Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

2011 Writing Goals – Finally, eh?

Water Polo - Making a GoalI summed up my accomplishments for 2010 in two parts:

Part 1 – the platform building
Part 2 – the numbers

Finally, I’m getting to my goals for 2011.

I’m behind (as you can clearly see) but I wanted to put some thought into this before posting.

It was important to me to make the goals challenging, but reachable. I also wanted to be more specific than I was with last year’s goals, so that my review at the end of the year will be both easier to write, and easier to evaluate.

With that in mind, here’s what I’m striving for this year:

1 – Write 302 out of 365 days in 2011

I’ve determined that since I work full time and have a 2+ hour daily commute for the day job, it’s impossible for me to write daily. 302 = 52 weeks of the year times 6 days a week, minus 10 Federal Holidays. I’m not sure I can actually meet this goal…but I’m going to try.

Note that I don’t care if I write fiction, non-fiction or cereal box ads during any given day: writing is writing.

2 – Triple last year’s fiction output

Since I’m not planning a blog tour this year, I think I can reasonably accomplish this…with some stretching. In order to do so, however, I’m upping the goal words-per-day by 25%.

You’ll note that I’m talking percentages and not real numbers….just as I did in my year end review. I’m deliberately obfuscating the number, and the reason is simple: what I think I can reasonably accomplish in a day, and what someone else can, are different. And that number changes, based on the circumstances. Before I agreed to a two-hour commute, I could knock out 2k words easily in a day. These days, 2k is a good weekend goal.

If you’re playing along, pick a goal which you can reasonably accomplish with some effort – you don’t want it to be too easy, after all.

3 – Finish the two short stories that have plagued me since the beginning of 2010….or trunk them.

4 – Finish the first draft of my current work-in-progress novel.

5 – Write and submit 6 non-fiction articles.

Word count doesn’t matter.

I’ll be keeping track of the word count, of course, but it’s more important that I actually actually write the articles. As part of my “platform building” last year, I wrote three and submitted them to some articles web sites. I’m hoping to drive additional traffic to my site.

6 – Write at least three blog posts per week for a total of 156 blog posts for 2011.

Again, word count doesn’t matter (though it will be tracked). I simply want to remain consistent.

7 – Fifty-two blog posts must be writing prompts.

I want to maintain my “Friday Writing Prompt” which I’ve consistently published each Friday since I started in June 2010.

8 – Make 30 fiction submissions this year, only 1/3 (or less!) of which can be flash or micro-fiction.

9 – Finish reading Sol Stein’s How to Grow a Novel.

(This sounds like a gimme, but I borrowed it from the library last year and I’ve renewed it 11 times so far. I’m only allowed to renew it 9 more times – unless someone puts a hold on it, and then I must return it immediately. It’s a good book, but others keep making it to the head of the line… Putting it on this list will make me finish it. I hope.)

Finally, I come to the big goal….and I still don’t know how to phrase it correctly.

I’m going to be sending a novel out into the wild. Obviously, I would like to obtain representation this year…and yet, that goal is out of my hands. So, rather than set myself up for a pass/fail grade by the end of the year, here’s what I realistically think I can do:

10 – Send 25 query letters to agents.

Obviously, I’ve got a plan. I won’t be spamming 25 agents with my manuscript. I’ve got a carefully written, personal query letter ready to send to my number one agent of choice. And to my number two choice…and so on.

With luck, I won’t need to send all those letters, but I’m trying to be realistic. If I do wind up sending them all…I’ll regroup and make a new goal somewhere late in 2011.

What’s most important? The writing, of course. If I can finish the writing, the rest of the goals, minus Stein, should fall into place.

Can I do it? I hope so, but only time will tell.

Has everyone else set their goals, or am I the last one in the pool?

5 comments to 2011 Writing Goals – Finally, eh?

  • 🙂 Yay goals! Hm… I should take a page from your book and add to make a decision on trunking some of the short stories that “I’ve been meaning to finish” at the end of the year if I haven’t gotten to them.

    Very good luck on the queries. I hope you don’t need 25 either… unless it’s a additional queries for another finished fiction project!!

    • Hi Trish! I so dislike trunking stories….I feel like if I could just change one or two things, I can make it all better. Alas…that’s not always the case. I do save mine, just in case I get fresh inspiration down the road…. Thanks for the luck!

  • Kelly,
    Talk about setting the bar high! Even if you do half of that, it’s pretty good. You ARE aware of the legal limit on hours in a day, aren’t you? You’re not allowed to put in more than 24. I think that’s in the Constitution somewhere.
    On the other hand, lists of goals look longer when viewed from a point before you’ve done any of them, so maybe they’re well within reach.
    Good luck, and may you reach and even exceed all your goals!

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