RTW: Goals for 2012

Photo Credit: The Guardian, Oct 12, 2012

This week’s Road Trip Wednesday question, set by the writer ladies at YA Highway, is:

What are your goals for the new year—for reading, writing, or other?

I don’t really have a big “2013 To-Do List.” There are things I want to accomplish this year. Some of these are:

  • Revise/edit/polish the first draft of my WIP so it’s ready for beta readers–if it’s good enough.
  • Assemble beta readers for my WIP (assuming it’s good enough).
  • Write more short stories–perhaps even submit some for publication.
  • Read more non-fiction. I’m pleased with the amount of fiction I’ve managed to get through (and enjoy) over the past few years, but my non-fiction (particularly theological and historical) reading has suffered as a result.
  • Have time away from the writing desk–particularly with the family.

This is a really short list, but I think I can sum up my goals in two words: Balance and Perspective.

I want to make sure I give sufficient time to writing, reading, family, work, and so on without getting engrossed (or obsessed) with one to the expense of the others. And I want to keep a healthy perspective on them all–and on life as a whole. Life is short. There are things I want to accomplish, and there’s a good possibility I’ll be able to do those things in the time I have left. And there’s a very good possibility there will be things left undone. All I can do is try to be a good steward of the time I have, do as much as I can, and pray that it counts for something in the end.

How about you? Do you have plans, goals, hopes for 2013? You can share in the comments, or join the Road Trip (see the YA Highway blog for details).

And while you’re here, have you entered my Book of the Year Giveaway, yet? If you already own a copy of Tahereh Mafi’s amazing SHATTER ME, I am now offering an alternative selection: the sequel, UNRAVEL ME, which comes out on February 5th (I will pre-order it for the winner). The giveaway closes at midnight US ET, January 20th. Don’t leave it till the last minute!

33 Responses to RTW: Goals for 2012

  1. Keeping balance is always a good goal! Trying to find that happy medium between reading, writing, work, and family can be tough, but a good balance means less stress and more productivity. Good luck finding your happy medium this year. And good luck polishing your WiP!

    • Thanks, Nickie. Balance is always tough, especially when you’re spending time away from reading (“good writers should be reading all the time!!!”) and writing (“good writers will write EVERY DAY!!!”). I think I’ve come to the place where I’ve heard the advice (see the parentheses), and I understand the sentiment, but I need to do what I need to do. An agent or publisher who loves my work isn’t going to base whether or not they take me on by the number of hours I spend with my nose in a book. This isn’t piloting. You don’t get hired based on the number of hours you’ve spent in the air. :)

  2. I want to read more non-fiction, too! I’ve had a small shelf of Bill Bryson books calling to me for ages…I love his work but I’m always afraid I won’t get into it (spoiler alert: that’s never true!) So after a small spurt of Cybils reading and reading for a new class I’m teaching, I’m going to try to shift over to some non-fiction for a while.

    • For me it’s something I need to do, partly because I got my theology degrees for a reason (I enjoy it and enjoy studying it), and also to keep myself sharp in the Sunday School room (and I have sharp people in my Sunday School group). But also, reading history and other non-fiction helps to keep the fiction writer grounded, and inspired. I wish you well with your reading plan!

  3. Yes, balance and perspective are so important! Good luck with your resolutions.

  4. Those are great goals, Colin! Beta readers really make all the difference, so I hope you find the right ones for your work who can help you take it to the next level. I’ll also be revising and polishing this year, so we’re in the same boat! Good luck with everything!

    • Thanks, Julie. I think you’re right about beta readers. In fact, I will probably be reaching out to some of my blog friends first–especially ones I’ve “known” for a while who I think will give me good, honest critiques. And perhaps some whose writing I’ve enjoyed and might be willing to let me beta read their work in return. :)

  5. If you discover the secret to balancing your writing life with everything else, and put that in a book–man, you’d be golden! ;)
    Best in 2013!

  6. I share your goal of reading more non-fiction. I sat with my aunt over the holidays to talk about family history–she’s been doing genealogy for almost 20 years now, and while I’ve heard a lot of it before, she had new information from a recent research trip that fascinated me. I picked up 1776 by David McCollough about the Revolutionary War, to round out some of the time period details we talked about. I’m looking for some good reads in history–particularly those geared toward a mainstream audience. I’ve done my fair share of reading textbook like historical accounts, and I need something more engaging.

    Here are my goals at A Girl and her Diary

    • I have 1776 by McCollough–I haven’t read it yet, though. It’s on my historical TBR. I’ve found that good, well-written history is hard to find. Some of the best academically are very dry, and some of the most entertaining are not necessarily the most academically rigorous. Some might say you can’t have both. I’m not of that camp, and look forward to discovering great, academically thorough, yet highly engaging and entertaining historical writers.

  7. It is funny how when I write goals like yours, I also think it isn’t a lot. And then, at the end of the year, I’m like, “Whoa! I did all of that!” I also want to read more non-fiction, and even classics, this year. I’m starting with a book about the history of robots in Japan. Pretty excited when I saw the library has it on the shelves!

    Cheers!

