It’s already February. What happened to the time? The year is one-twelfth of the way over, and I’m just now finalizing my writing goals for 2013.
For the past two years, I’ve set writing goals and targets. Goals are important for me because they help me focus my efforts, and give me tangible targets towards which to work. Writing goals have allowed me to get serious about trying to turn my fiction writing from a hobby into a career. I figure I must be doing something right, because last year built nicely on the previous year.
While I was satisfied with my overall performance on my 2012 goals, I came up short on a few of them. I thought about this as I developed my 2013 goals, and decided to keep most of my 2012 targets. I 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. In 2012, they did just that.
Here are my writing goals for 2013:
- Write and/or edit at least 700 words per day. I decided to keep this goal the same as in 2012. I felt this daily target was attainable without being unrealistic. As with previous years, 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.
- Finish at least twelve short stories. I consider a story “finished” if I write, edit and submit it for publication. Anything less is unfinished. This is the same target as I set last year, a target that I failed to met. I will be focusing on this goal in 2013, because finishing stories is key to success.
- Make at least 60 story submissions or five sales. I’ve had this conditional goal the last two years, and I like it. 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. (I made 11 short stories sales last year, and did not reach my 60 submission goal.) If I make five or more sales in 2013, 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. I did not finish revising it last year, which I see as a failure I don’t want to repeat.
- Develop a series for self-publication. I’ve given this new goal a lot of thought, and I’ve decided to give it a try. After talking with many writers, I believe a key to consistently selling my work is to develop a series to which readers can return. I have an idea in mind already; now I just need to write it and publish it. This is actually a two-part goal, because to publish the story, I will need to teach myself some of the ins-and-outs of self-publishing. I know this one will be a real challenge to complete, and fortunately, I know some writers who already have experience doing this.
- Complete NaNoWriMo (50,000 words in November). I’ve successfully completed NaNoWriMo for the past five years. I use it as a challenge to increase my writing productivity (and not necessarily to write a novel), and I’ve found it’s a great way to stimulate story ideas.
Those are my 2013 writing goals, for the world to see. It’s up to me now to make them happen. As I have every year, I’ll periodically revisit these to assess my progress (self-assessment is critical). I better get to work; I’m already a month behind, and I’ve got a lot of writing to do if I’m going to make it.