Do you or don’t you? Set goals, that is. Oh, by the way, Happy New Year to all. Hope you’ve recovered from last night.
I also hope you have many wonderful, joyous, surprises throughout 2013. Melting moments…yes, that’s what they should be called. Weren’t they a candy? Maybe I’m making that up. Anyway, talk to me. Tell me about your goals, resolutions, plans, because I need help and I am not above pilfering.
Every year, during the season, my critique partner and I set our next year writing goals. And to keep us honest, Gina and I share those goals. Every five years, I also do a five year goal plan. That one I keep private. It often has outlandish goals and things that would make me blush if ever disclosed. The next five year plan is due now, but instead of blushing I’m squirming.
For the past five years there was an avid pursuit of publication, stalking of agents, and always an entry into the RWA Golden Heart contest. Most of the updates were responses to submissions, or contests. In the early years my comments were polite. Then, as the years passed, I’d comment usually in all caps, or yellow, or red. I can sense my mood from the exclamations, the size of the font, the caps, or the lack of caps. There might be: Submitted XXXX to editor XXXX on XXXX date, then six months later…STILL HAVE NOT HEARD BACK!! Then two months later…STILL NOTHING!!!! Or, WTF!!! A few months later there’d be a modest entry like: a nice rejection. Those lower case words exemplified my sadness. I’d never write anything like “Those rat bastards they rejected me again,” because that would be bad karma. I might think it, but no, I’d never put those feelings into words. : )
I remained positive, like a warrior brandishing my sword and slugging away at a five-year war. I knew my enemy and had learned battle skills. Even if I wasn’t certain that I was winning I couldn’t give up, and while there may have been an occasional delusion of grandeur, a heroic slashing of a dragon or two, for the most part I stayed the course. From 2007 through 2012 I’d become comfortable in my knowledge of the romance writer’s world. I knew a lot of writers, knew my way around RWA National conference, how to pitch to an agent or editor, and my writing craft showed signs of improvement. Then the war ended.
Now I’ve started a new phase. I stare at the empty page with only the heading: Five Year Goal Plan. I start to laugh uncontrollably. I feel like a rookie. In 2013 I’ll have three books published. Where do I go from here? I’m having enough difficulty setting goals for this year. What will I hope to achieve by 2018? How will I measure my success, or lack of success? I haven’t got a clue.
I’ve entered a new five-year war, and barely able to lift my sword. A dragon breathes fire down my neck. I think his name is fear. I don’t look back, but I check those earlier goals. The laughter ceases. I turn and stare the dragon down and whisper, “Baby steps.” He shuffles away. I’ll start out slow, just like I did five years before, and five years before that. I’ll observe my peers, and learn from the masters. My goals will be modest. I’ll gain confidence, and soon I’ll be writing the most outlandish goals. I’m almost blushing at some of my thoughts, yet I’m also excited. But that’s what it’s all about, right? We have to continue to plan our course of action, move forward, and always, always, slash at the dragons, or at least call them out on their intimidation tactics.
Now, where is my sword?