Monday, December 31, 2012

Writing Goals - Why bother?

Posted by Jennifer Baylor at The Writing Cocoon.  
Filed under "The Mental Game"

These guys: probably stick to goals.

No, the question isn't rhetorical, and people, I'm only kidding a little with this title. I'm having to expend extraordinary energy to keep from rolling my eyes at the idea of setting my writing goals for 2013. Call it my bad attitude or call it cynicism after a bust 2012, or maybe I'm just lazy. However, I know, and you probably have figured out, what this rolling-lurching sensation in my gut is really about, and that, my friends, is fear of failure.

You see, the first step in coming up with some reasonable professional or personal goals is to take a good, hard look at where you're at right now. (At least) one of the links below, mentions reviewing goals and progress towards goals and adjusting accordingly. Eek. This is where I'm struggling a bit. I didn't make much progress last year. I submitted ONE story out of my goal of twenty-four. One out of Twenty-four, folks.

And my novel, well, let me tell you a little story about that. I picked up the Beast Binder yesterday(that's what I've named this WIP, The Beast), and found the camera charger underneath it. We've been looking for that charger since May. The binder hasn't been moved (or dusted around - gods I'm a terrible housekeeper) since May!

How am I supposed to set goals after such a poor showing? Yes, yes - it was a trying year. But, I've got to start looking at this as my day job, and you can't take nine months off from your day job due to bereavement and stress. Without making a punching bag out of myself, I have to find some way to keep working, even when life serves me a couple of backhanded zingers (or twenty) between the eyes. I think it's called being an adult.

Then, there is the point (waving its little hand from the back of the room and begging to be noticed), that even though I didn't make great progress, I still made some progress. Look at me being all the-glass-is-half-full, it must be the yoga training.

Seriously though, I did submit one story, which is more than I've submitted since I was eighteen. And, I joined a writing class where we read out loud our stories every week, which has been a tremendous experience. Can't recommend enough the value of a writing group. I've written six new stories since September, and a couple of them received rave reviews from the readers. It is something.

So, I'm going back through my blog roll and trying to find some inspiration for Goal Setting 2013: The Wrath of The Beast. Below you will find my list of must-read blogs for goal setting 2013.

Anyone have some great articles or posts on writing goals? Link 'em up in the comments, please.

Freelancer's Survival Guide:
Kristine Katheryn Rusch's blog is a new one to me. Her "Freelancer's Survival Guide" has inspired and comforted me, and I can't recommend it enough, especially if you have left your day job to pursue writing (or whatever your passion) full-time. It is available on her blog, but you are going to want a copy of your own. I think that the tips in this guide can apply for writers, even if you haven't left that day job. There are some great sections that apply for goal setting (Goals and Dreams, Business Plan), but the guide also gives tips on how to meet your goals, too.

Taking stock and setting goals:
This series of three posts (well the whole site is fantastic) from Dean Wesley Smith, has helped me to clarify where I should be spending my time as a beginner writer. Great summary of the world of writing/publishing in 2012, and smart, sensible tips for the beginner writer planning their 2013.

Konrath's Resolutions for Writers:
Inspirational, funny, no-nonsense and practical. The "2006" resolution list covers it all, but read through them all for inspiration.

Moira Allen's Setting Effective Writing Goals:
Does just what it says on the tin. Step-by-step on how to set effective writing goals.

Goals are Worthless If..:  
Brian Jud's checklist is great for refining your goal list.

For when you're sick of blog posts on goal setting, a little comic relief from The Character Therapist.
Topical and funny cat pictures for the writer....need I say more?


  1. The problem with goals sometimes is, once we set them, we forget that they CAN move. Sometimes they SHOULD move, because we've set them too high or too far, or too close, for that matter. My own writing goals are sort of generic (I won't say 'write 2000 words/day on my WiP' for example) but they do have specific steps I can take to get there. I think the real trick of goal setting is in making sure they're realistic for your situation, and being willing to move them if (and that's a big if) your circumstances change or you find they were unrealistic in the first place. Happy 2013!

    1. Excellent point, Jeff! I think this is something I've not considered in the past, and then I feel like a failure. I've been thinking that I will have a monthly review of my goals, or somesuch, so that I can adjust as needed. The goals need to be more of a living, breathing thing. As writers, we have to balance flexibility and creativity with a need to make our own structure. I sort of get perfect-mad and forget about flexibility.