by Matt Sinclair
The calendar page will turn soon, and all of a sudden it will be 2012. Of course, it’s not a sudden change. The year has been moving inexorably toward 2012 for lo these 364 days. That’s one nice thing you can count on about time: It keeps moving.
I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve wished it would move backward so I could change things, add accomplishments, and kiss that pretty girl from high school who I didn’t know liked me until it was too late. Of course, as fiction writers we can go back in time whenever we want, albeit with an unsatisfying lack of reality. But I learned long ago that one way to bridge the time/reality gap is to plan for the future.
Yes, folks, it’s resolution time! I know that not everyone makes resolutions, but I find them very helpful. I actually start drawing up mine in October, but that’s me. I also split them into personal, work/business, and writing-related. Truth is, there’s a fair amount of overlap these days. My writing-related goals include freelance targets (which are boorishly measured in dollar amounts—how unartistic of me!). And those targets help me achieve personal goals (and feed my family, for that matter).
I asked a few of my fellow Write Anglers whether they have writing-related resolutions. Some do, some don’t. I particularly liked what R.C. Lewis said: “One of the most important things I’ve found when setting these goals is to know myself, my schedule, and my capabilities. And not compare my goals to anyone else’s.” Sage words from a sage woman. She added, "To some people, writing three manuscripts in one year is a lot, to others it’s nothing. And that doesn’t matter."
Some people like having quarterly targets, others break them down to months, some simply plot an annual goal: I’ll write this book and edit that one, for example. At AgentQuery Connect, Mindy McGinnis oversees what she calls the “Writing Odometer,” which is a daily and monthly list of personal goals. There’s nothing mandatory about it, but it’s helpful for those of us—myself included—who like the added pressure of making our goals a bit more public. They seem more real that way. She added that it’s helpful to share your goals with your critique partners. (A good goal, by the way, is to join a critique group if you haven’t already.) Crit partners can help you write when you don’t think you can muster the energy.
Because writing is a Sisyphean task, it’s good to have someone cheering you on to push that rock up the hill.
Just imagine if you pledged to write 350,000 words in one year. It might sound impossible in January. But a daily kilo of words would get you over that hump easily. You could even skip your birthday, Thanksgiving, and your favorite winter holiday and still be done by mid-December.
But writers are never done. There’s always another scene to write, another query to craft, another synopsis to sum up, and characters to corral—or at least make the attempt.
Got any ideas for resolutions you care to share? Did you meet your goals for 2011?
Whether you articulate your goals or not, I hope you meet them. From all of us at From the Write Angle, have a wonderful New Year. We’ll see you again in 2012!