Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Grueling Goals

This week we're talking about our writing goals for 2011. I briefly mentioned my goals on my blog, here, but I'm going to expand on that post today.

Last year I changed my tactics and decided to focus on only one book rather than working on which ever one struck my fancy. It didn't work out the way I wanted it to - not even close. I thought if I focused on only one book at a time, I'd get them completed faster and have multiple books done by the end of 2010. I had the idea that jumping around from book to book was wasting time as I had nothing ready for submission yet. I took a workshop in January of last year and set out goals to have at least 5 books done by December.

Not even close. I don't even have one book fully ready. Yes, I am closer than I was at the start of the year, but not where I really want to be.

Granted, I did begin submissions for Burden of Prophecy, part 1 of my faery series, but the two rejections and NaNo made me realize the book was not finished.

So, I decided to go back to my old ways and work on whichever story strikes my fancy. I was getting tired of the one book I forced myself to work on last year, so I switched. So far it's proven a good decision as I'm excited and eager to write and even edit.

My goals for this year I hope are more realistic and actually attainable. I'm putting my main focus into only two books, rather than the 5 I set out to finish last year.

While I'll still skip around to whatever books I feel inspired to work on, I set a goal to have these two start submission rounds this year - by May at the latest for Burden of Prophecy and the other - Cleanse Fire - I'm getting ready for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. So right now most of my time is spent on editing Cleanse Fire, but I visit Burden of Prophecy every once in a while.

One thing I need to do for this year, to help both of these stories get off the ground, is more promotion. Right now I talk about both of them in general terms, like in this post here. I need to really start full promotion, especially for Cleanse Fire. I'm going to see about setting up a Facebook Fan page again. Last time it was pretty much a failure, and while I'm not sure of the exact reason why, I do have a few things I want to try differently this time. We'll see how it goes. (In fact, I might create that page today!)

2010 wasn't a total failure. I did discover that skipping around from book to book depending on my mood, is the best thing for me. It's how my brain works naturally and trying to force myself to work on only one fried my mind for sure. I really got discouraged doing this, especially when the rejections came in. Not that I was rejected but I realized that after everything, the story STILL wasn't done.

So, I'm going back to my old ways and we'll see how far we get this year! What about your guys? Did you discover some things about yourself this year or reach a major goal?


  1. I discovered that - even though I KNEW I was a tough ole bastard to begin with, 2010 made me tougher than I ever thought I could be.

    Life threw every piece of crap at me and then some - but I survived. I might not smell as sweet, but nevertheless, I proved to myself when the going gets tough - I take a day or so to bemoan and whine like a puppy, then I grab myself by the cojones and walk funny until the problem magically goes away... (okay, I'm kidding. The problem never magically goes a way and I'm usually left in an awkward situation, with my hand down my pants. Typical for me, yet hard to type that way...)

    At the end of the year, I was down on myself because I only met 14 out of the 15 goals set for myself -- then I reminded myself I was only human, and meeting the 14 goals I DID was a miracle in itself (especially after the kind of year I had.) I stopped the self flagellation and instead, patted myself on the back.

    I wish for you a most wonderful 2011 and may all your writing goals be met with success.

  2. I'm not one to set a bunch of goals or resolutions. I try to take it a day at a time for the most part. As far as writing goals and hopes...I wanted to just write whatever came to me, and I did. A second hope was to get an agent, and I did. In 2011 I hope to get published and develop my editing career. So, we'll see what happens. Doors will open and close as I move along this journey...I'll take them one at a time. :)

    Happy 2011.

  3. I realized that, in order to get published, you have to: 1) have a plan and 2) know what the hell you're doing.

    I've pretty much been winging it these last few or 20 years, so I'm going with a defined plan this year.

    Good luck to you and J.D. with ABNA as well. I'm not doing it this and neither is C.J., so you won't have to worry about conflicting loyalties (or, at least, I won't).

  4. George: I'm glad you were able to get things accomplished this year despite the hard stuff life through at ya. It shows your determination!

