2011 Goals Made, Broken, Still Going Strong

January 30, 2011 | Writing

Today is Sunday, January 30, 2011 and I just finished setting up my writing goals for the year. You might think I’m thirty days or sixty days late since you’re supposed to begin January first. Why? December is filled with holiday craziness, last minute things to do, parties, presents, family coming in, family leaving. And in the chaos of it all I’m expected to be goal-oriented, write down what I intend to do in 2011. I needed time to breathe, review 2010 – after 2010 ends, consult my change partner Laurie Powers (who thinks I’m nuts in my goals for this year and yet is willing to support my madness), write them down, scratch a few out, add a couple, tinker with how I could achieve them. 2010 was when I finally got healthy again and I intend to respect my positive physical condition, be active, be creative. Take good care of me.

So my question is: Have you already failed in any one or more your goals for 2011? If you said you weren’t going to eat chocolate until RWA New York, have you had a twix bar? Exercise daily? Did you commit to writing every day for a certain amount of time and so far only written two days a week? Maybe one day and no longer than an hour? Does this mean you’ve failed for 2011? No. There are eleven months, three hundred and twenty-six days by my math. I’m including January thirty-first but not counting Christmas, Thanksgiving, fourth of July, RWA (five days), and your birthday.

I believe in not setting yourself up to fail, but make goals that challenge you when you’re thinking straight and not at the end of the year when happy chaos reigns. After the revelry dies down, people go back to work and school, the house is clean, and you catch up with yourself, then this is the time to set your goals. You have a clear head, clean paper, and can see what you want to achieve in the upcoming months. By the second week of January I had my writing goals written down, put each project on a calendar and began fulfilling each goal. Write, revise daily – check. Have more than one project going on at a time – check. Submit at least once a month beginning in February – check. Enjoy the process – double check. Comic Con – triple check. Enjoy and spoil my granddaughter -quadruple check. Play tennis – okay only a double check. Yeah exercise is a goal, twice a week at the health club – half a check. I spread my goals over twelve months, ending January, 2012 and applied a lesson learned when I was a banker. Many large retailer’s fiscal year ends January after the holiday season ends. So why not do the same thing?

Goals are broken, sometimes it’s inevitable. They’re made to be pushed back another month, if necessary. Life gets in the way, you get in the way. Something always happens. If nothing happened and you could work through your goals without a hitch you’d be worried the world was about to end. Goals are made to be changed if the original one isn’t working out. Be flexible, realistic. Be accountable to yourself, don’t give up if you wrote twenty days in January and didn’t the rest of the month. Ask why, assess what you did right, dust your ego off and get back to work.

Laurie made me promise that if I missed a goal, I wouldn’t be depressed. Since I just received a rejection Saturday, we were able to quickly put my promise to the test. I was dejected, upset, and decided that this rejection was for work last year which has been greatly revised since I submitted it, so the rejection belonged in 2010. The past. It’s a Lion King thing. I’ll move forward and submit elsewhere, I’ve got a quality list of agents and editors to send my work to. And I came up with my way to deal with rejection. I’m buying a sterling silver stackable ring for each 2011 rejection. A thin band I can wear on each finger. This could get ugly so let’s hope that I only have twenty or less rejections before my first sale.

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  1. Good job on handling rejection. I have stacks of them myself from over the years. I allowed myself 24 hours of a pity party when I first started sending things out. Then I promised myself I would send something out the very next day. It really helped me handle the rejections. I had to remember that it wasn’t a rejection of me. Sometimes, they just don’t have a market for what we are selling. BUT, and I learned this very well, timing is extremely important – so if we want to succeed, we have to keep on submitting because we never know when an editor or agent will be looking for exactly what we have. Good luck.


  2. I made myself a set of challenges rather than goals – and I made them in December, so I wouldn’t make a mistake and consider them New Year’s resolutions (you know, those things we always end up breaking). I blogged about mine at http://harperwriterstogether.blogspot.com/2010/12/not-resolution-challenge.html.

    So far my record is so-so, especially the one about excercising – at least I still get to the gym 2 or 3 times a week, but my weight refuses to budge, aaargh!!.

    I chose not to make writing goals, too afraid I would break those, I think. Besides, I have deadlines; double-aaargh!!


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