Goals: Focusing on Less to Achieve More

I have this thing about setting goals. I love goals. I love planning, visualizing outcomes, setting up systems to track progress. I love the idea of accomplishment. Completing a work! A job well done!

So I always overestimate how much I can do.

I started outlining a one-year plan for my writing career in early January. I went back to it a week later and noticed that I had myself writing two new books, submitting my finished books to agents, learning all I can about indie publishing just in case, building multiple connections with other writers, joining two new writing groups, learning social media...I was exhausted just reading the list.

Also, have I mentioned that my twins just turned two? Or that I work 20 hours a week for a nonprofit? That overstuffed list guaranteed disappointment.

Fortunately, I found Joanna Penn's guidelines on goal-setting for writers. She offers many practical tips, but my main takeaway was choosing one non-negotiable goal for the year. What is the one thing I must achieve in 2017? For me, that's pursuing the heck out of publishing Good on Paper.

Not getting a book deal. Not landing an agent. But trying like you-know-what* to get that book out there.

So I revised my plan. It's all built around this one goal: giving Good on Paper its best chance to shine. That means blanketing the literary landscape with my query letter. And it may mean learning all I can about independent publishing. You know what? For the first time, I'm fine with either route. I'm a writer, I always have been, and I'm going to do what I do: Write. I'm also going to publish, whether someone else takes the wheel or I drive that rig myself.

When you check out Joanna Penn's post, don't forget to download her infographic on Planning for 2017. It's great stuff that clarified my goals for this year.

(*Re: the substitute swearing, I'm curbing the old sailor-tongue for the toddlers' sake. I'm at an all-or-nothing level of desperation at this point.)