I used to be a fan of resolutions. The beginning of a new year is just so exciting, and I liked to imagine that, as the calendar was tossed in the recycling and replaced by a new shiny model, I too would emerge into the new year blazing like the mythical phoenix.
So, thirty-some new years have taught me that just doesn't happen. Very disappointing, but I've moved on. Now, instead of resolutions, I like to set goals for a year. Those, I can keep. Goals help me map work to a deadline. Goals keep me focused on things that would otherwise slip entirely too easily off my plate. And they help me move forward in my life. Especially when it comes to writing.
The trick, however, is to make those goals realistic. For example, this year I plan to draft eight short stories and have them all circulating by end of year. I'm not saying they will be published. That's out of my hands. All I can control is how much I produce, how good it is, and how I present it to potential buyers (a.k.a. editors).
That way, my goals are achievable. I can control their success or failure. Oh sure, life gets in the way, but failure is now further at bay. And isn't it sometimes nice to know that failure isn't breathing down your neck?
Writing is a tough profession, there's not doubt about that. Successes are great, failures are painful. So make your goals, keep on typing, but be realistic. If you can't type 1000 words a day, don't say you will. Say you'll do 200 a day, or 1000 a week.
Make your goals work for you, especially in artistic pursuits. Too often I hear of new writers not sticking with it because their goals were too lofty. Don't fall prey to that trap in 2013!