As a list maker I can really go overboard in setting goals for the new year. Goals for writing, housework, outside activities and daily chores all get sub-categories to guide me to completion. My lists become so detailed that I feel overwhelmed, resorting to ignoring the lists and accomplishing very little.
While reading various blog posts from other writers, I am reminded that life happens around me, and I can’t make plans engraved in stone. This year I want one thing—to make more money writing. With that in mind I gave myself four goals.
Send out more queries.
Time must be set aside to send queries. It requires rewriting queries to fit publisher’s demands. I set a goal of sending out at least one a week. In truth I would like to do more, but if I set one as a goal, I will be inspired to surpass it.
Rewrite and edit existing things
I have short stories, articles and devotionals that could fill volumes, not to mention my finished novel and new novel outlines. I want to take the time this year to reread and polish each one. Some may require total rewrites others deleted, but there are those gems which need only a good publishing home.
Team writing with my spouse
This past year my husband and I have been writing web content and other components for a foundation we are assisting. He is a grant writer and together we have been crafting some interesting copywriting. I need to carve out time to work with him when I am home while not robbing my own personal writing time.
Take time to write everyday
This is the mantra of every writer. Looking at my weekly schedule, I realize there are hours of time already committed. I work 7:00 am-3:00 pm three days a week and 7:00 am-11:00 am every other Saturday. I know that my most creative time seems to be in the morning. I rise at 4:30 every morning. On non-work days I try to write at least a couple of hours. However, I’ve learned if I look at my email and Face book and other blogs first can led to the death of my creativity. I feel compelled to comment and update and reply. I need to set a time aside each day for this necessary distraction without taking time from my daily writing commitment. I haven’t decided if rewriting and editing old stuff is part of the two hour commitment.
Research takes time
Some of my goals will need research time carved out such as perusing through 2011 Christian Writer’s Guide and various websites for submission prospects, researching information for copy content, articles and blog material. Let’s not forget reading books and magazine articles on the craft of writing and research material that adds depth and accuracy to article content. Checking out freelance jobs online is another piece of the research puzzle. All this takes time that is not supposed to be part of my actual sitting in the chair fingers on keyboard writing time.
I have a house full of adult children who are in-between apartments for various reasons that disturb my writing time and sometimes my creativity. They each have a dog that I become responsible for when their masters aren’t home. My aging parents call to request help saying no hurry but meaning take care of it now. My writer’s group needs my encouragement as much as I need theirs. I serve in various capacities at church. The latter things I can control; the former are interruptions to work around.
There is a whole world of endless possibilities to take hours from my day. So limiting my goals for this year to these four: queries, rewrite, writing with my spouse and writing every day makes carving out time to achieve more manageable than long lists and sub-lists for every area of my life.
I’ll let you know if I am successful. I hope to exceed my expectations and collect some wonderful extras along the way.
What writing goals have you set? What robs your writing time?