New Year, Same Me, New Goals

Resolutions and goals

I get the appeal of making goals on January 1st each year. There’s been no failure yet. 365 days of potential success stretch out ahead like a welcoming blank canvas. I’ve started trying to temper this tabula rasa feeling with the knowledge that every new year is built on the foundation of previous years. 2018 was an incredible year for me, but it didn’t start on January 1st, 2018. It technically started in the fall of 2015 when I decided it might be nice to start writing again, though I didn’t really get back to writing until early 2016.

If you had asked me in 2016 where I hoped to be in 2019, I would have said:

  • have a short story published in Asimov’s or Clarkesworld
  • be working on my first novel, maybe a 2nd draft

I’m glad that I revisit goals every year, because 2019 me is in a much different place than 2016 me could have imagined, and I owe it all to setting goals and sticking to a plan to achieve them.

 

Examining past goals

The past three years, I’ve consciously set goals and, for the most part, achieved them. 2016 was about starting to write again, joining a writing group, and submitting short stories to magazines. 2017 was about prioritizing writing everyday and submitting to The Hourlings (my writing group) anthology. 2018 was about completing works and publishing them.

It’s funny, because looking back on 2018, I published two books, but so much of the work that went into those books was completed in prior years. Someone looking in from the outside might say, “Wow, she did a lot this year!” That’s an illusion, though. 2018 was only as good as my 2016 and 2017 set it up to be, and that might be the most important part of this post. Every step in the right direction makes an impact, even if your ultimate goals still seem far off.

So what’s the plan for 2019? More of the same, but it comes with a new challenge. I now have a small, beautiful human to take care of. He doesn’t care about my routines. He doesn’t understand that writing everyday is important to me. This year, I will be revisiting the “write every day” goal, baby edition. There’s a part of me that doubts that I can do it. Part of me is afraid of failing, and failing early.

In fact, I know I’ll fail at some point. With so many variables out of my control, it is more likely to happen than not, which is why I’m so glad that I’ve got experience failing. Those 2016 short story submissions? All rejections. That 2017 writing goal? I wrote most days, but not every day. 2018? I wanted to finish the first draft of The Island Experiment (Kepos Chronicles Book 3), but I’m only 12,000 words in. These failures are all proof that I am challenging myself, nor do they make my successes any less worthwhile.

2019 Writing Goals

  1. Write every day, at least 200 words. I find setting the bar low helps motivate me even when I’m exhausted, and usually I end up writing a lot more than 200 words.
  2. Finish a draft of The Island Experiment (Kepos Chronicles Book 3) by summer (hopefully sooner).
  3. Publish The Island Experiment this year, ebook and paperback at the same time.
  4. Do some book signings and get my books in local used bookstores.
  5. Attend 2-3 local writing conventions.
  6. Give a presentation/talk at a school.
  7. (almost forgot this one) Write a weekly blog!

In addition to figuring out how to write each day with a baby, I’m also looking to push myself in the marketing area. I’m an introvert, so book signings kind of scare me. Talking to store owners scares me. Pitching a talk to a school principal or librarian scares me. This fear is exactly why I’ve set these goals. I know I can write a book and publish it (not that it’s easy, by any means), so I’ve set these new goals to push myself outside my comfort zone. It’s scary. Future me has some uncomfortable emails to send, but I bet end-of-year me will be glad for it.

 

 

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