Wednesday, January 7, 2015

5 Goals and 1 Wish For 2015

I'm not a fan of New Year's Resolutions. They are usually framed as promises we make to ourselves that rely on frequency of action (I will go to yoga 3x a week) or rigid discipline (I will never eat sugar again) that are too difficult to maintain. Instead, I'm more of a fan of setting yearly goals--it keeps me  focused but allows me a little flexibility in how I achieve those goals. At the end of every year, I like to review my list to see how I did.

Here are the professional goals I reached in 2014:

1) READ MORE. I nailed this one, mostly because I was purposely vague. I'm a slow reader and it's hard for me to commit to specific numbers. Still, I upped my game on this one and it felt good.

2) GET 100 TWITTER FOLLOWERS. Again--I totally hit this one out of the park, mostly out of ignorance. I had joined Twitter and didn't realize I had to reach out to get followers. I was hopelessly stuck at 40 followers for a month or two, so 100 seemed like a reasonable stretch. Then my friend clued me in and now I'm up to 1,200 followers--still a modest number. By the way, if you'd like to follow me, I'm @stephdoyon. Thank you!

3) FINISH FIRST DRAFT OF MANUSCRIPT. I did this and it felt beyond great. No tricks here, just a lot of focus and hard work.

4) START BLOGGING AGAIN. Finishing my manuscript allowed me to return from blogging hiatus and I've really enjoyed it, though generating content isn't always easy.

Goals I didn't reach:

1) SELL MY MANUSCRIPT TO A PUBLISHER. For the past five years, every time I see my accountant for tax prep I tell him, "I didn't make any money this year, but I will next year." And every year I'm wrong. It looks like I'll have to say it again in February. I'm sure my accountant stopped believing me a long time ago, anyway. This was a painful goal not to achieve, but Mr. Agent says the manuscript isn't ready yet and he's so brilliant I tend to believe him. 

But that's all in the past...Let's look toward the big, bright future, shall we?

Here's my list of 5 professional goals for 2015:

1) READ 52 BOOKS. I'm now ready to commit to a number! Look at me, being all brave and stuff. I might have to stock up on slim novels to accomplish this goal. Among the books on my list--Middlemarch by George Eliot (never finished it in college--I read too slowly to keep up) and re-reading Kent Haruf's Plainsong trilogy. RIP, Mr. Haruf. You were inspiring.

2) POST MORE OFTEN. This one's dicey. Right now, I'm averaging 2 posts a month. I would love to post once a week, but I find it often intrudes on my limited writing time. More is all I can strive for this year, whatever that may turn out to be.

3) CONTINUE TO BUILD PLATFORM ON SOCIAL MEDIA. In addition to the blog and Twitter, I've been dabbling in Goodreads and Pinterest. I've also tried to be more active on trade-related Facebook sites. It's been fun to see how all these platforms work together. My goal is to slowly raise my profile through social media, so I'll have an audience in place when (fingers crossed) my next book is published. The trick though, is not to waste too much time on it.

4) FINISH SHORT STORY. I'm not a short story writer. I have a tendency to e-x-p-a-n-d. Still, short story writing is a great discipline. I have an old story that's been kicking around in the drawer for a while that I really want to finish. To this end, I have joined a writing group.  

5) FINISH MY MANUSCRIPT. This is my top goal of the year--whip this damn manuscript into fighting shape. I. WILL. DO. IT.  And if all goes well...

My 1 Wish:

1) SELL MY MANUSCRIPT TO A PUBLISHER. I've realized that this is more of a wish than a goal, because goals are things in your power and getting published is largely out of my control. All I can do is create my best work and the rest is out of my hands. I really hope this happens. If not, I may need to find a new accountant.

What are your writing goals and wishes for 2015?

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