The new year is here. What does that mean? Resolutions! We all make them and unfortunately about one third of us break them. I’m sad to say I am in that group. Let me give you some examples from my life.
Resolution 1: Cut out frivilous spending. Reality: This beautiful journal with the sun and stars cover will make me a better writer. I need it.
Resolution 2: Stop eating sugar. Reality: My friend, who was born to be a baker, made a platter of chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting and a sugar Wonder Woman symbol. I can’t say no. That would be rude.
As writers, we face enough rejection. Why add more opportunities for that? If you’re like me, not meeting goals brings out self-doubt and I was sure the answer to this problem was not to make resolutions. But we all need things to strive for. It’s how we push ourselves, how we grow, and how we become better people.
After looking at what I accomplished last year and accepting that not everything works as planned (post here) , I realized my problem wasn’t the act of making goals, it was the types of goals I made. So this year I’m putting a new spin on my resolutions.
As 2017 was coming to an end and I started thinking about what I wanted to accomplish in the coming year, two phrases put me on a new track.
First, my taekwondo instructor reminded me that pushing yourself a little every day leads to a big change at the end of the year. Okay, she was talking about stretching, but I’m sure the concept can be used for many things.
Second, during an interview, race car driver Danica Patrick said she strives to achieve her goals every day but acknowledges life happens and sometimes she’ll miss a few.
I’m using these concepts to make my resolutions this year. Instead of making big, inflexible goals, I’m focusing on achieving great things through persistence and being consistent.
Let’s look at a few writing goals I have seen online.
1. Write a book. Writing a book is a wonderful goal and you would assume in twelve months, you could make that happen. But sometimes the book does not want to be written. Not now, or ever. Or other times, life gets in the way and your planned writing time disappears.
New approach. Write. Write. Write. If it ends in a book (first draft or more), fantastic! If it doesn’t, know you are still working your way to a completed manuscript by working on your craft. It may be the one you started or it may be a completely different one. Either way, you are making progress
2. Find an agent. AKA: sign with an agent. There are hundreds (thousands?) of agents in this business, so it seems likely that at least one will like your writing. But this business is incredibly subjective and that is out of your control. As are slow times in the industry, agents’ vacations, and competition in the slush pile.
New approach. Realize the intricacies of this business and alter your goal a bit. Go hot and heavy on researching agents. Five a day, ten, or twenty. Their likes and dislikes. Enter contests. Sign up for manuscript critiques. And query. A lot. Make your goal to send out 100 queries this year. If you don’t find an agent, know you succeeded in doing all you could.
3. Sell a book. This may be more difficult than finding an agent. Traditional publishing is very difficult, and while there are a lot of publishing houses and a lot of editors, those lists are smaller than the agent list. Which means more competition in addition to individual tastes regarding genres and writing styles.
New approach. If you are in the position to sell a book, consider alternatives. Smaller presses, significant revisions, or self-publishing. You can also look at publishing stories in magazines and anthologies.
Here are a few of the writing goals I have for this year.
- Play around with short stories
- Revise my current WIP
- Research writing in different genres
- Do 15 minute writing sessions as many days during the week as possible.
- Read books in different genres
I would love to hear your ideas for 2018 goals and any tips you have to keeping those resolutions!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
HALLI GOMEZ teaches martial arts and writes for children and young adults because those voices flow through her brain. She enjoys family, outdoors, reading, and is addicted to superhero movies. Her middle grade science fiction novel is represented by Kathy Green of Kathryn Green Literary Agency. You can find Halli on Twitter.