Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Goal Setting in the New Year

I'm all for having goals. Really I am. I just don't set them for myself. For some reason they don't work for me. Maybe it's the added pressure. Maybe it's the fear of disappointment when I don't realize my goals. *shrug*

I could set a goal to write X number of books in the next twelve months. I tried giving myself a timeframe back for Caldera, and that didn't work out so well. I got such a case of the squirms (from that and from other issues) I couldn't write a damn word for 9 months. So, strike that idea.

I could set a goal to get an agent in 2008, but that's not realistic, and one should always set realistic goals. I'm not calling it unrealistic because I don't believe my work will net me an agent. I'm saying it because it's not something that's entirely up to me. So many factors intervene I have no control over, to make that a goal would no doubt result in a crushing blow if I didn't achieve it.

I could say I'm going to submit X number of queries, get so many requests for partials, so many requests for fulls, and turn them around in however many days. Submitting is up to me, I know, but until I do the research, I couldn't say with any certainty how many agents represent the works I'm going to have ready in the next twelve months (especially since I don't know how many or even what kind of books will pop out of my head in that time). The RFP/RFF thing is out of my hands. I can control the turnaround time, but that's only if the requests come through. If not, we're back to the crushing disappointment issue again.

What I will say for 2008 is this:

I will do something writerly for at least an hour every day (and not kick myself for taking a day off every now and than as long as I don't over-relax). Writerly work includes: new writing, editing, revising, working on query letters/synopses/cover letters, and research.

When I have a manuscript packet ready for submission, I will research as diligently as I am able. I will scour the agents' websites, the agent search sites, and I will write the best damn query letters I can. After the research, I will submit to every agent who represents my work and I will not allow myself to get discouraged should the rejection letters pour in. I know in the pool of talented, reputable agents out there, one is waiting for me.

I hope to have three new first drafts done by the end of the year, but time will tell. I hope to have the three unedited books I'm working on finished and submitted. I hope to have representation and/or a publisher by the end of the year. Hopes, however, are not goals. They're things I can work toward, but in the end, it may not be up to me. All I can do is my best, and hope the rest sorts itself out.

Are you a goal-setter, or do they freak you out as much as they do me? What are your goals or aspirations or hopes for the next twelve months? Spill the beans here, and we can all get together this time next year to see how things panned out. Worst that could happen is we commiserate, and just think how wonderfully surprising it will be if we can meet next year to find out we exceeded our expectations.

Personally, I'll be happy if I just fall somewhere in the middle.


Sarah*G* said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog!
I think my goals for this year are to mainly get my current writing project finishing and submit it to agents. Whether or not that happens remains to be seen! I think doing something related to writing for an hour a day is a realistic an achievable goal and one I think I could do too. :)

As for the photo on my blog. It is me with the Michigan State sweatshirt on. I went to high school there for a year and fell in love with the State. Beuatiful place.

Flowerpot said...

they sound pretty good goals to me - but you've read mine already! All the best to you for 2008.

Lane said...

Goals do freak me out. I set them but I set them privately and then beat myself up when I fail. I've already failed the smoking one:-( However I like the idea of setting a daily schedule for writing and I love your phrase 'over relax'. I'm far too guilty of this and it's so difficult to get back to the the wip after too much 'over relaxation' so ... I will write every day, get my wip finished and I WILL submit this year. Phew, said it. Thanks I feel better now;-)