Weekly Musing: 2017 Goals

Happy New Year one and all! I hope for everyone’s sanity 2017 is a much kinder year to us all. And since we are now in a new year, it’s resolutions time. I’ve always disliked the word resolution because I associate it with everyone getting super excited believing they will achieve their goals only to pretty much give up by the end of January. Instead, I like to use the word goal as I think it lends itself to being more obtainable.

Because I view this time of year as a chance to set goals, I’ve been thinking of what would be most achievable for me.

As always, I have the continuing goal of working to improve my writing. But one thing I want to stay away from is getting caught up in all the posts and articles of writing advice. Knowledge is power and while I enjoy learning, too much information for me has negative side effects. I noticed I was getting to the point where a voice in my mind developed overanalyzing if what I was working on was worth it. In order to save what little sanity I actually have, I’m going to reduce the amount of time I spend reading about the writing craft. After all, shouldn’t my time be used to actually write, which is the best way to get better.

Another goal is when I get to the next stage in my career, that’s when I will start looking for information. To read and try to absorb information about things I’m not ready for just feeds into my natural ability to overthink.

One of the big things I want to accomplish this year is to have a “finished enough” draft of the historical fiction novel I’ve been working on for years. To me this means finally get the plot the way I envision it, to do justice to the main character the way he sounds in my mind, and to be polished enough to reveal it to the world for feedback.

Because I took the last few months of 2016 off from submitting short stories for publication, I will start submitting again. In conjunction with this, I’m going to work on composing new stories. A wrinkle I’ve added is organizing markets into ones which offer a flat fee vs. those who pay by the word. I want to go after the higher paying markets first and work my way down. I figure this strategy is a way to recognize my work has more value than I give it credit for.

In 2016 I was unable to attend any writer conferences or workshops due to timing and funding concerns. This year I would like to attend at least one, hopefully two. Unfortunately, one which had been taking place where I live decided last year to suspend operation indefinitely. On the other hand, I’m fortunate to live in an area which has lots of opportunities.

I’d also like to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. Hopefully I’ll get that historical fiction novel finished enough by then to take a chance on drafting a new piece. My brain is teeming with ideas and characters that are dying to be let out of their cage.

Finally, I hope in 2017 I will finally be able to truly let myself go on the page. To be comfortable allowing the characters be who they are no matter how unlikable they may be at times. To be dark, sad, and angry. To be light, fluffy, and in love. I know I hold back on the page because I allow myself to absorb others’ criticisms of when authors go to uncomfortable places or make a character unlikable even when it is justified and well done. I struggle with not wanting to be conventional, yet desiring to be published and seeing conventional is what seems to sell and is embraced by the general reading public. I guess what I’m trying to say is I want to find my voice and style.

That’s it for my 2017 goals. I hope whatever your goals or resolutions are, you find the energy to keep going. Realize too that it’s okay if you stumble and take a break. So good luck to everyone out there and Happy New Year!

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