Writing Goals for 2016

I never used to like New Years’ Resolutions.  I didn’t think they were effective.  The unnecessary absolutism of deciding “no more snacks in between meals” and then throwing away all goals upon realising you absent-mindedly ate a sweet someone offered you at the office.  The impulse for reckless indulgence at the end of the year as if it were some kind of prisoner’s last meal, like getting sloppy drunk and waking up on New Year’s Day with a hangover.  The self-imposed prohibition of certain behaviours, without the encouragement and support required to replace those behaviours.  Besides all of that, if I want to change for the better, why should I have to wait until next year to do it?

A few years ago, however, I decided to try some just for the hell of it, but I set myself two important rules:

  1. All resolutions to be phrased positively.  No resolutions allowed that say no more, don’t, stop, give up.
  2. All main goals must also state clear steps for how they can be achieved.  For example, if the goal is to get fit, I must say how I will do it:  Exercise at least three times a week for half an hour.

I am delighted that by using this method for the last few years, I’ve made some huge steps forward.  There were plenty of things I didn’t achieve, but plenty more that I did.

Through setting goals for my writing over the last few years I’ve become more disciplined, prolific and skilled, and my delight and sense of achievement in the craft keeps on getting better.  An important goal for 2016 is to write more and write better!  But here is exactly how I plan to do it:

  • Daily average word target of 350

    I work a full-time day job which saps a lot of my creative energy but I still try to find time for writing daily.  The target is an average across all days, so if there’s a day when I can’t or won’t write, I try not to treat myself too harshly and it doesn’t destroy my goal.  Every time I write, I record a rough word count in my Special Geeky Spreadsheet so I can see if I am on track.  This year I hope to do a lot of editing and rewriting on my novel, and I am not sure how to do word count for that, so I settled on a relaxed 350.

  • Maintain blog posts at one a week on Mondays

    Consistency is key.  I would like to hold myself to a regular deadline for my blogging, which I will treat just as seriously as my day job’s deadlines.

  • Submit works to short story competitions and publishers

    I’m creating a lot of work but not getting it out there as much as I should.  This year I want to get some readers and take up space on stage.

  • Finish blog construction

    This blog is still haunted by the ghost of Lorem Ipsum.  I need to sand down the edges and create a more complete experience.  I will add an About Me page, some links to great content, add a few short stories and redesign the side bar.

  • Finish a first draft of the novel and a first revision

    This is a huge and exciting task!  I started slow in 2015, plotting, thinking, and grinding my way through a significant part of my first draft.  Now, with a bit more momentum behind the story, I want to finish and get to all those bits I’ve been absolutely itching to rewrite.

  • Read at least 20 novels this year

    This is another relaxed goal that will be achieved effortlessly if only I can stop falling asleep on the train.  As much as this goal should be a fait accompli, I include it to remind myself of the importance of regular reading.  Although I read copious blog posts and short stories every day, I know I can still push myself to read more and better quality writing.

Good luck to all of you in 2016, for whatever you have planned!




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