The end of 2010 is fast approaching so now seems like a good time to talk writing goals for next year.

When I set this year’s goals, I drew on past experience. I reminded myself that it doesn’t pay to set too many goals because it’s easy to be overwhelmed by them. So in 2010 I set myself just six:

  1. Finish rewrites/edits for Street Racer
  1. May Gibbs fellowship – first draft of first book in the series and complete series outline for The Chat Room.
  1. Apply for funding to work on The Chat Room
  1. Get The Chat Room accepted for publication
  1. Get more ‘writing coach’ work
  1. More school visits

Looking back on the year that was, I’m surprised to discover that I have achieved nearly all of them. In fact the only one I haven’t succeeded in is number 4 – and let’s face it, that goal was just not realistic.

I know from experience that starting, finishing and getting a novel finished in the same year is pretty much a pipe dream. I know it happens for some people, but I don’t think it suits the way I work. I need to write, then set my work aside for a month to get some distance from it – to have objectivity in my editing. I really need to do this for every draft.

Then after I think the novel is ready I need to send it to my beta readers and rework it based on their feedback.

So that’s my lesson for this year…don’t set goals that aren’t realistic – that aren’t attainable.

Another thing I have realised is that goals should be the things YOU WANT, not the things you think you should be achieving based on what others are doing around you. Every writer works differently, every writer has different backgrounds and financial restraints and commitments.

Writing for me, is really like golf. The only person you are playing against is yourself.

So, what do I have planned for 2011? More of the same:

  1. More school visits
  2. More editing – this time focussing on getting my two YA novels, Cutting the Ice and Head On to the ‘submission ready’ stage.
  3. Reworking my 2010 NaNoWriMo mg novel, Text Me When You Get There to completed second draft stage
  4. Get my Halogen Watts inventor series ready for submission to a publisher
  5. Helping my 12yo edit the next draft of his novel
  6. Complete the second draft of book one in The Chat Room series

Some things I do haven’t been listed as goals because these are things I have done all through 2010 and will continue to do in 2011 – for example, blogging here every week and at my Kids’ Book Capers blog.

This year I have tried to make my goals:

*    Things I want to achieve
*    Things I can definitely achieve – that I have control over (you’ll notice there’s nothing there about acceptances or publication dates)
*    A manageable number
*    Specific but realistic achievements

I hope you achieved your goals in 2010 and that you have a great writing year in 2011.

I’d love to hear your tips for goal setting. Feel free to include them in the comments section of this post.

Happy writing:)



  1. Hi Dee,
    Just want to thank you for your blog entires this year. I have really enjoyed your words of wisdom and look forward to logging in on Tuesdays next year. Merry Christmas

  2. Thanks for your lovely comment, Beth:)

    I look forward to ‘seeing’ you in 2011. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas too and wishing you many writerly successes in 2011:)


  3. Sounds like you have a lot of great plans for next year, Alison,

    I hope you achieve them all. I love the idea of the Be Bold society. Count me in:)

    I suppose I should clarify things. I guess a writer needs two kinds of goals – the ‘realistic’ avoid disappointment kind, and the ‘be bold’ and you never know what you can achieve kind:)

    Thanks, Kat and Alison for spurring me on.


  4. Hi Dee,
    Great post, and fascinating to hear your process. Keeping goals realistic is good advice. Though I must say that acceptances are always on my list. It’s less realistic when a long-length novel is involved, but I’d settle for a strong chance of a definite maybe. I just have to finish mine first. When I’m in planning/goal setting mode between Christmas and New Year, I’ll be aiming to write and submit some shorter works too. They will keep up my motivation and sense of achievement. Thanks for your wonderful posts, tips and advice. I love tuning in to read each week. Best wishes for your writing in 2011 and all good things for you personally too. 🙂 C.

  5. Thanks, Chris,

    I must admit that since hearing everyone’s comments, I have decided to amend mine a bit to make them a bit bolder. I’m also going to send out some shorter works too, which is something I didn’t do this year:)

    Good luck with all your ventures in 2011 and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.


  6. I know I’m late in on this conversation, but I find around New Year is the right time for me to formulate my goals.

    My main one is – to write more.
    My ‘baby’ is at school now, so I have no excuse not to have a greater creative output.
    I have more specific writing goals too.

    So much literature says that writing out your goals means you will be more likely to achieve them. Good luck Dee and everyone else, for a fantastic 2011.


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