I have to admit that 2021 feels a bit foggy. If I didn’t know better, I would swear that 2020 and 2021 were just one long year. But when I page back through the months in my journal, I see this isn’t true. I actually did stuff and tried stuff and got to a new stage of my book.
If I go by the numbers, I did not do well in 2021, completing only four out of ten goals for the year. But I’m okay with that. I tried. I adjusted to circumstances. I did my best.
Also, one of the goals I completed—finishing my book coach training—was a big one. And I got certified. Yay!
Three of the goals I didn’t complete were my writing goals. These are goals I’m used to blowing by. Because I’m always trying things I know nothing about, I don’t actually expect myself to make accurate estimates. This is why I cut myself a lot of slack on novel-writing goals.
The writing goals I didn’t complete? Getting my manuscript to beta readers, following my writing plan (the plan got changed multiple times), and starting a newsletter. So these goals are getting pushed into 2022, except for following a writing plan. I’ve decided to plan differently, focusing on one step at a time. (For more on that, check out this other post: Building More Adjustability Into My Writing Process.)
My word for 2022 is power. I don’t particularly like this word. I’m uncomfortable with the concept of power. This discomfort is why I picked the word. I’d like to expand my understanding of what power is and embrace my own power.
This idea of making friends with power goes hand in hand with trying to get my book out into the world. Speaking up and claiming my voice feel strangely scary.
Connect My Work With Others
It’s time to share Jacquard. I’d like to find beta readers and get their feedback this year. I’m pushing to get my latest round of edits done this month so I can send the manuscript out in the spring.
What I do after this will depend on what I learn from beta readers. I expect I’ll need at least one more round of edits, maybe more. Once the book is as ready as I can get it, it’ll be time to query agents. Will that be this year? I don’t know. But for sure, I have to get Jacquard to beta readers.
Another goal to help connect my work with others is to start a newsletter. I’d like to make it easier for people to link to and read my blog. And I’d love to have a way to share more about Jacquard with those who are interested.
This past year I applied for a fellowship that I did not get. In reflecting on that rejection, I decided that I’d like to try to create some of the fellowship’s perks for myself.
- Mentorship—There are multiple mentorship programs available to writers. I plan to research these and apply to some.
- Retreat—I crave solitude and silence when I’m writing. Getting away for just a couple days will give me a chance to really dig in for concentrated work. I’ve already booked a couple nights at the beach (off-season prices makes this a reasonable expense). I’m hoping this trip will speed up my efforts to get Jacquard to beta readers.
- Community—I’d like to build on my efforts to participate in the writing community. Maybe this is the year to join SCBWI or attend another conference.
Avoid busy work. Write with impact.
Something about how my brain works makes it easy for me to get caught up in busy work. If I’m filling out a character sheet, I’m compelled to write something in every box. If I’m using a story structure (Hero’s Journey, Three Act Structure, etc.), I go in circles making sure each piece fits the description. If I’m outlining, I bang my head against the wall trying to figure out every part of the story before I consider the outline done.
This tendency can lead to wasted time. My goal is to focus my writing time on improving my book (whatever that means in the moment), and not get caught up in checking off boxes that make me feel like I’ve completed something. It’s a little abstract and hard to measure, but the plan is to make fewer checklists and focus on one step at a time. Hopefully this will allow me to be more responsive to my ever-shifting creative process.
I’ve tried to focus my goals on things I can control. I’ll leave you with a quote that inspires me to make the effort to do what I can to make my dreams reality…
“It is folly for a man to pray to the gods for that which he has the power to obtain himself.” —Epicurus
Hope 2022 brings you closer to your dreams!
Wow, Mabel, there’s so much here! I love the idea of your offering yourself something of your own make-shift fellowship inclusive of retreats and love the quote! An incredible undertaking — this novel. Excited it’s getting closer!
Thank you!! Your support is always so enthusiastic and much appreciated ?