The best part is I learned a LOT about how I work best. Setting goals too far in advance, like creating a five or ten year plan, is not always a good idea because there are things you can learn only by doing, and those things affect how you move forward with your plan. I know that's true for me. By diving head first into the publishing process in 2011, I developed my idiosyncratic editing process, learned my optimum writing pace, and got a better sense of my storytelling strengths and weaknesses. Two years ago, I didn't have a clue about any of these things, so how could I possibly incorporate them into a multi-year plan?
Armed with what I learned in 2011, I put together my 2012 goal list:
- Write 4000 words a week, every week (with 2 weeks off as vacation). This doesn't sound like much, but for me it's a sustainable pace that provides forward motion on new work while allowing plenty of time for revisions, promotion, research, etc.
- I enjoy revising much more than writing first drafts, so I didn't set specific editing goals. I simply edit until the story is "done" (or due, whichever comes first).
- Write, edit, and submit my contracted short story (by end of February).
- Edit and submit my two category romance WIPs to Harlequin/Mills & Boon, then work my way down the publisher list if HM&B rejects me. The editing process itself will involve pushing both WIPs through a modified version of Donald Maass's Breakout Novel checklist.
- Write the first draft (about 100K words) of my novel. There should be enough time left in the year to start edits as well.
- Research agents and make a list of at least 50 target agents.
What are you writing goals (or any other goals) this year? What did you learn in 2011 that will help you reach them?