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When other people talk about their goals, it motivates me. Being around friends trying to change their lives has always given me a reality check. It makes me think whether I’m taking active steps toward my own goals. It helps me realize that I can do the same things my friends are doing. With that in mind, I hope my goals give you ideas or just help you stay motivated during this first month of the new year.
Use the one rejection in, one submission out rule
I learned this from Elizabeth Gilbert in her book Big Magic, although she didn’t call it a rule. She says back when she was still an unpublished writer and rejection letters came in, she took her story out of the envelope, read it over, decided whether to change it, and then resubmitted it. I appreciated the urgency she placed on getting her work back out in the world. She felt disappointed when she opened the rejection, but she didn’t wallow. She revised, then submitted her work elsewhere. As soon as a rejection comes in, I’ll send my work right back out, and, eventually, some of those letters will turn into acceptances instead of rejections.
Branch into freelancing
I’ve always been on the fence about article writing. I wasn’t sure if it was my style or if I could be formal enough. This blog has made me more confident in my abilities, though, and I want to branch into writing for websites. I have a few websites on my list along with article ideas I’m drafting, My goal is to have one article submitted by the end of January.
Learn how to plot a book
My biggest hang up for writing fiction is plotting. I’ve researched a few books to help me, and I’d like to read those by the end of the year and maybe even draft a novel. This, funnily, is one of my more difficult goals for the year because I’m primarily a poet, not a fiction writer.
Make sure I’m submitting to journals and magazines I’d be proud to be in
This seems like a no-brainer, but after you’ve gotten a lot of rejection letters (like we all do), it's tempting to throw your work out at random and hope it sticks. Not only is this a bad method to find magazines that are interested in the themes you’re writing on, it’s also a bad method for finding publishers who care about your work. I want the places I'm published in to give my work the right attention. My goal this year is to make sure every single place I submit to is one that I will be very proud to point at and say, “They liked my work!”
Write every single day
This is a rule I’ve always tried to follow, and it’s one that defends me against writer's block because it teaches me that I don’t always need the inspiration to write. This year, I’d like to continue with this rule. In the past, when I’ve gone through busier seasons of the year, it’s been easy to push writing to the side because it could wait. I don’t want to do that anymore. I want to carve out 30 minutes to an hour every day to write, even if all I can do is put a few lines down in my journal. An important part of a writer’s career is having a nice backlist of work to draw on, and I want to build mine up.
January can be an overwhelming time knowing that the whole year is ahead of us, but it can also be a time of happy expectation if we let ourselves dream. Those are my writing goals for 2018. Let me know what yours are!
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Poet. Reader. Lifelong Student.