2011 Writing Goals

It’s 2011, and time for all good Mormons to be writing their goals. Because, you know, a goal that’s not written is only a wish. Or something like that.

Actually, I have to admit that I’ve always hated the push toward concrete, outcome-based goals in Mormon culture, considering it something of an unpleasant borrowing from the power-of-positive-thinking, success-oriented culture of corporate America. Far more sane, in my view, to set process-oriented resolutions: I will focus on this, I will remember that. Come to think of it, this may be part of why I have such a hard time giving firm time- and cost-based goals to the people I work with…

Be that as it may, I have set some writing goals for 2011. So here’s the deal: I’ll share mine, and then you can share yours. And then at the end of the year we can pretend we’ve forgotten everything we wrote here look back on all we’ve accomplished over the past year. Deal?

So I guess I need to actually put down something…

The amount of time I get to spend on personal projects is highly unpredictable, depending as it does on how much freelance work comes in. Nonetheless, it’s a pretty firm desire on my part to get back to fiction writing this year, putting in time on a regular basis, and to complete at least one and hopefully two YA sf&f novels this year. I’m not planning to get them to the point of submitting, but at least to the point of a complete initial draft, as good as I can get it without soliciting extensive feedback.

Last year I took a deliberate time out from writing fiction. It served me well: I was able to catch up on some things, spend whatever time could productively be spent promoting No Going Back, and figure out whether writing fiction was really something I wanted to keep doing. The answer to that last question turned out to be a definite yes. So now is when I have to figure out if writing a novel is something I can replicate (hopefully in a more commercially viable direction), or if I’m pretty much a one-trick pony in terms of fiction writing. It’s going to be tricky actually making this happen, since things have gotten complicated in terms of home and family life (we have a disabled relative coming to stay with us for the first half of the year) — but if I never make the attempt, I’ll never know how back I suck. Wait, that wasn’t what I meant to say…

And now it’s your turn. (I’ve shown mine; it’s only fair for you to show yours.) What are your writing goals for 2011 — process-oriented, outcome-based, or whatever?

(I’ve shown mine; you get to show yours.)

14 thoughts on “2011 Writing Goals”

  1. My writing goal for 2011 is to finish the novel I’ve been working on since 2004. Strictly speaking, I have it all written, but then I decided I hated the title, and I also decided that I know how to write a lot better now than I did in 2004. So that means I basically have to re-write the whole thing. Chapters 1, 2, 4, and 9 are pretty good. I just need to do all the other ones.

  2. 1. Either revise one story that’s in the hopper or writing this other story that is plotted out (or both) to submit to Writers of the Future.

    2. Revise the first draft I wrote of the story I will be submitting to the Irreantum contest (I’m ahead of the game at the moment since I have a full first draft)

    3. Write another 10k words on my in-progress but not progressing novella to see if it’s actually going to work.

    4. Finish an essay on Orson F. Whitney to submit to Irreantum.

    5. Semi-secret, possibly Monsters & Mormons-related project

    And that’s it. This won’t be the year I tackle a novel or try my hand at the literary fiction journal/mag market. The goal is to put most of my efforts in to AMV and Monsters & Mormons.

  3. 1. Hold 2nd Portuguese-language Mormon Short Story Contest (and perhaps a poetry contest as well).

    2. Hold 1st Spanish-language Mormon Short Story Contest.

    3. Publish at least 10 Mormon books (most will be re-issues or compilations).

    4. Write the introductions and supporting essays needed for the Mormon books in (3).

  4. 1. Complete a first draft of the novel I’ve been researching for the past three years.
    2. Finish research on the script I’ve been prepping for over a year, complete a first draft, and stage a reading of it.
    3. Write two cinema-related pieces for AMV.
    4. Write a nice poem for my wife.
    5. Don’t let friends and associates talk me into acting projects that ultimately take me away from these goals… unless, you know, it’s an irresistible project… what?

  5. I’m thinking about setting a goal to NaNo WriMo in September (Life seems to pick up too much speed in October and the just plows straight through November and December. Fall and winter are just too crazy/busy with four little kids). But I really worry that any ambitious writing goals on my part are going to rock the boat too much for my family so I’m not sure. All I know right now is that I’m sad I don’t write and blog as much as I used to but that I’m also feeling a lot of peace these days and that not trying to do everything at once seems to contribute to that peace. I’m really torn about it. . . maybe if I just set the goal to get a monthly blog post up at AMV I’d be in good shape!

  6. My goal is a concrete one. It has to be, because I have 6 children age 8 and under, and they take up whatever time is leftover from everything else. So I get up in the morning, and before I do anything else, I write 1100 words.

    I got that number from Phillip Pullman. And it seems to be a good one for me. I think everyone has a different amount they can write in a sitting. I find that i get my second wind at about 750 words and that at about 1100 I’m emotionally done for the day. IT takes me about 45 minutes, now (if I have an outline) and I feel so great for the rest of the day after.

  7. Sarah,

    In a lot of ways, the distinction I’m drawing between concrete outcome-based goals and process-oriented goals is, well, bogus. The goal you mentioned is a case in point. In one sense, it’s a concrete goal. But it’s also a process goal: you haven’t said you’ll finish x number of novels this year (as I hypocritically did), but rather that you’ll work consistently to a certain amount.

    The non-tongue-in-cheek point to all this (which I think everyone’s various responses has illustrated nicely) is that we need to choose the goals that work for us: our temperament, our life circumstances, and the way we write. It’s interesting to see what other writers’ goals look like, partly so that we can cheer each other on (and/or gnash our teeth in jealousy), but also in order to see things that might be worth trying ourselves — as you did with the Phillip Pullman thing.

  8. LOL. Very true.

    I didn’t read everyone’s comments before I commented… I was burning dinner.

    I’ve found that I have such a tiny bit of time to write every day, I have to make the most of it. And if I don’t, then not even a little bit gets done… A novel project would take two years (as the one I’m currently working on has, before the 1100 word goal) lol.

    Writing is sanity. Yup.

  9. Two simple, uncluttered goals –
    1: put the finishing touches on my contemporary adult trilogy and get them off to a publisher.
    2: get back into the revisions of my Book of Mormon trilogy and finish that, too.
    Without the restrictions of a job and lots of demands and responsibilities, these are highly doable. Retirement is wonderful!

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