I’m a goal-oriented person. Goals help me focus my efforts and give me tangible targets towards which to work. Last year was the first year I set concrete writing goals because I wanted to get serious about trying to turn my fiction writing from a hobby into a career. I credit those goals for helping me achieve the most productive writing year of my life.
Last year I had little idea what I could actually accomplish, so I set what I thought were realistic, achievable goals. I was pleasantly surprised to find my goals were too conservative. I took this into consideration as I developed my 2012 writing goals. I still want achievable goals—unachieveable goals aren’t worthwhile and can be counterproductive—but I also want them to be a challenge. Goals should push me to work harder and get better.
Here are my writing goals for 2012:
- Write and/or edit at least 700 words per day. I decided to raise this goal by 200 words per day based on my productivity in 2011. As with last year, I will credit myself 500 words for every hour spent editing/revising my work. I will also give myself credit for writing up to six story critiques a month because these directly contribute to improving my craft by forcing me to critically read and analyze fiction.
- Complete NaNoWriMo (50,000 words in November). I decided to specifically add this to my goals. I’ve successfully completed NaNoWriMo for the past four years. I use it as a challenge to increase my writing productivity (but not necessarily to write a novel), and I’ve found it’s a great way to stimulate story ideas.
- Finish at least twelve short stories. I consider a story “finished” if I write, edit and submit it for publication. Anything less is unfinished. I increased this by two stories over my 2011 goal because I finished 13 stories last year.
- Make at least 60 story submissions or five sales. I decided to keep this conditional goal. Goals should be things over which I have complete control, e.g., writing, editing and submitting stories. Whether a story is accepted or not is, to some extent, out of my hands. Yet the number of submissions I can achieve in a year is also related to the number of stories I have making the rounds. If I sell stories quickly, I will have few submissions over the course of the year, thus I’ve created this conditional goal. If I make five sales in 2012, I might not make my goal of 60 story submissions, but five sales would make me very, very happy.
- Revise and submit my draft novel. I completed the first draft of a novel in 2011. The next step is to finish it.
Those are my 2012 writing goals, for the world to see. Now it’s up to me make them happen. I’ll periodically revisit these to assess my progress (self-assessment is critical). I better get to work. I’ve got a lot of writing to do if I’m going to make it.