    Lynn: Yes, doors do open and close all the time in this industry. It's good to just roll with the punches. While I make goals - mostly because I'll just sit on my butt and do nothing if I don't - I also just go with the flow of things and try not to stress too much. (Try being the opperative word.)

    Greg: A defined plan is a good idea Greg. And thanks for the luck! It's the first contest I've ever entered, so I'm really nervous but excited about it. J.D. and I are working every night to get our stories ready and I think by this point we are already cross-eyed! But, it'll be worth it. Even if my book doesn't make it far, 1 - I can say I tried and 2 - I'll still have a book ready for submission!

  5. Ana,
    Very honest and thoughtful post and I can see your plan working well for you. I agree working on multiple projects is a more creative, stimulating goal. While you are working on one thing, another story or plot line comes to mind. The more we have, the better the writing, IMHO.

    I think that's why I like to write to music. When I take my nose out of the computer, I listen, and something will come to me from the music.

    I too was advised to work on one project at a time, with little suggestions like, "don't burn yourself out" or "learn to focus on your story and don't read anything else until you are done". While these things may work for a home stretch or deadline of some sort, nothing is more daunting when you just don't feel it for the one story you're supposed to work on.

    I have a friend who edits, writes and even writes with partners and has maybe 5 or 6 things going at once. But she's engrossed in her writing all the time.

    And so I've been tracking hours spent writing, or editing, not pages. There are times when I'd rather feed the chickens than write, but having a weekly or daily goal for being in front of the computer, no matter what story I'm working on, works.

    Good luck to you. This will be a great year-I can feel it.

  6. Sharon: That's exactly how it works. One day I could be inspired to work with my faeries but the next day I might overhear a conversation that makes me think of my steampunk. Last year, it was really hard to ignore that conversation or just write it down as a note and tuck it away for later. But ya know, I was told by many that I should focus on one, because that would make me a better writer. So, I listened to those that know more than I (I mean, they were published mulitple times after all). But I realized that it's not for me. Tracking hours instead of pages is a good idea. I think I'll start doing that also.

  7. Ana, I think you accomplished much more in 2010 than you give yourself credit for. You submitted a book, which I believe is a First for you, wasn't it? Even if it wasn't ready or accepted, that is still a huge milestone. Many a writer have several projects sitting on the shelf because they are too afraid of rejection to send them in. You have proven that you are brave and confident in your work, and, because you didn't curle up into a ball and die when you got the rejections, you've proven that you have what it takes to be a writer! You will make it, just as I will.

    Also, if you don't mind me saying so, finishing 5 books in a year is pretty darn impossible! Most of us are working on 1-2 books. Period. Heck, I've been working on the same one for a couple years now. You're running on 16? I don't know how you do it. I would be chin deep in my own doo-doo if I attempted that much work! I do think your new goal of getting 1-2 books published this year is much more realistic, but you did get a lot done last year too, so don't beat yourself up. And remember that I'm here for you. :)

  8. J.D.: Yes it was a first. And you're right, I did accomplish more, but for me it's the dissapointment that I didn't achieve the actual goals I set out for myself. I accomplished OTHER things.

    I had the idea that I could finish 5 books in a year because I can write one in a month right? (NaNo) then take another month to edit. So 2 months for each book, leaving two months out of the year for break time or overflow if something took longer than I thought. That was the idea anyway! I know other authors that have done it, so I figured I could too. But, yes. I think 1-2 books this year is a much more realistic goal, and gives me plenty of time to handle other things that come up and all that.

    I know you're here for me Jen. And it means so much to me. You're the best and I love you whole muches!

  9. All this talk about objectives! Makes me think of management-speak about SMART objectives. There are variations on the theme, but for me SMART objectives are: Simple, Manageable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-limited. And, to take on five novels as objectives (or George's 15 seperate objectives) is just plain crazy!!! (In the nicest possible way) For a start, no novel can be called simple! I take my hat off to you Ana... (and George: 14 out of 15... whoa!) :) My best wishes to you for this years's objectives!

  10. My goal for 2011 is to blog less and write more, but that's not really working out now is it? Happy interwebing in 2011. Stoked to have found your blog.