Sunday, July 9, 2017

Checking in on goals

Around the middle of every year, I go back and re-visit the letter I write myself at the beginning to see how I'm tracking with my goals for the year.  Given the middle of the year has sailed on by, I figured I should take a look and see if I'm meeting the goals I set myself in January…  The original letter is in regular type, my comments on it in italics.

Dear Me,

2017 feels like it is going to be a year of change. This early on, it’s difficult to know if those changes will be positive or negative, so I am heading into the new year with a certain amount of uncertainty hanging over my head. I’m trying to see this as a good thing. Change doesn’t have to be bad. Often it’s good to get kicked out of a rut or comfort zone and forced to challenge yourself. But it can be terrifying and uncertainty is always unnerving.

Well, there sure has been change!  My agent and I parted ways early in the year, I've bought and sold a house and moved, we have kittens and a new car…  I must've been prescient or something back in January!

One thing I am certain about is my love for writing, and as my productivity is something I can control, I will focus my goals for the upcoming year in that direction rather than on the things I have little or no control over.

I am just over 50K into the novel I started during NaNo and my first goal is to finish that. It’s kind of a mess, so I know it will need a lot of work, but to do that work, I have to finish writing it. I hope to get this done by the end of February or early in March.

Nope.  Haven't even opened the file for that book.  I'm terrible…  But that said, I have been busy with moving house and working on a ghostwriting project that just kind of fell into my lap.  So there hasn't been a lot of time to work on that NaNo book, or anything much else.

I have a lot of manuscripts hanging around my hard drive in various stages of finshed-ness. Once I have completed the ugly first draft of the NaNo book, I plan to dig out a couple of the best almost-finished or not-quite-there novels and get them polished up to where I feel they need to be. I know there are at least two I actually quite like, but got kind of lost in the chaos of editing and revising and writing new shiny things.

 I have done this.  I have one of those projects just about ready to send out.  I just need to find the time to do a final polish on it.

I imagine that will take me until about June.

I plan to do Camp NaNo in June and attempt to turn a series of short stories I have written about a single family and their beach house into a novel. This will be a real challenge because the narrator in these stories is both nameless and genderless. It’s challenging enough to deal with that in a 3000 word short story, so attempting a novel in that voice will be a real test for me. But I’m pretty excited about it. I just need to think more about how to structure the novel and whether to include the original short stories as part of the book, or to start from scratch, maybe referencing them in some way.

Nope again!  No Camp NaNo for me.  The nature of ghostwriting is that I can't commit to writing a certain amount in a period of time because I have to rely on someone else to feed me the story. 

Once I’ve completed the draft of the beach house book, I will revise the NaNo book. By then I ought to have had enough time away that I can see it clearly and will be able to revise it effectively. And my awesome critique group will help.

Well, since I haven't finished writing that book, I don't think my critique group are going to be helping me revise it.  Damn!  I've failed hard on these goals this year.  Harder than I usually do!

Depending on what else happens throughout the year, I will also try to do NaNo in November. Some years the timing doesn’t work for me because of editing or revising, but it is such a great motivator. I have some other ideas creeping around the back of my head, none of which are ready to be put to paper, but by November hopefully one will be…

Maybe.  We'll see…  I'd like to do it, but it's too early to know if I'll have space in my schedule or if I'll have an idea burning to get out.

I will attempt, as I do every year, to be more active in my critique group. I tend to have bursts of activity, but I really am not as good as I ought to be when it comes to reviewing for them. I will aim to be much better this year!

Again, not so hot in this area.  But that is partly because I can't share the ghostwriting book with the group because I'm bound by a non-disclosure agreement until the book is finished.

And as always, I will aim to be fitter and healthier. I have had a great start to 2017 in that respect, but I know that once I’m back at work and the kids are clamouring for dinner as soon as I walk in the door, going to the gym will end up being a weekend-only thing again. I will try to go at least one time during the week as well, and will continue to go walking during my lunchbreak as well.

I'm not doing too badly here.  The new house is further from the supermarket than the old one, so I get some extra walking in that way, and the gym is further away too, so I have to ride my bike to get there.  I'm probably not getting quite as much exercise as I should, but I'm not too far off.

Both the boys have important years at school ahead of them, so I need to be more involved with both their schoolwork this year. It’s difficult because neither of them want me looking at their stuff, but I need to keep on top of what they are doing, so I will make sure I check in on their schoolwork at least once a week, if not more.

Working on it.  Neither of them really want me checking in on them, but I do my best to stay involved and talk to them about what they are doing and learning.

And that’s about it for 2017. I will pop back in June or early July to see how I’m tracking with these, and again at the end of the year…

That's what this is!  And boy have I failed in a spectacular fashion.  But I'm not unhappy about it.  Life likes to chuck a few curve-balls, and this year seems to be my turn to face them.  Fingers crossed the work I'm doing will be worthwhile and progress my career in some way.

How are you tracking with your goals for the year?


  1. This is a good reminder that I should go back and check my goals for the year. I am not sure how I am doing!

    Sounds like you have done a great job making progress on many of your goals. Plus- you have had a lot of change- so that can have a big impact on things.

    Thanks for the reminder. Can't believe the year is more than half over!

  2. It's hard to predict where the year is going to lead you. Things can go in a completely different direction from what you were expecting, especially over such a long span. Anyway, I should probably go check in with my own goals. I'm probably not doing too well on them either.

  3. I don't think I had specific goals at the start of the year, but I've accomplished more than I would've expected regardless anyway, which is good.