Friday, January 1st, 2010

Have You Resolved?

I have not. However, I am  setting a few goals for myself.

A few years ago I wrote a post on my old Web site about not making resolutions for the new year. I’d have to dredge it up from the archives to quote myself accurately, but my reasoning went along the lines of:

“If you don’t make resolutions, you don’t have to worry about breaking them.”

Short-sighted, perhaps, but it left me feeling perfectly content in December when others were lamenting their lack of fortitude and inability to meet their resolutions (or scrambling madly to attain what a little pre-planning during the year would have accomplished…with much less fuss.)

Now, I simply make goals. I know it’s just semantics, but I’m a wordsmith, right? Semantics are my territory!

Last year I set a modest daily goal, and allowed myself to count my blog posts as part of that goal. I exceeded my goal, nearly doubling what I set out to do.

Don’t applaud yet.

I deliberately picked a small number of words to meet because I work full time, have a 2+ hour commute daily and a youngster…

Time is slim. So I picked a number which I thought was challenging, but doable.

As I’m reviewing my records (in columnar format in a spreadsheet, with a page for each month and a line for each day, and a “yearly” page with all the months at a glance with auto percentages and red font for negative goals) because I’m just analytical like that…I realized that I’d missed my own point.

I did meet my goal of a certain amount of words per day, but I didn’t actually write EVERY day. Except for the 1st, I wrote every day in January 2009, February only has a few days filled in, the rest of the year is better…especially October, when I went on my Writer’s Retreat… but on average, I failed to write daily.

In fact, I failed to write more than 50% of all days last year….and managed to produce quite a bit of stuff: some of which was published in 2009, some of which has been accepted, and much of which is making it’s rounds to editors now.

(And now I’m sitting here wondering how much more I could have accomplished in 2009 if I’d just considered my goal in a different light.)

I’m upping the ante this year.

My goal is to write between 57 and 71% of the days of the year. The difference between the two is one day a week. Writing four days out of seven = 57% of the time; five days out of seven is 71%. I’m reserving the weekends for family, even though these are the two days that I actually have the most time to write.

I’ll be content to meet 57%. I’ll be ecstatic if I manage 60% or better. Even if I don’t constrain myself to a minimum word count, I should still see the numbers increase for 2010.

My other main goal is to get my office organized. Does anyone else operate out of boxes?

This year, stuff is getting into the filing cabinet. I started doing a bit of that as I prepared for my retreat in September, but I’m determined to get the desk cleaned off, the boxes emptied, and everything still on floppies transferred to some other media.

Some minor goals include trying out Simon Haynes ywriter software with one of the novels I’m working on. I’m also going to try Writer’s Dreamkit software. I bought and tried it a long time ago and didn’t like it…but I’m going to give it a second chance. I’ll write about both here on the blog when I’ve evaluated them.

Finally, I want to get out more and meet more people, whether it’s an additional conference, a reading or a book store. In fact…just about anywhere will do.

So… what about you? Are you resolving?

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