Monday, January 3, 2011

A Look Back, A Look Ahead

Honey Bear and I set some personal and family goals last night, and it got me thinking about my writing goals, both for this year and for last year. Here are the highlights.

Writing goal for 2010: Write at least five hours a week.

Pretty easy, right? I set this goal for several reasons. First, I didn’t want to put an artificial deadline on Bob, because artificial deadlines sometimes produce artificial results. Also, since I had a six-month-old baby in the house, I felt like I wasn’t writing as much as I wanted to--or needed to--to be able to finish Bob in a reasonable amount of time. At the same time, I knew I wouldn’t be able to devote serious energy to my writing until Lady settled into a better sleep routine.

I’m happy to report that, within a few months of setting that goal, I was easily smashing it. Lady grew up a little, so she started taking regular naps and going down for bed at a predictable time each night. And since Honey Bear was still doing the whole graduate school thing (in addition to holding down a full-time job), I had plenty of time to write while he was doing homework.

Writing goal #1 for 2011: Finish Bob’s revision by the first week in February.

You’ll notice that this first goal is an artificial deadline:) Happily, it’s an artificial deadline that’s neither too close nor too far-out. I may even finish ahead of schedule. More details in the weeks to come.

Writing goal #2 for 2011: Complete another manuscript by the end of the year.

Oh, look, another artificial deadline, and a trickier one at that. I still have a few ideas floating around somewhere in my head, but I haven’t committed serious brainpower to them yet, since I’ve been working on Bob’s revision. Still, I think this goal will be an attainable challenge. I’ve learned a little about pacing myself this past year, and I’m a much better self-editor now than I was a year ago (which means I can usually spot the problem areas in a manuscript more quickly). I’m excited to see where this goal takes me and how it turns out.

Okay, your turn. What goals, writing or otherwise, have you set for yourself this year, and how did last year’s goals turn out?


A.L. Sonnichsen said...

Thanks for posting this, Krista. I hadn't thought about some goals being artifical, but you're absolutely right. Still, it's good to have a deadline. Congratulations on all you accomplished in 2010. That's incredible! Especially with a little baby in the house. :)

I'm excited about your 2011 goals. I don't have any goals yet. I think I have five ideas for books I'd like to write, but with the new baby on her way, I don't have the heart to get my hopes up about starting any of them ... or finishing the one I'm already in the middle of editing. I will probably go with a 2-hour a week writing goal and see how that goes. LOL! :)


Elena Solodow said...

Last year's goal was to start querying, which I happily accomplished.

This year's is to land an agent and finish my sequel.

Jenilyn Tolley said...

As far as long-term goals, I'd like to finish writing the manuscript that I've been toying around with and I'd like to finish at least one rounds of revisions on one that I put away at the beginning of the year. I have to break things down, though, and so my smaller goal is to write 5000 words a week. We'll see if that needs to be adjusted or not.

Good luck with your goals!

Matthew Rush said...

Great goals! I'm trying to write more and blog less this year, but I never make black and white goals like that because then I just fail at meeting them.

Krista V. said...

Amy, when you have a newborn, I think a small hours-per-week target is the best kind of goal. I should mention, though, that I didn't write AT ALL until Lady was four months old. Newborns are way more work that I ever could have imagined. (Oh, and I'm still hoping for a January twentieth birthday for Baby Sonnichsen #5 - that is, unless you're ready to be finished with this pregnancy, in which case I'm hoping for a January fourth birthday:) )

Elena, I'm totally with you on the whole land-an-agent goal:) I just don't want to make it an official goal, since I have so little control over it.

Jeni, your long-term goals sound great, and your short-term one as well. Five thousand words a week is ambitious (or it would be for me, at least). Best of luck with that.

Matthew, aren't we all trying to write more and blog less? :) And I totally know what you mean about failing at black-and-white goals. Still, if there isn't a line in the sand, so to speak, how will you know if you achieve it? A goal doesn't have to be overly difficult (for instance, you might say you're going to take thirty minutes of blogging time every day and convert it to writing time), but I'm a big fan of specific, measurable goals.

Shari said...

