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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Goals, not Resolutions

I have set myself some writing goals this year. Note I said goals, not resolutions. Resolutions sound -- well, resolute. Like, if I don't do it now, I'll never do it. Like, I've tried this before, and I'm going to do it now, even if it kills me.

I like goals much better. Resolutions are made to be left behind, ignored, and forgotten. Goals, on the other hand, are living, breathing, made to be massaged, changed, evolved over time.

My goals include:
1. Attend 3 conferences or seminars this year: already registered for the Peak Conference in the Springs next month, the Denver HIS Writers fall seminar is a given, so now I just have to find one more. Hawaii beckons!
2. Send out a submission every month: this includes contests, which I have already done twice this month. Sending out a submission accomplishes several things: I get over the fear of rejection (right, in about 100 years!); I might just win a contest; I might just find a publisher. If I don't send out something, I will never accomplish any of these.
3. Send out a rejected project within 10 days: nobody likes looking for a new market, especially when the one that just rejected me was the perfect place, or else I wouldn't have sent it there. No matter -- I cannot accomplish (2) above if I don't send it out.
4. Train up a co-facilitator for my Denver critique group: good leadership is always trying to work itself out of a job.
5. Mentor: I am so blessed by people like Cec Murphey -- I want to be like him when I grow up!
6. Read a book on writing every month: not easy. There is so much fun reading to do, where will I find time? I won't, unless I make time.
7. Outline and do a synopsis for 6 new books this year: yes, six. Why six? I don't know, I should be able to come up with at least one good idea for a book every two months. Not saying I can write all these books, ever, but it will be good practice for me.
8. Finish my current project: not only can I not find it a good publishing home unless it's done, I'm one of those people who doesn't like to have two projects on the go at the same time, and I won't be able to start any of (7) unless I finish this one.
9. Finish another project I started 2 years ago: again, goes along with (7) and (8), but I can't stand not having the story done. I want to know how it turns out!
10. Send out a completed devotional book I have already written: I think there is a need for this book about people marrying for the second time, to help them through the struggles they are going to face.
11. Commit to doing my weekly devotional: if I can't commit to sending out a small 150 word devotional once a week, how can I ever expect to be able to finish a bigger project? How could I ever hope to get syndicated and become famous and make lots of money? Okay, just checking to see if you are really reading this. Because I believe this is an area of ministry the Lord wants me to stretch into.

My goals are not written in stone. If I don't meet a goal one month, I'm not going to throw out the whole plan.

How am I doing? Well, like I said, I got (2) done, been praying about (4), am halfway through (6), working on (8), started on (10), and got 2 done out of 3 on (11).

What are your writing goals for this year? See, the important thing about goals is they should be measurable, they should be achievable, and they should be reasonable. Share your goals with me, sign up for my weekly devotional on my website at to keep me accountable, and feel free to ask me from time to time how it's going.

And I'll pray for you and your writing goals, too.


Tamara said...

Donna, I'm the same way with goals, not resolutions. Goals just seem more doable.

Some of my writint goals this year are:
1. Get involved in the local ACFW group.
2. Send out at least 10 submissions a month and work up from there. I would like to see if I can actually make a living freelancing.
3. Get at least one of the two books I am working on finished.

Thanks for sharing!

Donna Schlachter said...

Those are great goals -- measurable and achievable. Have you defined what you mean by "get involved" in the local ACFW group? Do you mean attend meetings? Volunteer to help? Offer to serve on the board? If you define your goal, it will be easier to know if you have achieved it. Keep me updated --

Paula said...

Thanks for this Donna,
My goals for this year include making my deadlines with free-lance projects, taking time to "play" by writing fun fiction, and to keep up with my responsibilities in my writing group. My newest goal is a fun, collaborative project with one of my best friends. Can't wait to start!

Donna Schlachter said...

Fun is important. I think we sometimes get too serious about the goals and forget we are supposed to enjoy our time. Me, I enjoy checking off lists, so a goal sheet is really a cool badge-goal for me. I'm one of those weirdos who writes things on her to-do list that weren't there, just because I did do them, and I want to check them off. Okay, I can hear your eyeballs rolling! Have fun with your list. Have fun with the fun part, and even with the hard part.

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