08 January 2012

2012: The Year of Finishing Things

I've been thinking a lot about the difference between goals and dreams, probably prompted by a blog post from Dean Wesley Smith (if you're a writer, you should really read his blog and go back and read the archives--there's a lot of gold there).

A Dream:
An objective in the future that is out of your control.
A Goal:
An objective in the future that is totally in your control.

It's an important difference, I think. Too often, the goals we come up with (at least I do this) are really dreams, things we can work towards, but which are ultimately out of our control. So this year I'm going to think more carefully about my goals, and not confuse them with my dreams. Which isn't to say I don't have dreams, I have a big one. But I'll actively work on the things I absolutely can make happen and save the dreams for, well, dreaming about.

So my goals this year are fairly simple, and they have to do with two broad concepts:

  1. finishing things I've already started
  2. keeping up the momentum I've already built

And considering how very many things I started in the last few years, I'll have plenty to keep me busy.

Goals for 2012

  • finish something every week from the things-started pile, whether it's a craft project, a book, or a piece of writing
  • start new projects only if I can finish them quickly, and then finish them (exceptions are bigger projects I've planned to to do for some time, but haven't actually started on yet, like the new novel)
  • write every day even if it's just a sentence or two (and not stress if I miss a day, but just pick up again the next day)
I may come up with more later, but those are the main ones. 2012 will be the year of finishing things. I do have some more specific goals, like particular novels to get written, particular publishing goals, and so on, and I may detail those out in a later post(s).

Dreams for 2012
I have a dream, though it's not really one I expect to achieve this year. It's certainly one I can work towards though, by meeting all my goals. That dream is simply to make writing--writing fiction, that is--my full-time job. That doesn't mean I'll stop teaching or bookbinding or letterpress printing, but it does mean that those things will be things I do because I enjoy them, not because I'm scrabbling to find grocery money.

And for those who believe that writing fiction full time is a dream that can only be realized by a select few who sell gazillions of books and whose very laundry lists could generate income, well, maybe you should start reading Kristine Kathryn Rusch's blog (also an essential for writers). There is another way to make a living as a fictionist, and that is by having a lot of things available for people to buy. The new publishing paradigm that's developing, with e-books at the forefront and more writerly control, is perfect for the mid-lister, and that's a fine place for me. I don't need to be a blockbuster seller. In fact, I think I'd rather not be.

So, onward. I've got goals to hit.

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