Isn't it fun to look back and see exactly how much writing you've accomplished in a year? Your goals for 2011 sound great - and definitely possible. Are you a "one project at a time" person, and that's why you're holding off on devoting to another manuscript until Bob is finished?

My writing goal for 2010 was to complete my current manuscript and query for it. I did both, and somehow managed to find time to write a second novel and start sending that one out (albeit that last step was very late in the year). For 2011? Find an agent, write the sequel to my most recent book, and possibly (hopefully!) tackle another new one :-)

Carol Riggs said...

Oh yes, I like that--at least 5 hours a week, or an average of 1 hour a day. I hope I do at least that! Good luck with Bob's revision, and starting the new one! You can do it!

Stephanie@thecrackedslipper said...

Hi there! I'm setting a goal for you to post more awesome agent interviews ;)

My current goal is to finish WIP by February, and then complete part three of trilogy by June-ish. Some have said it makes no sense to write a trilogy before the first one is published...but the story is talking to me, so I guess I'm listening to it.

Good luck to all in 2011!

Pam Harris said...

We're both pretty much on the same track with the writing goals. I definitely plan to finish my revisions at the beginning of the year, and I would love to complete 2 additional manuscripts. Wishful thinking, huh? :)

Krista V. said...

Shari, I'm definitely a one-project-at-a-time sort of gal. (However did you guess? :) ) I think if I were ever get to the point where I knew my manuscript had a home, I'd be able to let it go and work on something else, but while I'm stuck in this limbo land, I find it hard to focus on anything but my main project. Good luck with your 2011 goals!

Carol, thanks for the encouragement! Good luck with your own writing.

Stephanie, more agent interviews to come! Definitely stay tuned...

Happy to be on the same writing track with you, Pam:) Good luck with those revisions - and with submissions in a bit.

Myrna Foster said...

I mostly met my writing and revision goals for last year, but I thought I'd be querying by fall. The story still isn't quite right though.

My artificial deadlines actually look a lot like yours, only you're ahead of me on last year's manuscript, and I'm ahead of you on this year's. That should work out when we need readers, eh?

Thanks for being such a great friend.

Holly said...

Myrna, I've been meaning to say how much I love your avatar.

Great goals, everybody. My goals for 2011: query my novel (about to happen in January) and finish the draft of the next one.

What helps me meet deadlines: I exchange chapters by email with a critique partner, who is both honest and encouraging. I also have coffee and share pages with my once a month writing group -- and they're honest and encouraging, too. It's like turning in homework. I never would have finished my novel without these wonderful people.

Happy New Year, everybody.

Krista V. said...

Myrna, thank YOU for being such a great friend. I hope you're feeling better. And I can't wait to read the prequel.

Holly, I'm so excited for you. I took a query break through the holidays (and while I was finishing this revision), but I'm getting ready to hop back on the roller coaster. Bestest best of luck to you.

Stephanie@thecrackedslipper said...

I think it's a great idea to focus on words per week, sometimes even month. I just can't think in terms of 1,000 words a day. My beloved Stephen King says we should all aim to write four hours a day and read four hours a day. Oh, to have such time!

I find if I set a weekly goal, or even a date a couple weeks out to get to point X, it's more manageable. That way the random, up-until-3am 3000 word outlays make up for the weekends when the soccer-and-ballet runaround keeps me from writing one single sentence!

Myrna Foster said...

Thanks, Holly! Nathan Hale ( drew it. He's one of my favorite picture book writers/illustrators.

Holly said...

Myrna, he really did a beautiful job. He captured your face, plus the jaunty hat suggests adventure and imagination.

Krista V. said...

Stephanie, I like the freedom of being able to meet a goal within a longer timeframe, too, since day-to-day life often interferes. (Plus, two hours on, say, Thursday may end up being a lot more productive than two hours on Tuesday.)

I'm with Holly - I love Myrna's new avatar. And Holly, you're exactly right when you say Mr. Hale captured both Myrna's look and her personality:)

Abby Minard said...

Your goals sound great! Mine are to finish revising and start querying by spring. But I'm not setting that in stone- I'm like you, where I don't want to cut corners just to make a goal. It'll happen when it's ready!

Krista V. said...

Abby, ditto:)