I’ve got a few exciting goals to share with you for the coming year. But first, let’s review last year’s goals and whether I accomplished them.
2018 Resolutions Recap
I wrote a post in early January of last year with some writing goals for 2018. Here’s how I stacked up:
1. Write 10,000 words a week – FAILED
This was a monstrously ambitious goal for me. Maybe “ambitious” isn’t even the right word. In review of 2018, I probably wrote between 30,000-40,000 words in total of fiction or poetry (not including any outlining or research for my work). For 2019, I’ll be giving myself a much more realistic goal.
2. Complete the outline and first draft of Orphic by September 1 – PARTIAL SUCCESS
Although I did complete the outline of Orphic sometime near September (can’t remember when exactly), I did not finish the first draft of Orphic by this deadline. Nonetheless, I wrote over 20,000 words of the first draft in 2018–and that’s not nothing!
3. Complete the short story I started for my Dad, and receive critiques from my local writing group – FAILED
I worked on this short story in the earlier part of the year, and received some feedback from my local writing group on a unfinished draft. The feedback wasn’t particularly favorable, and I ended up feeling discouraged enough not to finish the story. I don’t blame my writing group for the criticism, but I do blame myself for not finishing it. Finishing my stories is something that I struggle with.
4. Update my blog with new content twice a week – FAILED
This year, I published about 20 posts. Twice a week content would mean 104 posts in the year, so I’m going to lump this goal in under the same category as #1. I like blogging, I like having a website, but I struggle with giving myself enough time in my week to write my priority stuff, like Orphic, much less writing blog posts. This is another goal that I don’t want to completely discard, but it should be much more realistic in 2019.
5. Win Camp NaNoWriMo in April or July, and NaNoWriMo in November – FAILED
I chose not to do both NaNoWriMos this year.
6. Read 25 books – SUCCESS
For the first half of the year, I stretched myself and read some things outside of my comfort zone. I read some great books, nonfiction and fiction alike. I was very pleased with Developmental Editing: A Handbook for Freelancers, Authors, and Publishers by Scott Norton and Stein on Writing by Sol Stein. However, The Broken Earth series by N.K. Jemison is my official overall favorite read from 2018.
I even reviewed a couple of the books I read:
- “Warchild”–A Tortured Young Man Caught Between Worlds
- A Starting Point to Understanding in “One Nation After Trump
Bonus Health and Wellness Goals
I did learn how to swim the front crawl, and that was pretty cool. In fact, over the summer I successfully trained for a sprint triathlon, although external circumstances prevented me from racing in one.
I didn’t complete the Couch to 10K program, but I’m really happy with what I accomplished in training for the triathlon. I did improve my upper body strength–I can now curl 15 pounds, among other improvements– and I’ve generally improved my core strength. While I never did test whether I could run a 5K in under 30 minutes, I bet if I was pushing it at the height of my triathlon training, I could probably get pretty close.
Lastly, I wanted to hike one section of the Appalachian Trail. Although I had a number of opportunities toward the end of the year to do this, and never quite panned out.
Overall, it doesn’t look good. It’s a little hard to read that I failed so many of the goals I set out at the beginning of the year. In some cases, the goals changed (for instance completing the Couch to 10k program became running a sprint triathlon), but in so many cases I overestimated what I could accomplish. I don’t like failing at what I set out to do, but I like even less that I set myself some seriously impossible goals at the beginning of this year.
I don’t want to end this recap on a negative note, because I did accomplish a number of worthwhile things this year. In brief, here’s some of what I’m proud of:
- Participated in Novel in 6.
- Completed the outline for Orphic.
- Wrote over 20,000 words for the first draft of Orphic.
- Completed my first developmental editing project for a work of fiction.
- Volunteered at my local newspaper and edited over a dozen articles (a selection of which can be found by visiting my editing portfolio page).
- Attended Capclave, a local writer’s conference. (Check out my thoughts on it!)
There is a valuable lesson to be learned here, though. That lesson being: I need to set some way more reasonable goals for myself. I need to accept where I am in my writing practice in order to better understand where I can go with in a year’s time. So with that in mind…
Writing Goals for 2019
- Complete the first draft of Orphic.
- Update my blog twice a month (for a total of 24 posts next year).
- Read 25 books.
- Lead the Hit Submit group for Columbia Writers with Deidre Dykes.
- Make progress on my own submission challenge.
This year I accomplished a couple things I’d genuinely didn’t expect I’d be able to do. That’s a good feeling. I also failed, in a number of ways. But you know what? Looking back over the year, I’m okay with how it turned out, mostly because I’m taking the time now to recognize where and why I went wrong. I believe in my ability to learn from my mistakes.
I hope that you take the time to review your own year for what you succeeded in doing, and what you failed in doing. I hope that you are generous and kind to yourself as you do so. Small progress builds upon itself. Be hopeful for the future. I know I am.