Writing Goals for the New Year
I’ve never been a massive fan of New Year’s Resolutions.
That may just be my fiance’s contrarianism manifesting in me, but I think that the idea is a bit silly. Swearing off something has never been my jam (I never even made it past the first Friday in Lent as a kid), and saying that you’re going to do more of something feels ephemeral without a set goal in mind.
Worst of all, many resolutions — not all, but many of the most readily available examples — come from self-disparaging or fat-shamey places, rather than as avenues of personal growth and renewal. And in the end, these resolutions are so often unattainable simply because there is no concrete goal. You can’t really succeed at going to the gym more — you can only really fail at it by not going to the gym enough. But, in my opinion, setting a concrete expectation for yourself (I’ll exercise at least twice a week) allows you to assess your progress from a practical standpoint.
That being said, I love the energy of a renewal at the start of a new year. I think that it can be a powerful time to bring about changes in yourself, and changes in the way others see you. For example, I first publicly came out as trans on Facebook on January 1st of 2018, styling it as a “New Year, New Me” post. Though that was a bit tongue-in-cheek, the intention was true. I wanted to make sure that people knew that I wanted them to think of me differently in the new year. To do that, I made a plan and assessed my expectations of it, and then executed it. The result was more rewarding than any half-assed resolution I’d ever made in the past.
Setting a goal and styling it as a self-renewal can be an extremely rewarding experience. As I have entered a portion of my life in which my writing has taken center stage, I think it’s only appropriate that my goals this year be oriented toward my writing. And, in the spirit of making and executing a plan, I want my writing goals to be both numbered and attainable. I don’t just want to post more fiction or get published. My New Years writing goals are meant to be ways to help me refocus my writing and think critically about what I want to get out of it.
With all this in mind, my New Years Writing Goals are as follows:
Get up to 150 Twitter followers
This feels like a modest goal, but honestly, I think it’ll be difficult for me. Putting myself out there on social media has only gotten harder for me as I’ve gotten older, but I know that it’s important to start trying to build a following behind my writing. My hope is that with more frequent content postings, along with occasional more exciting news, I’ll be able to get a lot more followers than I have now!
Put out at least 1 story a month
My writing deserves to be given the chance to be read, and it isn’t getting that as long as it’s sitting on my computer or caught up in the slush piles of magazines. I want to put out at least 1 piece of fiction out each month this year. This doesn’t include work that gets accepted to magazines and anthologies — those happy moments will still happen, I hope, but I need to get used to just putting myself out there and letting others read my work, so that I can improve as a writer.
Publish at least 1 article a month
I write articles for my local co-op, and occasionally I post things on Medium. I want to flex my nonfiction muscles more and more, and so I am going to make a goal of releasing at LEAST one non-fiction article each month (January is, fortunately, covered by my article about the Riverwest Co-op’s Spaghetti Dinner!)
Appear in 1 professional fiction magazine
I still want to hold onto a piece of my traditional publishing dream this year, even if I’m actively trying to reassess my vision of success. Though I am going to back away from pursuing this as aggressively as I have over the past four months, I still want it to be a part of my process.
Write a novel
Whoof! This one’s a doozy, but it’s very important to me. I’ve written two novels, both of which are currently being rather aggressively edited, but it’s been a while since I started a new novel with any amount of seriousness. Strangely enough, these four months have been terrible for my long-form fiction writing — I’ve been so focused on getting my shorts published and perfecting my novels that I haven’t had much time to just lose myself in a novel. I’ve got a handful of ideas kicking around, and I plan to have at least one of those ideas put down into at least a rough draft by the time the year is up!
Update this blog weekly!
This is a hell of a goal to break right away, since I’ll be out of town next week, but I want this space to grow, and so I’m including this one here. I need to improve my blogging skills, and exercise my ability to come up with weekly topics. So, starting when I get back from my trip, I plan to update this blog weekly! (Somehow, this goal feels even harder than the novel).
I think that these five writing goals will be achievable, but more importantly, I think that they are transformative. If I can hold myself to these goals, it will change the way I think about my own writing and give more people the opportunity to read my work. I’m excited to try and execute them — and besides, now that they’re on the internet, it’s not like I can pretend I didn’t set them! Even if I don’t achieve all six goals, I know that trying to complete them will lead to positive changes in my life and my writing.
Thank you for reading and, of course, Happy New Year!