It’s my pleasure to wrap up this month’s explorations into our ice theme. And since my date to post coincides with New Year’s Eve, let’s celebrate! Think of this celebration as a dazzling ice-capade, saying farewell to the old year and welcoming the new.
Which turns my thoughts toward goal setting.
Two years ago I looked back at my productivity for the old year and was dismayed to see that I’d only written a handful of new short stories, totaling about 45,000 words. This may sound like a big number, but it averaged out to little more than 100 words per day. One paragraph per day! I hadn’t even started the novel I wanted to write. How would I ever improve my writing at that pace? I decided to set some goals and start keeping meticulous records along the way to see what would happen.
Now I’m a firm believer in setting goals each year because:
- If I already know ahead of time what I should be doing, then I have one less wheel to spin. I gain more time, which means more productivity.
- Going public with my goals is added incentive not to fail.
- Evaluating the results at the end of the year is a great way to see what I can and can’t do. It also helps me project new expectations for the following year.
My goal for 2014 has been to write 150,000 new words. I am probably not going to reach that count, but I am celebrating instead of beating myself up over it. Because:
- I have an 18-day-old grandbaby in my house! Surprises always pop up. Life happens, ready or not. Surprises, good as well as bad, have the power of replacing some of our original goals. That’s okay.
- The point of goal setting (for me) is to stretch myself and aim for improvement. More words means more practice, and I become a better writer as a result.
- After that disappointing year of 45,000 words, I estimated how many words it would take to write the projects I really wanted to write. My total came to 175,000, which became my goal for 2013. It was too high. I ended up with 126,000. So, for 2014 I lowered my goal and managed to get as far as 139,000. It’s closer than I’ve come before, so, yay!
My goal for 2015 is, once again, to reach for another 150,000 new words. I’m pretty sure I can do it, since I came close this year. And the amount of time I spent writing in 2014 felt comfortable, even with two overseas trips, a bathroom remodel, and a new baby in the family. Who knows? Maybe I’ll even surpass my goal next year.
How about you? Do goals work for you? And if so, what are your goals for the New Year?