Making Writing Goals for the New Year

So somehow, the end of the year has arrived again (it always goes so quickly!) and I’m left wondering what my goals for next year are going to be.

Here’s what I recommend for writing goals.

Don’t make them unrealistic.

The problem with goals like “get a literary agent” or “get published” is that they’re dependent on other people (unless you’re self-publishing). And goals like “write seven manuscripts in 2015” is unrealistic as well, so don’t set goals where you’re basically setting yourself up to fail.

Unless you do have the time to write seven manuscripts, in which case…can I borrow some of that time?

Do challenge yourself.

If writing is important to you, you have to make the time to write. And that means challenging yourself sometimes – NaNoWriMo for me this year was ridiculously hard, and forcing myself to write after coming home from work at 11pm? Extremely hard. But I’m stubborn and I wanted to finish.

Set short-term and medium-term goals.

(oh, come on, I had to put in SOMETHING about goals)

So there are different types of goals. Short term goals might be to write a thousand words during a week. Medium term goals might be to finish the third draft of your YA contemporary by February (note to self…get onto that).

Having only short-term goals is kind of like starting a WIP without any direction of where you’re heading whatsoever. Sure, you can make it up as you go along, but even pantsers know their general plot, their character names and so on. Making medium-term goals helps you stay on track, and short-term goals add up to achieve those.

Every so often, reflect on which goals you have achieved and which you haven’t. Be willing to change or adjust your goals.

Who knows what’s going to happen in 2015? You might come across obstacles you never thought you would. You might have much MORE time than you predicted.

Probably not more time, though.

So you might have to change your goals, and that’s okay because the next thing I want to say is…

Don’t beat yourself up when you don’t get everything done that you set out to do.

Didn’t finish NaNoWriMo this year? Don’t worry about it! It’s not for everyone, and if you wrote anything, that’s more than you had to start with. Life gets in the way of writing all too often – for most of us, it’s the secondary concern to work or school or university or kids or whatever. But as much as writing can seem like a chore sometimes, I don’t know what I would do without it. Probably go mental.

How do you set goals? Do you use lists? I love lists. Also I put my monthly goals on my blog so it’s public…much more difficult to get away from it, then!


Emily has taken a (long) break after the exhaustion of NaNoWriMo. She’s supposed to be finishing the third draft of her YA contemporary so she can start querying it…maybe it can wait until 2015. She wishes you all the luck with your goals!

And also a merry Christmas, of course 🙂

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