Be Flexible With Your Writing Goals

What happens when you don’t reach your writing goals, or your writing goals change?

Tough question. I’m sure each person will have a different answer. Some of us will freak the hell out. Others will shrug and move along.

I think goals are important for every writer. What those goals are will differ from writer to writer. Some of us will place more importance on signing with a literary agent. Others will dive into self publishing. Each of us has a different idea of success, and that’s perfectly fine. The point is, things won’t always go according to plan.

I try to remain flexible with any goals I set for myself. If I’ve learned anything this past year, it’s that things can change overnight. If we’re open to the fact that the currents of publishing are always shifting, we can be just as liquid and flow with them. Nothing is set in stone. We’ve all heard that fortune favors the bold. I think it also favors the flexible.

A year ago this time I was convinced writing novels was all I wanted to do. My goal was to finish two more manuscripts in 2013, a goal I failed…miserably. Fast forward to July of 2013 and me accepting an internship with a literary agent. I quickly realized  that my time and creativity weren’t as free as before. I had to adjust. Not only did I have to adjust but I had to somehow move forward with my writing. Now how could I do that?

About a month later a few friends of mine contributed short stories to something called The Zombie Project (specifically this one). As I read through the entries, something happened. Inspiration slapped my face. Hard. I wrote a zombie short story of my own. It was the first of many short stories I penned in 2013.

I had found the perfect way to still write, and move forward with my writing career while fulfilling my intern duties. Even though penning ten short stories wasn’t on my list of 2013 goals, that’s what I did. Instead of fighting against the current, I swam with it.

I still worked on those two manuscripts before my internship and have great starts (32k & 24k words respectively). Both outlines are solid and await the moment I can get back to them. I haven’t forgotten.

Short stories have taken me places I hadn’t known I wanted to go. As I wait for word on some of their fates, I’m pleased with where I stand. I realize I would have missed out if I would have stubbornly stuck to my original goals.

Our goals shouldn’t hold us back. They should help guide us where we’d like to go.

So, as many of us sit down to compose a list of New Year’s resolutions/goals, remember to stay flexible. We may find that our list has changed in a month or two. As long as we’re moving forward with our writing, what does it matter how? Stay flexible. Be positive. Do work!

What kind of goals do I have for 2014?

  1. Find a home for BSD.
  2. Have one of my short stories published in an anthology.
  3. Help my writer friends however I can.
  4. Read more books.
  5. Finish MISTS.
  6. Pester Daphne Shadows until she finishes HUMAN OR HIDDEN…because I care. 😉
  7.  Celebrate a friend’s good news.
  8. Sign with the right literary agent. I used to think any literary agent would do. I’ve since reconsidered the mass bombing approach to querying. From now on I’ll only query the agents I believe are a good fit for not only my manuscripts, but my career. I plan on writing many more words, for many more years.
  9. Dedicate one of my books to my sister because she deserves at least that much.
  10. Be a better person.

If I can accomplish a few of the things on my list, I’ll be happy. I’m certain this list will change before the end of 2014. Maybe BSD finds a home and I have to shift priority from other projects in order to properly edit. That would be cool. Even if things change, they can change for the better. It’s all in how we choose to look at things. If we keep our chins up, 2014 will be an awesome year.

What are some of your goals for 2014?

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2 comments

  1. Good luck in 2014! I don’t really have any goals for this year – like you, I’ve set specific goals in the past and then not achieved them, or had to change them, so this year I decided to keep it simple. My only resolution is just to write every day, even if it’s just five minutes, and to keep improving my craft. Beyond that, I guess we’ll see. 🙂

  2. Aaaawwwww ;D You’re so cool. 16,000 words in! And its not crap.
    Pester away!

    i used to stress over my goals in my teen years until i was literally freaking out, losing sleep over it (and I don’t get enough of that as it is), and failed to achieve things I’d made a goal. Turns out I didn’t even want those things anyway, but it was still extremely dumb of me to freak out over my goals.
    Nothing is written in stone. We, as people, change. So should what we desire, want to achieve. Our goals should reflect ourselves. Flexible works for me. 🙂

    Not trying to be mean or anything, but I see people on Twitter upset all the time over their goals, even though they set them. I’m always excited over the goals I make. Its there to further me. Not hold me hostage, only letting me go if i do everything 100% the way I planned I’d do it.

    I love that song! 😀 Thanks for sharing. Half of my new music is something I found on your blog or twitter feed.

    On another note, you are movin up on the writing ladder! As if you didn’t already know that. 😉 But its an awesome feeling to see you succeeding! 😀

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