Coming Soon: A New Year

With Christmas over, it means it's time to think about New Year's Resolutions. "I resolve to fill in the blank in 2010." But while we're all thinking of passing up anything with more than 200 calories, let's focus more on goals for the year, especially writing goals.

What are goals? Dictionary.com defines a goal as the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end. Synonyms are target; purpose, object, objective, intent, intention. Good words! Even better because they can help us make goals.

Reaching a goal takes effort.

One caution when creating a goal. Aim for goals that can be achieved. A goal needs to be within your control. For instance, a goal of selling a book isn't completely achievable. None of us can control what or when an editor or publisher will buy, but what we can do is write the book and submit it.

If you have a large goal for the year, break it down into smaller ones. Large goals, such as submitting a manuscript, should be a series of small, achievable goals.

1. Find the right publisher for your idea.

2. If research is needed, do as much as possible before starting to write. That doesn't mean that once you're into the writing you can't look up specific information you need, but knowing a little about your hero or heroine's career from the beginning can mean not having to go back and revise later.

3. For those who plot, do it now. For those who don't, and idea of the beginning, middle, and end of your book can be a big help and keep you focused.

4. Writing a book definitely requires writing pages. But what if writing 200 to 300+ pages seems like a daunting task? Break it down! It's been said countless times that if a writer writes only one page a day, at the end of a year there would be 365 pages written. That's equivalent to 91,250 words!

But maybe you aren't ready to submit a book to a publisher. What other goals might you be thinking about?

Coming up with a story idea? Ideas are everywhere! Watch the news, read a newspaper, even watching people in the mall can generate an idea. If you have an idea, but don't know how to work it into a book, try brainstorming with friends or a critique group or partner. 'What if' is great way to put a story together.

Entering a contest? Kick off 2010 with WARA's Right Hook contest in March, followed by our Flyover contest in June, and ending with our HEA (Happily Ever After) contest in November. Work on entering each of these contests throughout the year, and you may end up with a finished book by this time next year. If you're an RWA member, many chapters have contests each year. Those can range from the opening to the first chapter or even a specific type of scene.

Check the internet for more ideas on how to make and achieve your goals. You can start with tips from Renee Knowles' Do You Have a Plan. Good luck!

6 comments:

Roxann Delaney said...

I found another great article about setting goals that I thought I'd share.

Ready, Set, Go...als

Becky A said...

Happy New Year's Eve, Miss Roxann. Maybe being a goal setter is what separates the men from the boys or in our case; the authors from the writers. Anyone with pen and paper can write because writing is simply putting words on to paper (preferably good words :), but only the determined become authors. When I first read your blog I went, ick, and moved on because I don't like to feel pressured, even from myself. (And unfortunately, I can be pretty mean when something is important!) However I know that you are right and I need to just suck it up, put it in black and white, and then do it. Goals are important motivators and help to break things into more manageable bites if done correctly. So here's my first "bite"; I'm going to finish the book I'm working on, and then go back and finish the second book in my trilogy. Aacckk! I hate this, but I know it's for my own good so thanks for a swift kick on my south end. You done good! :)

Pat Davids said...

I always set goals for the New Year. Especially writing goals. I can't say I always make them, but I know where I am and where I want to be with my writing. The only way to get there is hard work.
Pat

Roxann Delaney said...

Happy New Year's Eve to you, too, Becky. Don't overload yourself with too much when it comes to goals. If it's a long term goal, be sure to build in some extra days for all those things that come up that you can't avoid. As Rosanna Rosannadanna used to say, it's always something. :)

I already have one goal for the new year. 3 proposals. I want to send them the week of Jan. 17, along with a contracted and finished book. It's a goal from this year that came midway through the year, but doesn't end until next year. Confused? I am! After that, I have no idea, but I'm sure I can come up with something. Idle hands, and all that. *grin*

Roxann Delaney said...

Pat, sometimes outside influences keep us from sticking to a goal. I have a vague one in mind for my year, but won't be able to make it solid until later.

However, after that Jan. 17th goal mentioned above, as soon as it's met, I'm going to sort and toss and clean! That could take all year. LOL

Nina Sipes said...

I've been looking at this goal thing and found an interesting command. Don't confuse a ToDo List with Goal setting. The idea is that a Goal will have its own ToDo List to accomplish it. A goal set to 'clean the toilet' may be considered a goal to some, but as far as a meaningful, soul satisfying, forward thinking, book writing goal--it lacks a bit.

I've determined to begin a few habits. When those habits are ingrained and truly habits, then my goal will be met...er...each of the habits is a goal....er.....rat's feet! This goal thing is tricky!