I have been reading a lot of very interesting, and truthful, blog posts about writing resolutions and why you as a writer should make realistic ones (see writingandwellness.com). As regular readers will know, I usually set a list of writing resolutions to follow each year and then at the end of the year (usually in the same blog post) look back at what I achieved (or didn't) that year. According to the posts that I have read, you can set yourself up for failure by setting unrealistic writing goals. So with this in mind, here are my writing goals for this year:
1) Write 250 words a day or 1,750 a month (these don't all have to be on the same project)
2) To make money from my writing (self-publish some short stories on Amazon and/or run writing classes/workshops), this can include blog tours, giveaways and signings
3) Commit money to my writing (book on workshops, writers retreats, events, Festivals) and gain valuable feedback (writers groups, SCBWI meetings and events, conferences and critiques)
4) Send more work for publishing/to an Agent/place in a contest (to send ten pieces to competitions - one submission a month except December and one other month and submit to 20 Agents in 2017/meet agents at events, conferences etc.)
As the writingandwellness.com blog suggests, you as a writer need to make sure that these goals/resolutions achieve the following:
* Inspire me to commit to regular writing practice?
* Is it totally within my power to achieve this goal?
* Does this goal inspire you to take concrete action toward your writing dreams?
* Does the goal keep you accountable?
So with an eye to this, now to have a look back at my achievements for 2016 and how many of my resolutions I managed to stick to:
Writing-wise I entered four competitions, wrote several short pieces and added more chapters to my various WIPs, one to 50.5k words and for the first year ever, I won NaNoWriMo. I also sent work to three separate publishers and went to two publisher/agent events (one in Manchester and one in Newcastle) and several workshops. I attended several SCBWI meetings in York and joined a new SCBWI on-line critique group which I have found invaluable whilst working on my current WIP.
I wrote more blog posts than I have managed in any previous year (one for every day of the year), which is quite an achievement considering I set up, organised and ran (with the help of some volunteers) the second Cleckheaton Literature Festival, a well-attended and popular event that brought together many fantastic authors and poets such as Andy Kershaw, Justina Robson, Mark Wright, Helen Cadbury, Luke Wright, Leigh Russell and James Nash to name but a few. We also managed to secure some new names and some more local talent. This involved a lot of planning, applying and securing grants, writing policies for the Festival including Health and Safety etc. and the organisation and running of the events themselves, which was a massive achievement.
So, as we welcome in the New Year I think it is nice to reflect on your achievements in 2016 whether they be writing-related or personal (for example I started a memory jar and we loved, as a family, emptying it and reading each memory out on New Years Day - we will definitely be doing this again in 2017), if for no other reason than to see what you liked so much about the year before (those things that gave you the most happiness, so that you can aim to do more of the same in the coming year) or give yourself a virtual pat on the back for things you managed to do, no matter how small. In the world of writing, no amount of words written can ever be wasted - even if we delete most of them whilst editing, they helped on our journey in honing our craft.