"Oh, I don't make resolutions," she said.
"Me neither," said my other friend with a look of distaste.
I should say that these are two super cool women. They are anti bandwagon, independent thinkers. They are not into the collective madness that is all too often a part of the new year. I think in a lot of ways, they have reason to despise the whole resolution trip. I once disdained it too. I figured that because I was already working pretty darned hard at everything I did, there was no reason to set goals or make a plan at the beginning of the calendar year. You get stuff done, you're happy, no reason to set goals, right?
That was how I used to feel. In that moment, though, I realized that I'd become the kind of person who looks forward to the new year as an opportunity to choose new goals, make new plans, and even, dare I say it, resolve a thing or two.
|Sometimes one feels left out.|
|This will not be me in December 2012.|
Write 1 Sub 1. This year I'm planning to do the weekly challenge. Write, edit, and submit 52 stories in 52 weeks. I tend to work spasmodically, in concentrated bursts followed by long periods of rest, so this mega marathon challenge is going to be interesting for me.
Story a Day in May. What it sounds like. I did it last year and it was great.
The Race. This is more a motivational trick than a goal. Your score is determined by how many different pieces you have submitted, one point per short story. If a story gets published or rejected, you lose the point. Novel sample chapters and complete ms. are counted differently. The idea originated with the incredibly prolific Dean Wesley Smith, but the also incredibly prolific Deborah Walker explains it in a pithy fashion at Flash Fiction Chronicles. I've got a few pieces to sub before I meet my 2011 submissions goal (tomorrow), so I think I'll be starting the year with nine race points? I'm aiming to hit 50 at some point in 2012. The whole idea is to sustain a large number of pieces out at a time, because, as Dean Wesley Smith notes, "It is also always stunning how the writers with the most points make the most sales. Always happens for some reason."
NaNoEdMo. National Novel Editing Month, aka March. I've got this behemoth of a novel manuscript sitting in a file beside my desk. I plan to spend January and February doing some research to answer some technical questions I couldn't during November while I was writing. I've got a short reading list to help me make sure I'm not goofing on some of the broad, sweeping questions I have, mostly about ethnic minorities in medieval Europe. There are a few missing scenes to write. By March, I should be ready to edit.
Camp NaNoWriMo. I would love to write another novel at some point other than November. Camp NaNoWriMo runs June and August. I might participate in the June challenge. I've got a sequel to my current novel planned, but I might try to put together a standalone project.
NaNoWriMo: Without National Novel Writing Month, November would just be a crappy descent into the darkest, rainiest, blandest time of year.
Raw Word Count. I usually set a word count goal for myself at the beginning of the year. Unedited, first draft, loosey goosey words count here. I'll probably use the same number I did in 2011 (225k). This is one way to measure progress, but this year it will be more for fun than anything else. Mainly I want to focus more on getting work out there than on how long any individual piece is. With what I've got planned, I don't anticipate falling short of 225k.
Reading. There are a few of us over at Stringing Words who, inspired by Eileen Wiedbrauk of Speak Coffee to Me, resolve to read 52 books in a year. My brain was glitching on reading at the beginning of 2011, and I fell behind almost immediately, which is shameful. I'll try it again in 2012.
I've devised another reading goal for this year, a short story a day. You read that right. I'm becoming more aware that the art of short story writing is quite distinct from novelling, and yet I mostly read novels. Reading shorts is a way to immerse myself in the form. It is not that hard to fit in a piece of flash fiction if you're pressed for time, and on days when you want to kick back with something more substantial, you can. I'll focus some of my short story reading on collections and anthologies, so they'll count toward my 52 books.
I'll be tracking my goals and challenges at Stringing Words this year. You're more than welcome to join us if you would like a place to talk about what you're up to and track your projects, word count, and / or reading from week to week and month to month. Plus there's still a little bit of time to enter our holiday giveaway and win a $20 Amazon gift card.
Happy New Year, everybody. All my best in 2012.