Soon my writing friend and I will Skype for a few hours about our 2013 goals.
We’ll discuss what we’ve accomplished, what we’ve given up on, and what is still challenging (and defeating) us.
Current State of Affairs
In past years at these goal check-ups, I’ve been both pleasantly surprised and chagrined at my progress. This year I’m happy finally with the amount of writing I’m getting accomplished (thanks to running four challenge accountability groups this year) and how I’m taking stronger steps in the marketing arena.
Another “plus” is how my writing life is flowing. For years my friend and I brainstormed more effective ways to draw boundaries at work, at home, with friends, and (most importantly) with ourselves. This whole boundary thing seems to be an ongoing challenge with us, but we’ve grown this year! We’re better at setting boundaries around our time and not backing down. (Several years of work on this issue resulted in my 2013 e-book Boundaries for Writers.)
Don’t wait until New Year’s Day to think about your progress in 2013. Begin to review it now. Think about it. Celebrate your successes. Be honest about how much work you’ve put into your writing career this year. If you got derailed, take time to think deeply and figure out why.
Then begin to visualize and dream. Where would you like to be a year from now? What changes will you need to make?
For me, I intend to read what’s currently being published in my field a lot more. I’ve read a lot of middle grade books, but I need to do more. My granddaughter and I have hit several excellent book sales recently, and I’m stocked up! I’m also wondering if this is the year I try to find an agent.
Everywhere I turned this year, I got the same message (from writing friends, books, and conference speakers): If you want a rich writing life, cut out time wasters and replace them with reading—and reading a lot. Otherwise our creative wells run dry. Also socialize with a purpose more often (SCBWI conferences, critique groups, book discussion groups, book store readings, lunch with writers.)
I also want to market a bit better, but mostly I’d like to consistently do the marketing things I’ve started. If I could ask Santa for one thing this year, it would be consistency.
So think now about your goals for 2014. Journal about them. Think about how you’re going to hit them. Give yourself these six weeks before the New Year starts to ponder these questions–and then decide on a direction.
If you want a writing life that you’ve never had, you’ll have to do things that you’ve never done—and do them consistently. (Copy the preceding sentence and tape it to your computer.)