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Around this time last year, I set two writing-related goals for myself. Not New Year’s Resolutions—those are pie-in-the-sky, no-way-in-hell, I’ll-do-this-for-two-weeks-then-quit type of goals. What I set was old-fashioned, challenging yet obtainable goals. They were:

1) Blog once a month
2) Complete a polished and “submittable” novel

I missed the first one by a mile—in retrospect, that was probably one of those pie-in-the-sky type resolutions. However, I completed Goal 2—I finished Jackson Green in the summer, and it sold soon thereafter. Of course, looking at the amount of work left to do on the manuscript, it clearly wasn’t as “polished” as I thought it was.

Now that 2012 is coming to a close, it’s time to come up with more goals. And as I do every year around this time, I look back on the year and use that as a way to gauge the future.

More this year than any other, I’ve realized that I’m not the same person I was 17 years ago, when I was a nineteen-year-old college kid scribbling away on a yellow notepad in a shabby little apartment (BTW—that novel never got published). I’m not even the same person I was 8 years ago, when my first novel was published. The 35-year-old me has a full-time day job that demands a lot of my time. I have a wife and a daughter that need and deserve my attention. Added to all that is all the “author” stuff. Emails. Copyedits. Invoices. This year in particular, I did an insane amount of speaking and teaching engagements—each which took prep time. And I still tried to write in the middle of the night.

Guess which activity pretty much got the shaft.

So in 2013, Varian the author is taking a break so that Varian the writer can get back to work. And with that, my goal is nice and simple:

1) Write 1500 words a week.

BlackHeartI’ve been really impressed with Holly Black’s use of work count goals. Gary Schmidt does the same—only writing 500 words a day on a project. I’m not hard-core enough to keep a daily word count, but I think I can pull it off per week.

So there it is. I said it. Typed it. Etched it in blood (okay, so maybe that’s stretching it a little). 1500 words a week. And now that it’s out there, I’m going to try my best to meet that goal. I’m going to keep track. And at the end of the year, we’ll see how I did.

2011 S3Q2 retreat. Linden & Ginger in the bot. row

2011 S3Q2 retreat. Linden & Ginger in the bottom row

I asked some of the other Q&Q posters if they’d like to share and declare their goals for the year. Linden’s plan is to write four hours a week (which, knowing her schedule, is Herculean). Ginger plans to revise two manuscripts AND participate in NaNoWriMo. (NaNoWriMo = insane). But she did it this year. No reason she can’t again, right? And Larissa’s goal is to complete a first new draft—no small feat when you’re the mother of two little ones.

Anyway, those are our goals for the year. And while I won’t be blogging once a month, I will come back in a year and will report on how we did.

At least, that’s the goal.

Anyone else have any goals for 2013?

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