One of my failures last year was that I set no writing goals for myself. I’m not entirely sure why, but I think that was a big mistake on my part. Having tangible and achievable goals isn’t for everyone, but they’re important for me. I’m a goal-oriented person. Goals motivate me and drive me to keep working (especially when I put them out there for the world to see). They require me to track my progress, and give me a lift when I see my progress, and a kick in the butt when I see I’m lagging. I need goals, and that’s one of things I learned from 2015.
So here goes, my writing goals for 2016:
- Write and/or edit at least 500 words per day. I’ve always had a word target and I find it really motivates me on a day-to-day basis. I was trying to write more words in my previous goals (2014), but for 2016, I’ve decided to scale it back to take some of the pressure off. 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 six short stories. I consider a story “finished” if I write, edit and submit it for publication. Anything less is unfinished. I had set a higher target number for stories finished in previous years, but I’ve decided to dial it back year. This goal is key, because finishing stories is the key to success.
- Make at least 30 story submissions or two sales. I’ve had this conditional goal for the past several iterations of my goals, 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. I don’t have many stories on submission now, so I’ve lowered my target number of story submissions from previous years. I’ve got a lot of work to do to meet this goal. I might not make this goal of 30 story submissions, but two sales would make me very, very happy this year.
- Self-publish my first novella. I previously had a goal to develop and self-publish a novella series. One of my successes last year was actually finishing and getting copyedited the first novella in series. I also finished the draft of the second and got part of the way into the third before things went awry for me. This is actually a two-part goal, because to publish the novella, I will need to teach myself some of the ins-and-outs of self-publishing. I know this one will be a challenge to complete, but fortunately, I know some writers who already have experience doing this.
- Complete NaNoWriMo (50,000 words in November). I’ve used NaNoWriMo 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. Until last November, I had successfully completed NaNoWriMo for six consecutive years. Not even trying in 2016 was a big disappointment for me, and I want to change that this year.
So those are my 2016 writing goals, for the world to see. It’s up to me now to make them happen. As I have in past years, 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.