New Years is a time to reflect back on the past year and refocus our goals for the future. It's a time to be simultaneously grateful whilst also turning to the hope that will carry us forward.
We can all collectively agree that we're happy to see 2020 come to an end. We have all struggled and faced unexpected challenges.
2021 offers new hope but also a prolonging of certain pandemic challenges. While we all eagerly await the vaccine, we will still have to live in the current reality that resulted from it.
What does this mean for a writer trying to make goals for 2021?
It means that we have to plan our goals in a realistic way and reframe our mindsets in order to succeed during a prolonged pandemic.
Where once we might have focused primarily on our traditional writing goals, now we must look towards maintaining our mental health, our relationships, and how to cope in a world that is very different from the one we've always known.
Our time, energy, and expectations need to be re-assessed so that we can still be productive while balancing the side-effects of an uncertain future.
But also we need to recognize that because people are in need of entertainment and distraction, there is a greater responsibility as writers to deliver high quality work that will help bolster our readers during these difficult times.
What am I keeping in mind while mapping out my goals for this year?
Each year I take a step back and think about what I want to accomplish writing-wise. I like to come up with four or five bigger overarching ideas of what I would like to work on and then break them down into smaller more obtainable steps. I find that by outlining what those smaller pieces are, the more likely I will be to succeed. I also like to attach a timeline with specific dates to these smaller pieces to help motivate me as I go along.
Here is an example of the type of sheet I use to help me plan:
I then take my categories and break them down like this:
Last year's goal: Read one book every two weeks. Since then, I've found this to be unrealistic for my schedule, particularly now that I'm writing all the time. This year I'm looking to redefine my goal to fit a more realistic expectation.
New goal: I want to read 8 books or more in 2021. Any type of book, not necessarily on a reading list. Basing it on what projects I'm taking on for beta reading, editing, or just for fun.
How I will accomplish this: I tend to choose books according to my mood so I think this goal will work better for me if I leave it non-specific rather than actively defining what books I want to read. I read 8 books thus far this year, so I feel confident that I can meet this marker in the future.
What I might need help with: I don't have any potential issues with this goal, so I'm leaving this one blank.
Timeline: I also want to keep this goal low priority, as it is not a huge requirement for me to finish considering all the other goals I have. This will be due on New Year's Day next year.
Last year's goal: To finish draft four of my novel Star-Crossed by the end of August and begin revisions. Happily this has been accomplished! Not only did I complete that draft but I have since moved on to draft 5 which I am almost at the end of.
New goal: To finish draft 5 and begin sending out this draft to beta readers. Super exciting, but I'm finally getting closer to the publishing side and I'm eager to type up the rest of this book. I also want to make a solid publishing plan so I can begin preparations for that process in the future.
How I will accomplish this: The plan is to set a weekly word count of 6,000 words or more a week till the draft is finished. Beyond that I want to pick a solid publishing direction and research what it will financially take to make it happen. Then I want to find out realistically how long it will take for me to do it.
What I might need help with: Motivation and accountability are two things I struggle with when it comes to writing books. I've found that having an accountability partner, keeping a word count, and maintaining a writing routine all help with this but I want to commit to making book writing a greater priority overall.
Timeline: I want to finish draft 5 by the end of August, and send it out to beta readers by September at the latest. Hopefully sooner, but we'll see. I want to have a fully outlined publishing plan drawn up with financial estimates by the end of this coming year.
Writing It Wells Goals:
Last year's goal: To further my blog by gaining/maintaining a following, and to strengthen my reputation online by being both transparent and knowledgeable about writing. I definitely exceeded expectations on this initial goal and I couldn't be more proud of myself.
New goals: I need to separate this into two different categories (blogging and editing) since Writing It Wells is expanding this coming year.
My blogging goal is to continue working on the revamp project to help update and troubleshoot my website, add new features, and enact a new marketing plan. This will also help fix consistency issues and make the overall branding stronger. I also want to continue producing high quality blog posts, continue outreach within the writing community, and to work on my social media presence on other social sites besides Instagram.
My editing goal is to choose and enroll in an editing certification program, earn my certification, and then revise my website to allow for me to begin taking on author clients. In the meantime I will be taking on two, maybe three beta reading projects pro bono in preparation for starting my editing business.
How I will accomplish this: I will be setting aside time slots each week to work on specific revamp project tasks until it is finished. I will continue my engagement efforts on social media and expand them on Facebook and Twitter. I will make sure that the quality of blog posts is maintained with value for the reader in mind. Following through on my editing plan by settling on a certification and taking whatever course or test necessary will be the first phase. Second phase will be to add the editing client page so that I can begin to advertise my services for hire. Third phase will be to take on my first client as an actual editor! Yay! I'm SO excited.
*Note, if you are currently looking for editing services and are interested in partnering with me in the future, you can send me an inquiry here: firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to working with you!
What I might need help with: The biggest obstacle here is the learning curve. It's going to take time to learn and apply all the changes to the blog that need to be done as well as simply taking time to earn my certification and find clients. Balancing that transition and my work/life balance will probably be the most difficult part for me personally.
Timeline: I would like to have the majority of the revamp project outside of the editing services pages to be completed by the end of April. I'd like to have my editing services up and running by the end of this year, if not sooner.
Sometimes the hardest part of goal-planning is finding out what it will take to get there. Putting a deadline on your dreams can be scary or feel overwhelming but in doing so you're giving yourself the structure and motivation necessary to push yourself forward. In a pandemic-ridden world, it seems even harder. But by being realistic with your expectations and keeping in mind what's truly important, you can still make 2021 a productive happy year.
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