Secret of Success: Make Goals and Achieve Them

It’s a new year and that means a perfect opportunity to set goals. As well as the lose the Christmas pounds and floss more goals, consider setting goals for your writing.

I’m not talking about big goals, like get an agent or publish a book. You’re always working toward those. But before you can achieve those goals, you have to write a great book — an interesting, marketable, ready-to-publish great book. And to do that, you have to write a first draft, then a second, then a third, and as many more as necessary. And to do that, you have to formulate a story idea and characters and settings… You get the picture.

With so many steps, getting an agent or publish a book  might seem daunting, and almost unachievable. But creating a story? Doable. Making an outline? Doable. Writing a chapter? Doable.

Wherever you are in your process, pick short, doable goals and work your butt off to achieve them. When you’re done, choose more goals and achieve them. Before you know it, you’ll have attained the bigger goals you always wanted.

In January last year, I set goals for 2012 that I would finish my current work in progress and write the first draft of my next novel. Throughout the year, I set up smaller goals, daily word counts, etc., to help me achieve the bigger goals. Although I didn’t always make my smaller goals in the allotted time, I made up for them, and by the time December rolled around, I had made my bigger goals.

Now it’s January again. I’m going to try to challenge myself a bit and go for slightly bigger goals. Here are mine:

  • Revise the first draft I wrote last year til it’s fully polished
  • Write the first draft of a new story
  • Re-write an older book that’s been sitting on my shelf.

First up: the second draft of my WIP. I want to have it done by the end of January, so I’ve set up a daily goal of 20 pages.

Have you set goals for your year?

New year, new writing goals

Pre-Happy New Year!

Just like most people, I’ve been kinda crazy over Christmas and haven’t gotten on here to post. I’m also way behind in my blog reading. But there’s one thing I have been doing: editing!

I’ve been working a lot on my revision, and although I’m no way near making my end-of-year finish goal, I should be able to be done by the end of January. On Jan. 30 and Feb. 20, I have critiques at the Austin and Houston SCBWI conferences, respectively. I’m hoping to have my novel in great shape by then so I can start sending it out.

Quick update on the status of my first novel. You might remember that I started sending it out to agents at the end of last summer. I got a lot of requests for the manuscripts, but the replies were all in the vein of, “This is great, but not right for us right now, even though I know I’ll kick myself later.” Rejections, yes, but all very positive. One agent is still looking over the full manuscript, but, as I had finished my second novel, I decided that instead of continuing to send to other agents, I would concentrate on the revision of the second novel and go back out with that one. So, that’s what I plan to do in the early months of next year.

That’s my first goal for the new year: finish revising my second novel by the end of January and have it going out to agents and the editors at the conferences in February.

Second goal for the year: write my third novel. I’ve got a bunch of ideas stored away, but one that I had around summer has been playing in my head for months. The main character has been talking to me, and I’ve got a rough idea of where the whole story is heading. I wrote my second novel in about three months this year, so hopefully, if I can start my next novel around February or March, I can be finished around early summer.

A new year brings new opportunities to make our writing better and move forward with our manuscripts and dreams.

What are your goals for the new year?

Write On!