Every year about this time, my critique partner and I start asking one another this question. We take a few weeks to think about it and then we discuss it.
Are our goals realistic and measurable? How will we know when we’ve reached our goals? Are they goals we can reach (e.g. finish a manuscript) as opposed to goals that someone else has to take an active role in completing (e.g. nab an agent)?
We’ve been doing this for a few years now, so we’ve gotten pretty good at setting goals that work. But this year? My life blew up–not in a bad way. Things just…changed. I went back to work full-time, for one. That will wreak havoc on a writing schedule like you wouldn’t believe.
But, more importantly, something else happened. Halfway through the year, I realized my goals that I’d put so much thought and planning into were no longer a good fit for me.
For one thing, they weren’t realistic anymore. No more writing for three to four hours a day for me. I’m lucky to get an hour. I have to make each second count. Maybe, instead of counting words, I needed to go back to counting time. A half hour here, fifteen minutes there–it adds up.
I was working on the third Infamous book (and I was a good ways into it) when it occurred to me I was pushing myself–and it was a push, not a stroll–down a road I no longer wanted to go down. Maybe I will in the future, but for now? It’s not right for me.
So when I make my goals this year, I’m trying to be more cognizant of what I need to be successful, to meet the goals I set. Obviously, they’re not going to be as extravagant as they were in years past–when I could devote all of my energy to writing all day.
Please don’t misunderstand me–I don’t regret giving up my full time writing life. There’s been a lot of good to come from my going back to work. I could even argue that it helps me refill the creative well, to stay connected to people so I can populate my stories.
Just know that I’m going to try to accomplish a lot in the coming years. I’m playing the long game now. It’s no longer about getting my books out–no matter what. It’s about quality and it’s about making sure I am who I want to be, as a writer.
Regardless, I encourage you–writer or no–to think about your own 2019. What do you want to accomplish? What will you do to make it a banner year?