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This Writing Life: Writing Goals for 2013 (or the lack of them)

10 January, 2013

We’re well into 2013 now, and I’m already hard at work on the projects I wanted to start this year. However, it’s occurred to me that for the first time in three years, I haven’t made any writing goals – and don’t particularly want to.

Well, perhaps saying I haven’t any goals is a bit extreme. I have in mind what I want to accomplish over the next few months, including working on two blogs, keeping up with my Chronicles of Tyria fan-fic and editing the novel I wrote last year. However, this time I haven’t made any effort to think beyond that: no set (even self-imposed) deadlines, only very loose plans for my writing beyond that novel, no detailed list of goals I want to achieve.

I’ve been trying to decide why I’ve been so reluctant to set goals this year. Partly, I think, it’s because I know my writing time is so much more limited now, and will probably only become moreso in the coming months. There’s also the fact that setting goals in the past hasn’t helped me as much as I’d hoped. Instead of rigorously following a timetable set out at the start of the year, by the second half of 2012, I found myself bouncing between different projects, and heading in a completely different direction to the one I’d imagined.

It’s not, I think, that I can’t stick to my goals, but rather than they start to seem obsolete after the first few months. Ideas and projects change, expand or prove to be worthless. New deadlines and calls-for-submissions come and go. What seemed like a perfect course of action in January doesn’t make sense by April, when one novel has gone off the rails and you’ve just discovered an anthology accepting novellas, which you haven’t yet written but suddenly have the perfect idea for.

So, no goals in 2013 (though perhaps that too will change in a few months). Instead, I’m focusing on the shorter term problems of just finding time to write, making sure I keep progressing with my novel edits, and continuing to stay on top of my commitments both to this blog and now two others. After all, writing goals – unlike deadlines – tend to be self-imposed and personal, and there’s no use letting them rule your life if they become a hindrance rather than a help.

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