My “New Year's Resolutions” for the last several years have revolved around the same topics. How much I’m going to write. What writing projects I’m going to finish. How many books I’m going to read. Improvements in diet. To stop biting my goshdarn nails.
Some I’m more successful at than others. I’m least successful at stopping the nail biting.
As you may or may not have heard before, you are more likely to achieve your goals if you come up with specific plans on how the achievement them and to make the goals measurable. So, I will not just be blogging my resolutions, but how I plan to make it so.
I have written done my goals like this for myself the last two years and it has been a successful experience. Now I’m sharing them online so that is an extra level of accountability, ha.
Goal 1: Read 100 books
Why: I topped off at 79 this year. Which is pretty high but that includes a manga series I’m chugging through. I just want to hit that one hundred mark. I just always have such a long To Be Read list, and I want to get through more of it.
Please note I count audio, graphic novels, and children’s chapter books as books toward my goal.
Read during my lunch break instead of playing app games and scrolling social media on my phone.
Listen to more audio books (in car, while doing chores).
Always have an in progress ebook on my phone for when I am at places without a physical book. Sneak in more reading that way.
Dedicate at least a half an hour (ideally an hour) a day to reading either before or after work. In alternate measure, at least fifty pages of reading (ideally one hundred pages) of reading a day.
Dedicate at least an hour to reading on weekends and days off work.
Keep track of progress on Goodreads.
Goal 2: Write 300,000 creative words.
Why: Because I did it in 2017. In 2018 I made it to 250,000 words. Giving myself this goal has produced better almost-daily writing habits in me, pushed me to finish projects, and gotten me over so-called “writers blocks.”
Write a little everyday, with the goal being a little over 800 words a day. This counts original fiction, fanfiction, and blog posts for this website. This does not include school work or work work.
Stop trying to write in front of the television all the time. Actually use your writing desk.
Prioritize writing time before leisure activities.
If I’m too busy or too mentally drained to write on a specific day, I’m allowed to have a no-guilt skip day.
If I’m in the groove even after hitting the word count, keep going.
Keep track on writetrack website.
Goal 3: Submit to at least five writing opportunities a month (literary magazines, anthologies, queries, contests, etc.)
Why: Because you need to submit to be published. Because regular submissions means you have to look for new and diverse opportunities and that you catch submission periods that are only open for short periods.
Keep track on excel spreadsheet.
Submit stories on days/nights when you don’t have writing time or energy.
Make up for accidental shortages in one month with more submissions the next.
(I successfully have done this -- or a variation of this -- the last two years with good results in that I have consistently gotten several short story acceptances the last two years.)
Goal 4: Build my writer social media presence.
Why: Because I’m the odd millennial who is not a natural oversharer online. Because this is the way to network, connect with potential, and be part of the literary community.
Set aside time on weekend/days off to schedule posts.
When casually on social media, be more interactive with shares and comments.
Tweet once a day in the morning as part of morning routine.
Be more active/interactive on tumblr. I’ve been hanging out there for years, but not building a community.
Goal 5: Stop Biting Nails!
Why: Because I want to stop biting them. Because I want them to be long and pretty. Because biting them probably looks unprofessional and gross.
Take time to manicure and paint them when I’m not rushed so they will have proper time to dry and thus I am less likely to pick at messed up paint.
Use bad tasting polish to deter nail biting.
Keep track of nail biting on chart as to measure success and failure.
(Note: After writing, but before posting, I actually already started on this goal. This has involved youtube stop nailing biting hypnosis videos -- I kid you not -- and I am seeing some progress, albeit during a week while I’m wearing acrylic nails. Maybe 2019 will be my stop nail biting success year?)
Do you have any ambitions for the new year? Remember, the first steps are to write them out, make them measureable, and come up with plans to obtain success. Then -- start at it and start keeping track. Good luck on your new year’s resolutions!
2018 was an up and down writing year.
Five short story acceptances and five short story publications... Yay!
(I know this sounds like the same five stories, but it’s not. Some stories were accepted in 2017 and not published until 2018; somewhere accepted in 2018 and will not be published until 2019.)
Falling short of my yearly writing word count goal... Boo!
(Yearly writing goal was 300,000. Had to be lower to 250,000. Will likely make that.)
Getting to read my second place winning short story on a panel at a Sci Fi conference (and getting to attend that conference for free)... Yay!
(The Pawnshop of Intangible Things got second place in the 2017 Baltimore Science Fiction Society’s Ametuer Writing Contest. Later it was published in Deep Magic, my first professional sale, thus making me not an ametuer anymore. The con was Balticon. It was really cool.)
No one showing up for the panel… Boo!
(Except the readers, the panel moderator, and one other panelists three family members. Still worth it though.)
Establishing official social media author accounts on facebook and twitter… Yay!
(Find me on facebook @margerybayne and on twitter @themargerybayne.)
Not really knowing how to use twitter… Boo!
(WTF is a subtweet?)
Learning much from my ‘write 1000 words a day for 30 days’ challenge… Yay!
(This wasn’t NaNoWriMo. Podcast on my experience to come.)
Struggling with original fiction… Boo!
Still making progress with original fiction despite the ups and downs, changing jobs, and making my halfway point through graduate school… Yay!
Of course, Thanksgiving is the time of year we are called on to think about what we are thankful for. So, here I am, being thankful.
I am thankful for my new job. In August of this year I started a new job at a new library system. This was after several months of job searching after I decided I couldn’t continue with my current position due to the unsupportive and rough conditions at my place of employment. Just a few months in I am so glad of the change, of the new teamwork-oriented environment, and of how this has reflected positively on my mental and emotional health.
I am thankful of my new living situation. This October marks one year being roommates with my brother and it is a very nice situation.
I am thankful for the publications I have had this year. 2017 was a breaking point for me, getting some publication acceptances and placing second in a writing contest. That momentum has carried into 2018. I got to go on a panel at a scifi conference. I have several other publications and publication acceptances. One of them was my first ever “professional” publication, meaning the pay rate was at/over .06 cents per word. (It was also one of the two of my most favorite stories I’ve written, so I am thankful it found its place.)
I have two more publications coming out before the end of 2018. I’m thankful for that too.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
Insights from the life of an aspiring, struggling writer; a passionate reader, and a working librarian.
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