5 ways to set new years goals

So as not to overwhelm yourself, look at the big picture and keep it simple. Make sure you get big things done. We need to protect our big things against the tide of small things, which we tend to do because they are smaller, easier to accomplish. Think about what big things will make you feel the most fulfilled at the end of the year.

  1. Choose no more than three large projects. For example: Market <book that is coming out>, Complete <work-in-progress A>, Write <planned-project B>. Don’t even bother putting down the next steps about getting them sold, marketed or whatever. (I’ll show you what to do with those steps on Monday when I revisit our project management discussion.)
  2. For routine maintenance items, keep the list to three important ones. For example, maintain my marketing efforts: blog, facebook, newsletter.
  3. Keep most of your personal goals separate, and keep them simple.
  4. Create development goals. For example, improve my writing by doing the exercises in Make Your Words Work by Gary Provost and by reading 100 novels. Again, choose no more than three.
  5. For your three big projects, break them into steps. Look at your calendar, which should also reflect things like planned vacations, conferences, and so on, so that you can get a realistic idea of when you can accomplish the projects. Be sure to build in some slack in the schedule. If you think it will take 3 months, give it four. Work on the projects one at a time if possible. Put all your projects on a big piece of paper with the steps as boxes so you can check them off, and so that when you have to set one aside to work on another, (which counts as working on one at a time), when you return to the original project, you can quickly see where you are on the other project. I’ll go over this big-piece-of-paper concept again on Monday.

If you complete your big projects before the end of the year, then you can make more goals.

For 2015, my big project accomplishments were:

  • Finished and started querying Mark Taggart and the Circle of Stones
  • Wrote and submitted Third Strike’s the Charm.
  • Edited, formatted, and published Heartland.

I didn’t write two other books I wanted to write, but that’s okay. I’m still getting the hang of my process. But I want to get to the point that I complete my goals. It’s okay to abandon some goals and make new ones within the year, but I want to accomplish the number of big projects that I set out to do.

I used the second half of December to read, think, and to work on the tools that will help me get where I want to go with my writing.


I’m enjoying my process, and I’m not working under contract. (With Wild Rose Press, authors enter the contract after the book is written, not before.)

What are you looking forward to accomplishing this year?

Before you go, I’ve been working on this photo. Which do you prefer?

A rusty wheel… and thoughts on the new year

Tomorrow is the last day of one full year of blogging every day. And today I was dry! I almost blew my streak!

After my triumph with the Australia, interpreted post yesterday (thank you all for the kudos!), I found it impossible to get something else unique. I tried more putting together different photos using layers and textures, but nothing worked out. I thought I was going to miss a day.

Well, I was just looking through my photos and I spotted this one that I hadn’t shared yet. I like it just as it is, just a plain old snapshot.

From Ravenswood in Queensland Australia
From Ravenswood in Queensland Australia

I have to check my WordPress Reader to see how people are doing, but I’ll offer a thought before I do that. Do you feel like we ended the year with a big hurrah and high expectations for the new year? And maybe a lot of goals and resolutions?

The start of a new year coincides with the end of the holidays and can feel anti-climactic. After all, we’re faced with the reality of going back to work. The slog of all these resolutions.

Well, here’s what I learned from last year. I was afraid to check my goals because I knew I couldn’t have done what I set out to do, because I completely changed what I was working on. But I checked them and they were good goals. The specifics of writing x number of short stories and y number of novels, no, that didn’t happened, not in that configuration, but I set a goal to write an average of 500 words a day or 150,000 words total and I exceeded that. I had a goal to blog every day and grow my Twitter followers. Those ones I did. I think it works to have somewhat general goals and leave a lot of freedom to allow things we never thought of to happen.

My advice is to set some goals and then set them aside. Check them next year. They can set a direction for you and the process of checking them at the end of the year is a chance to reflect on what you did do. I didn’t do this, but I did that. I was amazed how much I did, both on my goals and otherwise.

The other advice I have, and really all this advice is mostly for myself, is don’t worry about the big events, the successes, the struggles… those things happen. Mostly life is built on doing a little every day and on showing up. If you just do that, you’ll have a great year.