The week in the middle

The week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve is an odd little bit of limbo in the Western year. Because Christmas was on Saturday this year, the post office is taking Monday and Tuesday off in lieu of Christmas and Boxing Day. The banks will also be closed, as will the government offices. And despite the hype of Boxing Week (Boxing Week? Do these people even know where the term “Boxing Day” originated? I think not!) – where was I? Oh, yes – my husband tells me this afternoon that the pet store is pretty quiet today.

So I’d say this is the week to finish up projects and think about what you want to accomplish in the new year. I have a few books to complete in my two year-end editions (the Family Book and the annual minibook, about which you can read here), and I need to set up my 2011 spreadsheet for submissions.

If I learned nothing else in 2010 – and, indeed, I learned a great deal this past year – I learned that setting goals works. For 2011 I have some goals. If I fall short, I fall short, but at least I have something for which to aim. Here they are.

In fiction, I want to write the first draft of my science-fiction novel “Here be Dragons”. I have a time goal for this, too – end of March. Stephen King suggests writing 2,000 words per day, and I believe I can do that.
I also want to ramp my stories-out-for-consideration number up to one hundred. It’s currently somewhere between seventy-five and eighty. I’ve given myself until the end of January to get that done, and then the goal is to keep it there. For every rejection or acceptance that comes in, I make another submission.
I want to write at least one short story, poem or flash fiction per week.
I want to find an agent, and with any luck a publisher, for “The Swan Harp”.
I want to learn to write steampunk.

I also have non-fiction goals. I’d like to get a pet column going in a paying publication. I want to write the second of my beginners’ guides, probably the one about fish. I’d like to pitch and sell at least six non-fiction articles. And I need to go over my memoir and figure out the next step with that. I want to teach at least one course, class or workshop in writing this year.

I hope I can match my story/poetry sales from 2010 in the new year. I also want to start editing and evaluating manuscripts for pay. I’m good at it, and I believe I can help other people improve and sell their work.

There. I’ve said what I plan to do. Saying it to you people out there helps me not back down from it, and keeps me honest.

Take the plunge – make a plan, set a goal, and see what happens.

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