Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Review 2013, Onward to 2014

It may seem a little early to post about goals for 2014. We've yet to close out 2013. That makes it the perfect time to assess the year that it's been.

A lot of people make New Year's Resolutions in January, but by Valentine's Day they are long forgotten. I'm an advocate of making goals, projects that can be divided into small pieces so you can see the periodic accomplishments that lead to the big goal.
I know a thing or two about goals and revising them. About this time (mid-December) in 2012  I had no idea that the first quarter of the new year would bring new writing contracts. I spent the year scrambling with writing, revisions, copy edits and page proofs that always seemed to land in my in-box or mailbox right in the middle of some other unexpected crisis. I had to ditch and revise the goals I had so carefully planned. 

So how did I do on my overall 2013 goals? I'll let you know. I have 13 more days to finish up some things! :)

Instead of establishing a long list of writing and other goals for 2014, knowing how the wind tends to blow, I’ve decided that I have just two writing goals:

  • Meet or beat a March 31 deadline. I won't meet this goal by wishing and hoping and dreaming. I'll meet it by setting weekly page count and revision goals (small goals that lead to the completed project).
  •  Win NaNoWriMo. This one is important to me because I use NaNo to get the first draft of a project done. It's a great exercise in, as Natalie Goldberg says, "writing down the bones."

Will there be others goals? Of course. But I’m not giving myself any other writing goals until after the new year.

When it comes to making goals, I’m a firm believer that people should. Where a lot of folks get tripped up is that they fail to realize that goals have to be revised, sometimes killed off completely, as situations and circumstances dictate. This doesn't mean giving up because something is too hard or difficult.

A former boss of mine used to have as our team’s motto: Semper Gumby. Always flexible. 

Life gets in the way of the plans we make. That's why it's called Life. So you have to be flexible enough to know when you need to make an honest and thoughtful revision or update to the plan you so carefully made when the winds were calm and the sea tranquil.

So, if you haven’t already, make your writing and creative goals for 2014. Remember to revisit and revise them as the year progresses. But be sure to set SMART goals for the year. Write them down. Post them where you regularly see them. SMART goals are what the management gurus refer to as: 


At the start of each new quarter – April, July, October – revisit those goals to see if they are still relevant, worthy of your time and effort. Revise them if needed, and move forward. Always forward.

And don't worry. I'll remind you!


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