Last year, I set some fairly ambitious, but do-able, writing goals for myself. Now it’s time to look at how I did.
- Keep my priorities in order. The requirements of my spiritual life, family life, and day job have to come first.
- Submit quality work. Clean, tight, and worth reading. I know how it should look.
- Have fun. If the writing becomes a grind rather than a creative outlet, throttle back.
Overall, I think I did pretty well staying within the ground rules. I didn’t become a writing hermit, I put the writing on the shelf when real life required, I was happy with the quality of what I submitted, and I still love writing.
- Sustain. Slightly increase my short-story submissions. Goal: 40 submissions to paying markets (includes resubs). Didn’t make my target here (actually had fewer subs than last year), in part because I spent a lot of potential short story writing time working on the novel. However, my ratio of submissions to publications improved, with three more sales than last year, so I think I was writing better quality, even if the quantity wasn’t what I’d hoped.
- Reach. Submit to more pro-level publications. Goal: 10 or more submissions, including at least one to Asimov’s or F&SF. Could have done better here – had three subs to magazines that pay pro rates, one to Asimov’s. I’m still struggling to overcome my inner editor deciding whether a particular story is “pro-level.”
- Broaden. Write some non-genre material. Goal: Write and submit 5 or more non-genre short stories. Crashed and burned here. I need to study the literary ‘zines. When I try to write non-genre stuff, I stall out because (and this is going to sound really silly) real life just doesn’t seem very interesting. Couple breaks up, kid’s dog dies, young man finds himself. Ho-blinkin’-hum. Sure, it’s a life-changing event for the people involved, but I still can’t figure out how to make my “girlfriend dumped me” story stand out from everybody else’s.
- Network. Attend a writer’s conference this year and make some new contacts. Goals: 1 conference, at least 5 new writing contacts and 2 in the local area. Met and surpassed this goal.
- Stretch. Try something that exceeds my expectations. Goals: Finish polishing my NaNo novel by March and shop it out somewhere. Write another, better novel by year’s end. Successful. The Muse was published in November and I’ve got two other novel projects about halfway done. Can’t say yet if they’re better.
- Study. Improve my writing skills. Goal: Learn 5 new things about the craft of writing this year, and apply them. Met this goal. Writing and editing the novel helped me identify some bad habits that I’m working to eliminate.
- Read. Maintain a habit of reading consistently. Goal: 1 book a month, with variety. Met and surpassed this goal. The CSFF Blog Tour has me reading one book a month, but I had to read outside that to get the variety I wanted.
Tomorrow, 2010 goals.