatever your end goals are, you need to have them so you can map, or plot out, the steps to reach them.

Why don’t you share some of your goals for 2008 with me? Sharing it with someone – or posting it for the world to see – affirms the goals and makes it harder for you to back out of. Make sure your goals are things you have direct control over, such as taking an online class on craft, instead of things you can’t control, like winning a Golden Heart. Instead, try as a more feasible goal – to enter the Golden Heart with the best and most polished book you have. Also, keep your goals within your limits. Don’t aim to complete three books when you know from experience you’re a one book a year writer. Setting goals that are ridiculously out of your range will only lead to feelings of failure.

Here are my goals for 2008:

1. Finish Heart of a Highlander. (I only have the last chapter to write.)
2. Finish Legacy of the Highlander. (I have approximately 3 chapters to write of this.)
3. Finish plotting for and write Demon Night, the first in my Demon Trilogy. (I actually have about one third of the book written, but am finding that I need to re-plot the story.)
4. Take at last one craft online workshop and one specialized, subject-related online workshop.
5. Attend more meetings and be more active on my loops.

Since I average about three 100K books a year, I know that these goals are more than feasible and attainable for me.

So there you have it. I’ve put myself out there. I’m now responsible to see these goals through.

Anyone else care to share?


Mai Christy Thao said...

Just an update -- I actually completed my first goal, finish Heart of a Highlander, yesterday. Yay!!

Savanna Kougar said...

Yay! Mai, go!
Goals. Fortunately or unfortunately specific goals and I parted company a number of years ago. Or perhaps changed to living in the perpetual question of: what can I get done day-by-day? As a general goal I will simply grow my career as best as I can and continue writing the stories I love.
I find it utterly fascinating how differently people respond to setting goals. For some goal-setting enhances their life, what they want to achieve. For others, it looks like specific goals just gets them going in the wrong directions. What does everyone think? How do goals help you?

Anitra Lynn McLeod said...

Hi Mai!

Great post! Rather than party on New Years I sit and decide what I want to accomplish in the New Year. This year I want to lose 20# and finish "Thrall" and "Virgin Harvest" and get more involved in RWA. Ya, I have my own writing goals but I want to get more involved in the groups I'm a part of and help others the way others have helped me. My parents always stressed "giving back" and I want to do more of that.

Mel Hiers said...

Hi Mai! Congrats on meeting one of your goals so early in the year! :-)

I just posted some of my writing goals on my personal blog! I love goal setting. I wish I could be productive in a more free-form way like Savanna, but I really need a goal to start me off. Even if it changes later.

I have a couple rough drafts I'm going to finish, and I need to complete the revision of Gravedigger. I have a huge list of short story ideas, and I want to complete and submit at least four of 'em. And I really want to network more - online and at a couple of cons. I may dip a toe into RWA or SFWA as well, although I tend to be a little hermit-like, so that'll be a challenge. :D

Mai Christy Thao said...

Savanna, that's a good general goal to keep. Me, I have to have everything down to the specifics or I feel like I don't know where I'm going with my life and my writing. I'm a huge goal setter. I have a one year plan, 5 year plan, 10 year plan... You get the drift. And yes, I change those plans every other month of so, lol.

Lexie O'Neill said...

Hi, all,
As usual, I'm catching up. I do set New Year's goals...one or two in each area of my life...my writing goals are to finish one of the manuscripts I have sitting around (I mentioned them on my only blog so far), and fix my web page. I always set my goals low so I can actually get them done, and then do more! I'm co-president of my RWA chapter so I have goals for that, and then I want to read with my kids (they've gotten so big, I'd quit that).
Then, I have an exercise goal, I need to get my kids' passports, do more church work (I only wrote down 3 casseroles instead of the 2 I did last year). I think my theme is definitely keep it on the down low (ugh).
Good luck all--and we should check back with each other!