Setting Your Writing Targets For 2011

On December 31st most people like to go out to parties or do something festive. I like to hunker down and think about the past year and the coming year. I like to set goals and intentions. I think of this as setting targets and figuring out how I’ll hit a bull’s eye in the coming year.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I don’t like to “resolve” to do something. That word has such a negative connotation. No wonder most people don’t keep their resolutions.

Goals are good if they are quantifiable. Set dates by when you will achieve them. Commit to word counts. Provide yourself with deadlines.

Intentions are good. In many spiritual traditions intentions are said to have an energy. They are creative in nature. Set intentions and focus upon them. Write them down. Visualize them. Feel them. Act upon them.

Consider what you didn’t like about last year and how you can prevent those things from being part of the coming year. What do you need to change in your environment, your relationships, your work situation, your financial situation, yourself? Make a list of how you can create those changes. Then decide what you need to do to really change…Do you need to have a payoff? Do you need to have a reward of some type? Do you need support? Do you need an accountability partner?

I also like to make a vision board, or what I used to call a treasure map. This is a collage of what I want to create in the year ahead. You create one with photos cut from old magazines.

Figure out what targets you want to hit this year. Set those targets, figure out what type of archery practice you must do to hit a bull’s eye, and then be sure to shoot your arrows. If you don’t shoot, you can’t hit the target.

When it comes to writing, this means…well…writing. It means editing. It means rewriting. It means submitting. It means resubmitting. It means publishing. It means promoting. It means being a writer and a businessperson. It means trying, failing, trying again. It means shooting arrows and picking them up if they hit the ground–if you get rejections–and shooting them at the target again.

I also make myself write a vision for the New Year–something easy for writers to do. You write this in the past tense as if it had already happened. Here’s your prompt: It’s December 31st, 2011, and I’m looking back over the last year… Now write about what a fabulous and successful year it has been–as if it has already happened. Try to feel what the year was like and imbue your writing with emotion.

If you would like to do any of this in a group setting, watch my calendar and this blog. I hope to have a writer’s goal setting and visioning workshop in mid-January in the San Jose, CA area. I’ll also be hosting a call in the next two weeks on the topic of meeting your writing goals in 2011.

In the meantime, may each and every one of you have a happy and successful New Year!

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