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Failing to Meet Your Yearly Writing Goals

7

December 31, 2015 by Nathaniel Tower

So another year is over. Did you meet your writing goals? I sure as hell didn’t. Honestly, I can’t even remember what they were. I just know I didn’t meet them.

I’m not going to bore you with my yearly recap (although there aren’t even enough highlights for it to be boring). Let’s just say it was a fairly unaccomplished year. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes failure makes it easier to get back on track. Try, try again, right?

Here’s what a lot of writers do at the end of each year. They sit down and type up a bunch of goals for the next 365 days, or in this case, the next 366 days. That’s right, folks. We have an extra day to knock out those yearly goals. So if you were planning to write 365,000 words this year, you only have to write 997 per day!

Back to those writing goals. If you are a goal type of person, it will probably look something like this:

  • Write X number of words per day
  • Write X number of stories per week
  • Finish this novel
  • Get my story collection published
  • Make a living as a writer
  • Make more money than James Patterson and J.K. Rowling combined

 

Personally, I think it’s all a load of crap. The goals we set generally fall into one of these categories:

  • Meaningless – They’re arbitrary things that don’t really accomplish anything in the long term.
  • Unrealistic – They’re things we know we aren’t going to achieve but come up with to give ourselves hope for the next year.
  • Too easy – They’re things we know we’ll accomplish without any problem so we can feel good about ourselves at the end of next year.

 

If your yearly writing goals don’t fit into any of these categories, then maybe you actually are on the right track. Maybe it will be a good but challenging year. You’ll accomplish something. Maybe you’ll even get to declare yourself a real writer!

But that’s not going to be my style this year. I’m not setting any writing goals. Not a single one. I’m not going to finish my novel. I’m not going to get X number of stories published. I’m not even going to try to write every day.

So what am I going to do? I’m going to write. I’m going to write what I want and when I want. Maybe I’ll get something published. Maybe I will finish that novel. I’m not sure, and I don’t really care at this point. I just want to write. I want to be a writer this year. And dammit, that’s what I’m going to do.

 

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7 thoughts on “Failing to Meet Your Yearly Writing Goals

  1. M. Howalt says:

    Good post. I do believe that setting goals can be beneficial to me personally as a writer because they’re more along the lines of “allow yourself to take writing seriously enough to set aside time for doing it”. – So I guess that’s along the lines of being a writer rather than setting goals for writing. On the occasions when I’ve set long-term goals (a year or more) similar to the ones you listed, I’ll have to say it didn’t really work for at least one of the reasons you listed. Have a great 2016! 🙂

  2. Gargi Mehra says:

    For me I have what I call a To-do list for the year. They are not necessarily goals, as in targets, but things that I feel like doing or attempting. I did manage 1 short story a month and I did want to attempt 500 words a day for at least a month. I am happy to say that I was able to do both these things, and I have a similar list this year too. But I still don’t see them as goals, more like a list of things I want to try doing, and it’s perfectly fine if I don’t get any of them done!
    Happy New Year and have a great 2016!

    • Gargi, thank you for reading and commenting. I like the idea of a to-do list. Even though it might seem the same as goals, it takes on a new meeting. Good luck with your writing in 2016!

  3. THANK YOU! I’m exactly the kind of person who makes goals just to disappoint myself in a sad, masochistic way. This was the perfect motivation to not make goals and to just be. Life doesn’t have to be as hard as we make it.

  4. Good luck with your writing 🙂 I look forward to reading more from your blog 🙂

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