Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Set Your Writing Goals for the New Year

Hi everyone!

Welcome to my first blog of 2018!

If you’ve visited my social media pages in the last few weeks, you may have noticed that I made some changes. I have new banners on my Facebook Author page, my Twitter feed will feature fun photos as well as book news, free reads of all my books are available on the Manic Readers site, and I’m now on Instagram. (Whew!)

It’s appropriate to think about changes at this time of year. After all, we have brand new calendars hanging on our walls that are filled with unexplored days yet to come. Every day is filled with hope, possibilities, and opportunities to make this year really great.

As we head into the New Year, it seems that everyone’s talking about changes and goals. What are your writing goals for 2018? Do you want to finish the novel you started last year (or haven’t started yet)? Send out a dozen short stories? Enter a contest? Now is the perfect time to sit down and make a list of all you want to accomplish. Having a list of projects and priorities will help keep your writing objectives on track.

For example, if you’re determined to start a new book, make a timeline for research, character development, plotting, etc. Give yourself a deadline for when you want to start writing and stick to it. Decide how many pages or chapters you want to finish each day/week/month. Little by little, your book will take shape, and you’ll be amazed at your progress. (Need help getting started? Check out my non-fiction writing guide, You Can Write - Really!)

No matter what your writing goals are, a little pre-planning will help you focus and allow you to flow from one writing project to another. Preparation also keeps you motivated and fends off writer’s block, because you always have “the next thing” to work on.

Take ten or fifteen minutes to evaluate your writing career. What did you accomplish last year that you’re most proud of? What would you like to achieve this year? What markets did you crack that you’d like to write for again? Which publications do you really want your work to appear in?

When you write down your goals, start off your sentences with a positive statement, such as: “I will finish my novel by June 1” or “I will submit six articles to magazines.” After you’ve made the list, note what you need to do to get started. This could include setting aside specific times to write each day, getting writer’s guidelines, or sending out query letters. Then, pick one project (the most time-sensitive one, or your personal favorite), and get to work. Before you know it, you’ll be on your way to publication!

One of my goals was to get my latest historical romance novel “done” by today. (It’s my birthday!) It’s “done” in the sense that the latest draft is finished. I need to give it another proofread before I send it out, but that’s one goal down so far. (Another goal is to find a title for the book ‒ but that’s a whole other subject…)

This is also the perfect time of year to let go of things that no longer serve you. Simplify as much as you can, and you’ll make room for new opportunities and events in your life. (This applies to everything – not just writing.)

For example, if certain social media sites or groups aren’t working for you, or are taking away from your writing time, scale back on the time you spend there. Everyone get 24 hours each day, so choose how you use your time wisely. 

What are your writing goals? Is there a topic you would like to see me address on the blog this year? I welcome comments/feedback about the blog, my books, and my newsletter. Sign in and leave a comment or email me via the “Contact the Author” form on the News page of my website.

Until next time,

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