Write Annual Goals and Discover a
Journey Worth Taking
Why Write Annual Goals?
It’s that time of the year again for New Year’s resolutions. And if
you’re also a writer, it’s a great opportunity to review your writing
journey in 2009.
Let’s begin with a review of your annual goals, see what you’ve
accomplished and then set new writing targets for 2010. What, you’re not in
the habit of writing goals? No problem. Here’s what to do: Look through your
writing clips for 2009 or back peddle in your journal and compare where you
were last January with your writing and see where you are today. I guarantee
you’ll be surprised at your progress, and I bet you’ll also discover many
unplanned writing projects that came your way over the past twelve months.
Whether you‘re a detail person like myself, one who needs to see the
trees first then the forest, or a global thinker and writer, you can learn a
lot about your writing from analyzing annual goals. (A writer friend and I
have done this for years, and we’re always amazed at what we’ve accomplished
and at the many detours we’ve taken along the way.)
My 2009 Writing Goals
Let’s take a look at my writing goals for 2009 and see how this works.
Note they’re nothing fancy or even very detailed but just a short general
- Say something new—stretch myself and don’t cover the same old
- Take more risks in my writing.
- Read, read, read.
- Enroll in an online writing workshop.
- Complete the distance learning college grant.
Most of my goals focused on becoming a better writer. The first two goals
were closely related: Say something new and take risks. Hmm. Well, in
mid-2009, I completed my first novella, a 65 pager about of a wealthy,
reclusive woman and her female lover living in 1939 Poland. Given that there
were hundreds of stories set during that period, I hoped to look at that era
from a different angle, specifically the dilemma of Catholic Poles who
believed Pope Pius XII would come to their aid and the precarious living
situation of the two women a few months before the German invasion and
subsequent occupation. Only time—and the editors of small literary journals—
will tell if I succeeded.
For goal #3, read, read, read, I regularly set aside an hour or so each
morning for that purpose. I also incorporated reading into my daily writing
sessions by keeping handy in my writing box (Click
here to read Paul's article about the writing box) a writing
advice text such as Elizabeth George’s Write Away, or an exercise
book like What If by Pamela Painter and Anne Bernays. So I felt good
about that goal.
As for the online writing course, I failed to sign up for one, and the
college grant, like the house that Jack built, will no doubt continue on
through the coming year. I did, however, manage to complete the statistics
for the project so that’s something, and I’ve recently enrolled in an online
course to improve my scene writing. Hey, I just
realized something. That’s two goals for 2010. See how this works?
Glancing at my book of published clips and looking through my journals, I
discovered quite a few additional writing projects I’d completed in 2009. I
wrote a short story for a specific market that was accepted and is now set
for publication in late 2010. I entered my “risky” novella in a national
contest. I continued to write and publish articles for Coffeehouse in
Fiction Fix—thank you very much, editors—and I placed a few older pieces
in local magazines and newspapers. Not bad for 2009. Was I happy? Am I
motivated for 2010? You bet.
Gotta run. Time to write my 2010 goals. I already have two. Just a few
more and I’m set. Hmmmmm.
Paul’s email for response: [email protected]
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About the Writer:
Paul Alan Fahey taught in higher education for
over thirty years before he retired in 2008 from Allan Hancock College
in Santa Maria, California. From 2000 to 2008, he was the editor of the
award-winning international literary journal, Mindprints, a
creative forum for writers and artists with disabilities. Paul’s short
stories and nonfiction pieces have appeared in Thema, Long
Story Short, Kaleidoscope, Byline, The MacGuffin,
A Cup of Comfort, My Mom’s My Hero, and in the Tolosa
Press publications in Central California. He is a member of the
Central Coast’s premiere writing organization, Nightwriters and lives in