Farewell to March! It’s the last day of the month, and also of the first quarter of the year, which makes today an excellent time to assess your writing progress and see where you want to go next. Remember those goals and/or resolutions you made around January 1st? How are those working out for you? Never mind your visits to the gym or your promise to eat more fiber; I’m interested in your writing goals, and how you’re working toward building your career.
Perhaps you’ve had a great few months, and you’re right on target for the goals you set. If so, congratulations! Toast yourself, or grab a cupcake — whatever little reward makes you smile — and then face forward and continue to charge ahead. What goals have you set for yourself for the second quarter? What needs to happen in April to keep you on track? Are there any adjustments you would like to make based on what you’ve accomplished so far? Have any new opportunities come up that change your game plan? Goals and resolutions should be fluid, altering as your writing progresses, new ideas come to mind, and you master both your craft and the business.
On the other hand, you might be feeling a little behind right now. Maybe you didn’t get as much writing time in as you’d hoped, or you’re not completely pleased with your latest project. That’s fine. Just take a deep breath and an honest look at what you’ve been doing. Have you been procrastinating or simply busy with things outside your control? Are you being too hard on your WIP? Any draft is better than a blank page, after all. Get it all down, and then go back and revise. Books are made during the editing process; no one should expect a first draft to be golden. Then decide where to go next. What would you like to accomplish going forward? How can you carve out more writing time? Maybe take a writing class for inspiration, or see if you can join a new writing group to get some fresh feedback. Assess your goals for the year, and see what you need to do in the next three months to point yourself back in the right direction.
If you swore to write 1,000 words a day starting January 1st, and kept to that resolution, you could be finishing off the first draft of a 90,000 word novel today. Maybe it would be a shitty first draft, but that’s okay, because we all know that draft is just the kicking-off point — something to work with, beyond the scary blank page. If you start April 1st and write 1,000 words a day, you can have a first draft by the end of June. Don’t beat yourself up for something you failed to do in the past. Just recommit to your writing and do the best you can each day. And don’t forget that, depending where you are in your career development, you can also make goals pertaining to getting published, improving your self-marketing skills, and more.
Some potential goals for April through June:
- Commit to writing every day (either a set word goal or a specific amount of time)
- Finish a work-in-progress
- Revise a first draft
- Write and polish three short stories
- Research agents and make a list of potential representation for your nearly finished project
- Send out ten query letters a month
- Brainstorm 50 ideas for potential projects; write the first sentence for each of them
- Set up a blog tour for an upcoming release
- Redesign your author site
- Learn one new form of social media and engage through it regularly (frequency to be determined by the platform)
- Start a quarterly newsletter for your readers and include a sign-up on your author site home page