This year is a big year for me, I’m graduating with a BA in Creative Writing, I have to start paying off my student loans, I’m going to get my first real adult job, and many more things than I can even begin to think of. On top of all of that, I want to start seriously focusing on my writing. I have already come to grips with the fact that I’ll have to most likely have to get a job and write on my free time until I’m able to live off of my writing instead of living off my money right off the bat. To help increase my chances of making a living as a writer (and make that dream a reality much sooner) I have decided to create and stick to goals that will push me to see my dream become a reality.
The goals I have chosen are reachable, yet challenging. They will allow me to feel accomplished and also push me to better my writing. Because some of these goals are pretty big (such as finishing the first draft of my novel) I will break them down into both monthly and weekly goals. This will not only make it easier for me to complete everything on my list, it will also help me better track my progress and change my mini goals accordingly so everything gets done at a reasonable time. As of right now, I only have the nine goals listed below, but that number could change depending on how serious I take things in these next few weeks. Hopefully I’ll be able to add a few more goals to this list before February. Anyway though, here are my goals listed somewhat in order of importance:
- Finish the first draft of my novel. This is the biggest goal on my list. I have been working on this story idea since March 2016 and I really would love to have it finished before I graduate at the end of April. Now I know that it’s a big goal, but if people can write a novel in a month then I can definitely write one in four.
- Send at least 20 pieces of writing out for publication. I have only ever sent out 6 pieces for publication and one for a writing contest. Of those seven pieces of work sent out, only one piece has been published and that was in my campus’ student journal Snowdrifts. This year I would really like to write some new pieces and revise some older ones so I can start getting my name out there as a writer.
- Read 50 books. Reading is an integral part of a writer’s life. Over these past couple of years I haven’t read many books (which I am very ashamed of). 2017 is the year I hope to change that. 50 books seems like a relatively accessible goal because I’ll only have to read one book a week and I’ll have two extra weeks to either read more books or use as catch up if I get too caught up with other things in life.
- Go to at least one writing conference. Writing conferences are not only a great place to go to learn more about your craft, they’re also a great place to meet other writers, agents, and publishers. Though I would love to go to several writing conferences this year, I’m going to set a goal to one conference so that way I don’t really have to worry about trying to pay for them and can instead put more money towards my student loans.
- Start planing out my next big writing project. I currently have several different book ideas on the back burner waiting to be written. I know I’ll need another project to keep myself preoccupied while I’m taking a break from my current project. My hope is to have my second project mostly planned out before working on the second draft of my current novel.
- Start the second draft of my novel. If I really am serious about being a writer, I should start working on the second draft of my novel by the beginning of September at the very latest. My hope is to take a one-two month break from the piece before returning to it to start revising it.
- Practice writing dialogue and description. I know what I’ll most likely need to work on most when I start revising my novel will be description and dialogue (along with character development, but that’s something that’s fixed in the overall piece). During the break from my novel I plan on focusing most of my free writing time working on my description and dialogue.
- Write at least 500 words a day. This goal is here mostly just to give myself a reason to write every day. Even if I don’t have a specific project I’m working on, I can still use my free writing time to churn out words and practice different skills that I feel I’m lacking on.
- Win NaNoWriMo. For the past two years I have tried and failed to participate in NaNoWriMo. This year I would really love to not only participate in the festivities, but actually write the 50,000+ words in a month. I know it’s possible to achieve and I would really love to check it off my bucket list.
Now, like I said before this list can and probably will change. A lot of these goals are put on “easy mode” until I can see how serious I am about each goal. The main point of each of these goals though is to prove to others and myself that I did make the right choice in my career. It’s really scary facing the next chapter of my life without a plan, but hopefully with these goals I can at least reassure myself that choosing a life of writing was a good idea.