Otherwise known as “just what did I do this year?”
I think I’ve mentioned a couple of times that I’m usually far better organized when it comes to writing goals. A couple years ago, I adopted James Scott Bell’s approach of setting goals for my writing career, redefining how I measured them. For example, setting a “goal” of getting published is maybe not the best because there are so many variables I can’t control with that. But I can control how many queries I send, so the goal might be “send fifty queries in 2016.” Or submit to a certain number of short story outlets.
You get the idea.
Except last January, when it came time for goal setting, I…didin’t. What was the point? I asked. Nobody pays attention but me, I said.
Oh silly, silly me.
Now at the end of 2016, I’m left a little discombobulated, wondering what the heck I did over the last 12 months. So here it is, reverse goal setting.
Submit short stories to the major anthologies
It was Bouchercon Raleigh in 2015 that two of my Sisters in Crime friends noticed that a lot of award nominees came out of these anthologies. So they issued a short-story challenge: to submit to the major anthologies for 2016. I was not sure I would do this. My short story success rate was…spotty. But hey, I’m always up for a challenge. So I submitted – Bouchercon (Blood on the Bayou), the Guppy anthology (Fish Out of Water), and Malice Domestic (Mystery Most Historical). I figured if I got one of the three, I’d be doing good. After all, isn’t that a good average in baseball (.333)?
Color me gobsmacked when I placed stories with not one, not two but all three anthologies. I really do not know what happened – except that I put myself out there. The Hubby treated me to a trip to New Orleans in September for Bouchercon. I’ll get to go to Malice Domestic in April.
I’ve already got a story prepped for Bouchercon 2017.
Then I placed a story with Mysterical-e. A story I thought was long dead. The only rejection I got all year? A local contest for Halloween flash fiction. What’s that saying about a prophet in her own town?
Query, query, query
According to Query Tracker, I’ve sent out about 80 queries this year, most for my first Laurel Highlands Mystey, And Corruption for All. I’ve tallied 80 rejections, too. You know, lest that short story success go to my head.
I’ve got one full manuscript for the second book in the series, Identity Unknown, out with an agent. And based on some feedback I received recently, I have a plan for the series in 2017. No, I can’t tell you the plan. I need to vet it with my critique group. If they say it’s a good plan, it’ll become a goal for 2017.
In some respects, 2016 was a rough year. So many celebrity deaths (Bowie! Rickman! Prince!). Yet it turns out I did okay when I look at my major accomplishments, things I’ve done. They’re kinda big things. I’m rather proud of myself.
But next year? I’m setting some goals, baby.
Readers, what about you? Do you set yearly goals or not?