Every year around this time, writers ask each other what their writing goals are for the coming year. I always have the same response – I got none.
Some people think I’m just being contrary. I am sometimes, but not in this instance.
Planning doesn’t suit my personality. I never found a plan to be very helpful and a boring process. As far as I’m concerned, I know what I need to do. At some point, I may decide what I need to do should change. That could be because a new opportunity arises, a conflicting priority takes over, or I’m bored and want a change.
That doesn’t mean I don’t finish what I start. But the world around me evolves and I evolve with it. What seemed so important three months ago, might not seem so important next year. It’s also how I write. I’m a pantser and I never prepared an outline before I begin a manuscript. When I sit down at the start of a book, I know who are the protagonist, antagonist and some side characters. I also know what the story is about. Everything else is determined as a write – the cliffhangers, individual scenes, the plot arches, the ending, etc.
I used to do planning because I was required to when I worked. I just went through the motions and kept it generalized. That way when I was evaluated based on how well I did at achieving my goals, I could fudge it. Priorities change and sometimes it makes no sense to continue to try to achieve a goal. Yet, I saw some people doggedly continue working on something that no longer mattered.
Recently, I saw a tweet from another writer. She indicated that her goal in 2021 was to get her manuscript published. However, she was unable to land an agent or publisher. She posed the question – Am I a failure? When you put it that way, yes. But if she had listed a series of steps to accomplish that goal – send out manuscript to beta readers, revise manuscript, send out 50 query letters, etc. – then maybe the answer is different. If you’re going to be goal setting, then do it properly and don’t set yourself up for failure.
So how do I know I’m a success? That’s easy. If I’m happy with my experiences, achieved results, and relationships then I’m a success. By these standards, I had a great 2018. I completed several drafts of my WIP, I signed a publishing contract, started a new WIP, learned a lot more about writing and met some amazing people.
Yeah, I’m pretty happy about how things worked out. So my goals for 2019 remain unchanged – I got none!