    • The history of robots in Japan: that actually sounds interesting. Will you be reviewing (on Goodreads or your blog)? I’d be interested in your comments. Yes, if I accomplish these, I will be happy. I suppose each one is more of a heading, under which could be a lot of work. For example, “revising the NaNo project” may result in five or six versions of the novel. And if I can persuade two or three people to read my drivel, that will be a *major* accomplishment! :D

  8. Hmm… I don’t think I thought of balance with all the writing challenges I’ve planned on completing this year haha. Great list and lots of luck with them! I’m sure that WiP of yours will be in awesome shape this year. You’re another step closer to accomplishing your dreams. :)

    • Thanks, Robin. Writing challenges can be such fun, and a good work out for the imagination. That’s why I like the A-to-Z Blogging challenge. There’s the challenge of blogging to a letter of the alphabet, but also, like last year, I plan to write a piece of fiction every Monday of the challenge. I’m already figuring out what letters they will be… :)

      As for the WIP, if I’m brutal enough with my editing, and with the help of some sharp-eyed and story-savvy beta readers, I have high hopes. :)

  9. These sound like great goals to me. I really need to work on balance in my life. One of my goals for this year is to write and submit a short story. I’ve never done it before and I want to give it a shot. Good luck with everyone! :)

    P.S. Did you know you wrote 2012 instead of 2013?

    • Thank you, Rachael. I’ve written some short stories, but they either end up just for my amusement, or as freebies on the blog (see under “Stories”). On reflection, I should have held on to some of these freebies and considered working them up for submission to a magazine (for example, the story “Hourglass” I wrote during last year’s A-to-Z Challenge–possibly one of the best short stories I’ve written, IMO). In any case, it would be fun to see my work in a magazine, as well as being affirming, and looking good on query letters. :)

      P.S. Well spotted! Are you applying to be a beta reader? ;) I noticed this error probably just after you saw it. If you refresh the page, you’ll see I corrected it. Thanks for pointing it out, nevertheless. :)

  10. Balance and Perspective – great words to go by.
    I’ve just bought 2 non-fiction (craft) books … it’s the only kind of non-fiction books I read ;)
    Great goals, Colin! Good luck!

    • Thanks, Juliana! I read at least one craft book a year (Stephen King’s ON WRITING), but try to get a couple of other in also. I’m finding a lot of the same tips and advice repeated in all these books, though, so the better ones are not necessarily the ones saying something new, but the ones saying the same thing in a better or more entertaining way. King’s is still the best, though. IMO. :)

  11. These are some great goals, Colin! I think BALANCE and PERSPECTIVE are two really good focus words as well. I think I could really use both of them in my life right now. I have goals for myself for this year, but I haven’t really organized my thoughts around them. I need to mull them over a little before I share them with everyone. I hope 2013 is a good year for you, and that you’re successful in meeting these goals. :)

    • Thanks, Jaime. I’ll be impressed if I meet half of the few specifics on my list, but if I can end up the year knowing I’ve managed to keep my reading, writing, and life in good balance, I’ll be happy. :)

  12. I’ve been shying away from non-fiction since finishing college because that’s pretty much all I read for five years, but I keep picking up biographies and history books at books sales – so I really want to make an effort to read some more of it. Hopefully it won’t give me bad flashbacks to all those papers I left to the last minute :)

    • If history books could be as well written as some novels, I think a lot of those college nightmares would never happen. Imagine, a college history text that’s as fun to read as a YA novel! I’m sure there are some historians out there that can write fun, yet academically rigorous history. I don’t know if I’ve found them yet. In any case, perhaps that will help you get through them: think “how could I write this better?” Or better yet: “Is there a novel in this?” :)

      • I do have one or two favorite authors – I hugely admire Alison Weir’s work, which is interesting without being dry, and I’ve referenced it both in my college history papers and in researching for my current WIP. But alas, I have yet to find more out there like her :/

  13. Very good goals I like your choice of words. Balance and perspective are so important. We can all only do so much. Good luck with your goals.

  14. Excellent word choices! Balance is a word I have in mind for myself this year as well. I also really like what you said about perspective. I think it’s easy to forget why you’re doing things and then they become chores, rather than something to be enjoyed. Good luck with your goals this year!

    • Thanks you, Erin! It may not look like it from this list, but I set goals for myself all the time: what I want to accomplish this week, today, this evening, etc. Sometimes they have to be hard-and-fast because they are things I committed to someone else I would do, or someone else is depending on me getting something done. Other times, they are just personal goals. And I have to remind myself of the same principles: balance and perspective. Will the world implode if I don’t get to this particular task? Can I prioritize these tasks so I do the things that matter most, and not stress out, but enjoy the tasks? That kind of thing. So that’s why I boiled my 2013 goals down to those two words. Whatever I end up planning for myself this year, month, or tonight, I need to remember these things.

  15. Great goals. I love the Balance and Perspective. I sure need that. Good luck with everything this year. Thanks for sharing. :D

  16. I am there with you on needing to maintain a healthy relationship with all the roles in my life. Good luck with you WIP. We all feel like it’s never good enough, but it’s usually better than you think. (Not always, but I doubt you fall into that category.)

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