Happy 2012, everyone! I hope this turns out to be a wonderful year and everyone's writing - and non-writing - dreams come true.
A new year is traditionally a time for looking back, reviewing, and setting goals. I don't know much about this, but the good news is that after a short review, I'll be turning you over to someone who does :)
* I finished the second draft of Becky, my 2010 Nanowrimo novel, which included a much-improved ending.
* Was a co-ML for Nanowrimo again
* Won Nanowrimo in spite of a few health problems surfacing that month
* Actually quite liked the book I started during Nano
* Had a piece published in a national magazine (nationally distributed in a tiny country, admittedly, but still!)
Not so good stuff
* Decided to rewrite Becky a third time, so didn't query at all as I felt it wasn't strong enough.
* Didn't make my personal Nano target of a completed first draft. and also didn't manage to do that by the end of December, either.
* Didn't get paid for any writing.
So I have some things to build on, and some things to improve. It could be worse!
I am not very good at goal-setting. I either go for crazily unattainable goals in the hope that they will motivate me, or I set the bar so low that I become complacent and keep telling myself it'll be so easy that I don't have to start working yet, until the deadline sneaks up on me, coshes me over the head and steals my self-respect.
Christine, however, seems to be rather good at it, so I'm going to direct anyone setting goals for 2012 - and indeed, anyone who ins't, because her positive attitude is infectious! - to her fantastic blog. I found these posts especially helpful:
Christine's method of goal-setting
An example of Christine's completed goal list
Some proof that her method works for her!
There are a few reasons why I think Christine, who doesn't claim to be an expert goal-setter, is a fantastic resource. Firstly, she is a devoted wife and mom who blogs about the very real challenges of handling a home, family and writing career simultaneously. She also takes herself incredibly seriously as a writer, even though she hasn't published yet (and once you get to know her, you'll see the emphasis is on the 'yet'). Too many unpublished writers don't take themself seriously, and Christine's kooky system of paying herself in quarters and for rejections always makes me smile!
And finally, Christine embodies a lesson every writer needs - be flexible. She says:
My goals aren't immovable objects I must reach. They are check points along life's highway. Sometimes they are easy hills to climb and conquer. Other times they are not. Occasionally, life throws me a curveball, and I have to take a detour which leads to unexpected places. And then my life journey's GPS signal has to recalculate the route.
Amen. Sometimes life gets in the way - work becomes demanding, family members fall ill, friends are inconsiderately born at a time of year when your book is at a critical stage. And we give ourselves plenty of flack for not writing often enough, well enough or artistically enough. The art of giving oneself a break is a key one for all writers to learn.
So what are your goals for 2012? I'll be sharing my full list on Friday but would love some inspiration before then!