’09 writing goals in review

If you set 2009 writing goals and haven’t met them this year, don’t despair. Try this in 2010:

1. Set a more realistic goal.
Were your goals too ambitious? If you have a full-time job, kids, and your goal was to write, edit and send out a brand new novel this year, that was probably too ambitious. It takes a lot of mental and emotional energy to write a novel, and expending that kind of energy takes a lot of time. Give yourself a break.

I might have met my financial goal this year if I had taken one more freelance job, but I needed that time to edit one of my novels. Next year, I will be more realistic about my freelance vs. fiction-writing time.

2. Don’t beat yourself up.
If the goals you set out were pretty realistic but you still didn’t meet all of them, think about why that happened. If you had some unavoidable life events, it’s great that you dealt with those! Life is more important than writing. It is. Truly.

Dealing with a sick parent for several months meant I didn’t develop a picture book idea. Next year, barring any unexpected issues, I should be able to get this one done.

3. Set smaller weekly goals.
If your goals were realistic and there were no major write-distracting events, you might be dealing with fear. In this case you need to ease yourself into writing, like stepping into a cold lake. You know the water will feel warmer once you’re immersed, you just have to get past the belly area. Oooh! Freezy! Set small goals in short time-frames so you’re not overwhelmed. The thought of writing a whole novel in a year is daunting, but the thought of describing a main character, setting, or writing one scene of dialogue in 7 days isn’t.

4. Post your goals.
If you had some goals but didn’t meet them, maybe they weren’t staring you in the face. I find that having a bulletin board with a list of my goals is extremely helpful for keeping me on track. This year I even did one of those fund-o-meter things where I tallied up how much money I had made. It was nice to see that meter go up even though I didn’t quite get to the top.

Have fun dreaming up your 2010 goals. If you’d like to share them with me, I’d be happy to see them.