I’m not much for New Year’s resolutions. They’re either a laughable waste of time, a recipe for disappointment, or both. But I do believe in setting goals, especially when it comes to what I want to accomplish with my writing. I’m way too scatter-brained and easily distracted to stay focused without a clearly defined set of goals in front of me.
So with this in mind, last December I outlined a set of goals to accomplish in 2009. They were as follows:
1) Finish refining my middle grade fantasy novel and BEGIN SEARCHING FOR AGENTS. The book needs at least one more pass before it’s ready for prime time, but that should not stop me from being ready to start the querying process.
2) Finish either my dystopian SF book or the follow-up to A Year of Hitchcock. Even better, both! Doing at least one is well within reach. Doing both is doable, too, but I’d rather keep the goal easily attainable.
3) Write at least six new short stories and begin to market them. I’d like to always have a few stories out at any given time.
4) Only one bite on the local history book I wrapped up in January 2008, so get some more queries out there. I sort of forgot about it most of this year and set it aside, but I’d like to at least give this a fair shot with some local publishers before I opt for another route.
How did I do? Not bad. feel like I fell short in some areas but made up for it elsewhere. Here’s how things break down when it came to meeting these goals in 2009:
1) revise MG fantasy novel and begin search for agents
Manuscript revisions, done. Did my research on the latter part of this goal — also wrote several drafts of a query letter and long and short versions of the synopsis — but to my disappointment I did not begin the actual querying process. It’s in the hands of a proofreader right now, and I plan to begin mailing packages in January. So, a touch late but still relatively on target.
That said, this is still taking longer than it should have. Bad on me. I consider this a partial WIN, partial FAIL, leaning towards FAIL because I did not begin to query. Should have been more aggressive, but allowed myself to get consumed by that damn comic anthology.
2) Finish either my dystopian SF book or the follow-up to A Year of Hitchcock.
Well on my way to finishing the dystopian SF novel by the end of the year. (As of this writing, I have maybe a chapter or so to write.) Though the first draft is kind of a mess, I’m pleased with the work and think it will shine after some heavy duty polishing.
Along with my co-author, Jim McDevitt, I wrote a full proposal and outline for Hitchcock 2 but stalled on the sample chapter because, frankly, a bit worn out on the subject matter at the moment. A Year Of Hitchcock only just came out in April, and I’m still producing a weekly podcast on Hitchcock’s work, so it’s still Hitch! Hitch! Hitch! all the time. Feel like I need a break before launching into yet more work on the subject.
Nonetheless, significant progress on both. This is a WIN.
3) Write at least six new short stories and begin to market them.
I traded this goal for Pitched!, the comic anthology I self-published in September. It was a fair trade, I think. Six new prose short stories traded for nine comic short stories, stories which have been purchased and (allegedly) enjoyed by readers? Works for me. I consider this a WIN.
I also got six existing short stories in the mail, and one of them was accepted for publication, so though there were no new shorts written (just one partial) I consider this a goal accomplished. WIN.
4) Keep plugging the local history book
A WIN on a technicality; spiritually it’s a FAIL. I sent out exactly one proposal this year, and that was way back in February. All the others went out late last year. So technically I did get additional queries out there, WIN, but not to my satisfaction, FAIL. I cannot give myself credit for this one.
I suspect the target market for this book is just too small and too niche. Seriously considering self-publishing it next year. I can very easily reach my target market thanks to my day job, which already reaches the exact people to whom this is directed, but I’m torn because I’d really like to work with a legitimate publisher on this.
So overall, not a bad year. But I could have done better, damnit.
Tomorrow, I will officially set my writing goals for 2010. And they will be awesome.