Hands up who sets writing goals at the start of each year?
I have a confession to make – I don’t. Yes, that’s right, I don’t set myself any writing goals at the start of the year.
Why? Because every time I’ve set goals in the past, within weeks things have fallen apart, Real Life has reared its sometimes ugly head and I’ve had to down writing tools and focus on other stuff. This usually means that writing goes on a total backburner and I struggle to reignite the flame.
This year was no exception. Three weeks into January – just as I was preparing to start Book Three – I was put at risk of redundancy in my day job. This meant that a lot of my spare time went into job hunting and making sure I had a job to go to when the inevitable happened. However, this time I managed to keep Book Three ticking over while coping with this upheaval. When time was tough and I had to focus on the job hunting, I was able to do this guilt free because I didn’t have a word count or deadline in mind.
I stopped work on Book Three in April (because I could and I’ll go back to it later this year) and instead turned my hand to a couple of short stories. I’ve entered a short story competition with Spread the Word – something I’ve not done for years – and started to develop content for a themed anthology of short stories. Then another idea started to poke the back of my brain. This time it was a novella which will launch the series of novels I’ve been working on. My only goal with this was to get it written. Ok, I’m fibbing – my goal is to finish it before I go on holiday in September and I think I’m just about on course.
I’ve also made some lovely new friends on Twitter, I’ve made connections with two people who have expressed an interest in working together as beta readers and attended a workshop on how to go about self-publishing. Oh, and I’ve kept the blog ticking along quite nicely.
It’s strange because when I came to write this post I was expecting to find I’d done nothing but instead I’m thrilled with my achievements. If I’d set goals at the start of the year, I’d have become frustrated by my Real Life situation and ended up with nothing. But because I’d left myself some flexibility I was able to give myself a break and do something different.
I had an idea of perhaps using the academic year and setting myself goals from September instead, but do you know what, I’m just going to leave it. If I can be this productive without setting goals and objectives, why mess with it?
This post was inspired by a blog post by Joanna Penn entitled ‘Are you on track? Mid-Year Review of Writing Goals’. Check out her post here.