Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012 - Goal Setting from Someone Other Than Me

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 :)


Good stuff

* 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 Too many unpublished writers don't take themself seriously, and Christine's kooky system of paying herself in quarters and for rejections always makes me smile!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!


  1. Lovely post Ellen and congrats on completing 2nd draft of your novel. Thats fantastic.

    2 points - you dissing your feature in a national mag.. National is national and it is not easy to get stuff into magazines here. So well done.

    Second is you are so right about writers being writers regardless of whether they have been published yet.

    So well done you and I look foward to seeing your list of goals on Friday...

  2. Barbara, you're right - I'm far too Irish sometimes, dissing my own achievements! I had a short piece in the readers' issue of U magazine - an unpaid gig but still a fantastic credit and it's a piece I'm really proud of (about living with panic disorder).

    Sometimes we need someone else to remind us not to be so hard on ourselves, thanks for stepping in this time!

  3. Hi Ellen-I love your blog and this post. Thanks so much for including me in it. You will attain your goals and reach your dreams. I know it. We can only control one thing: working for it. You will get there.

    Hugs and come see me tomorrow on the Veranda. I have a special thank you blog to you and all my friends.


  4. In order: Edit Silent Oath and submit it to my publisher. Write Soul Mates. Have the best damn launch day I can manage.

  5. I like Christine's take on goals. They are movable objects. Happy New Year, Ellen.

  6. Christine, you're very welcome :) You were included on merit, not because I'm being nice - your posts are genuinely the most helpful I've found. I think the fact that they are one person's experience rather than an expert presuming to speak for everyone makes a big difference. Looking forward to your post tomorrow!

    Paul, sounds fantastic! Hope I can be involved in your launch day.

    Karen, happy new year to you too! And I agree - for example, a few years ago I would never have considered self-publishing. Now it is simply another option available to writers, to be considered alongside everything else. Things change all the time, and we need to change with them.

  7. I really felt inspired by Christine's blog on goalsetting. She does spreadsheets and everything! Happy new year, Ellen! Wishing you much success with all of your writing goals.

  8. Good luck with all your goals. I'm super impressed and can't wait to see what the year has in store for you. New follower :)

  9. Karen, I know! I've recently started doing spreadsheets for my goals and I must admit that the opportunity to play with fonts and background colours is enjoyable even if I never read them again :)

    Wishing you much success as well.

    Hi Tasha, nice to 'meet' you! Loved your Insecure Writers' Support Group post so am also a new follower!

  10. Goals for 2012? Hmm. How about: Just keep writing and just keep revising and just keep improving!! ha. What else do we need? Oh, yeah, chocolate. Plenty of chocolate.

  11. To finish my works in progress and get started on the next one!


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