Sunday, January 1, 2012

My 2012 goals

Happy New Year, everyone! I guess today's the day everyone posts their goals for the year. 2011 was a fantastic year for me writing-wise, which is odd because I didn't even set any specific writing goals last year. I published one novella (and was nominated for an award!), got contracts for two more, and sold two short stories. Not bad at all.

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.
At 4000 words/week (200K words/year), I have wiggle room for more goals, such as starting a new WIP. I'll set new goals after reaching the ones I listed above.

What are you writing goals (or any other goals) this year? What did you learn in 2011 that will help you reach them?