Reflecting On My 2016 Writing Goals

How’d I do? How’d you do? Did you write stuff?

That time of year already? YAY YAY YAY!

Last year around this time I shared four writing-related goals I wanted to accomplish by the end of the year. Here they are again – and I’m going to tell you right now, I was not as successful, as far as these goals are concerned, as I had hoped. But it’s fine. Really. You’ll see.

Finish writing my 2015 NaNoWriMo novel

As of the day I’m writing this, I have not finished writing my book from last year … yet. There is still a pretty good chance that I will be able to, if I really block out time over the next week to do so. No guarantees, though. I have made progress over the year – probably about 10,000 words in total – but I have not had enough time to really bring it together and finish it. I’m going to guess I’m still about 10,000 words away. I’ll stick a short update right below this paragraph later if I do end up finishing before the end of the year though – fingers crossed.

Write and send out a query letter

Nope. Mainly because of the goal above, or the lack of being able to achieve it. I don’t currently have a novel that’s ready for querying. There’s really no excuse other than that. Maybe next year?

Finish grad school

The good news is, the grad school world, at least for now, is officially behind me. (YEEEEEEEE.) It’s the main reason why I’ve been struggling so much to keep up with posting over the past few months, but I never gave up on you. Was it easy? No. It burned me out, and then burned me out again while I was already burned out. Not a fun time. So much so that, as you are reading this, I am on vacation, something I have not done in over a year because ADULTING IS HARD. But I did it. I have more time to work on other projects now. Stay tuned for some awesome updates to the blog and associated things. (:

Write some novellas for a project I have now told you about

Started it. Got about halfway through. Had to make a choice between giving up or dying, pretty much. I’ll explain a little bit more below, but honestly, I just couldn’t do it. There were not enough hours in the day, and I exhausted myself constantly trying to keep up with word counts. So I had to put the project to bed a little over halfway through the year. I really enjoyed writing novellas; I liked the shorter format. I got to ‘meet’ a lot of fun, new characters and practice marketing my fiction. The main goal of the project, though, was to raise money for charity – and I actually did not end up doing that, at all. So at least for now, I don’t plan on resuming the project. It was a nice try, but sometimes you just have to say, “no more.”

Out of the four goals I listed publicly at the end of last year, I managed to accomplish one thing. Normally I would be pretty bummed about that, but I’m pretty sure I wrote out these goals before I’d really thought through how my year was going to go. It must have been after publishing that original post that I made it a goal to publish an ebook – which I did, this past June.

Before 2016 started, I also had no intention of starting a freelance writing career. Really. So I set all these goals thinking I would have nothing else to do with my life. After going full-time, I realized I just couldn’t keep up with most of my original writing goals, especially since they were all personal projects that weren’t going to make me any money. (It’s not that money is the most important thing to me. Graduate school costs money, and so do student loans from two bachelor’s degrees. So. Yeah.)

2017 will be a better year, especially because I’m going into it already knowing I’ll be working full-time, whether it’s in freelancing or a more traditional job. I’ve also learned not to set so many goals to accomplish in a single year. Mistake? Yeah, kind of. But it’s OK. We learn. We grow. We do things differently, and hopefully better, the next time around.

It’s important to look back and reflect on everything you DID accomplish this year. So I didn’t finish my book, query any agents or follow through on The Novella Concept. But I did write a short ebook, double Novelty’s subscriber count, write 500+ articles for clients, graduate, reconnect with friends I’ve missed, and have a lot of fun. That’s what matters – that you’re proud of what you did do, even if there are some things you didn’t quite get around to this year.

Don’t get too down on yourself if you weren’t able to accomplish everything you wanted to in 2016, especially when it comes to writing. You still have next year. You have time to rewrite your goals and restructure your schedule. If you have to, just set one goal. One thing. Work on that thing until you finish it – then move on to the next thing.

So how’d you do this year? Did you set and/or meet any writing goals this year? How many of them did you achieve, if any? What are you hoping to accomplish next year?

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

2 thoughts on “Reflecting On My 2016 Writing Goals

  1. I have to admit, I didn’t really reach any of my original goals, under the Christianfictionwriters blog. I haven’t written anything on it for a while, as I did start a new blog, that has become very active and followed by a lot of people.
    I met and made a lot of new goals, with the intention of writing for both blogs next year, although, my fiction/fantasy writing will be a lot less.

    1. I’m so glad you were able to make some new goals along the way! I too did some things last year that I did not originally plan on – creativity is spontaneous sometimes, in the best and worst way possible. Good luck on your goals this year. :)

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