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And That’s What Resolutions Are All About Charlie Brown

December 9, 2011

I love New Year resolutions. Making extensive lists of all the wonderful things I’m going to accomplish in the next year. And then getting to check them off! I don’t know about you but I enjoy checking things off a list. It instantly makes you feel as if you’ve accomplished something, even if the things you checked off were “Shower” and “Eat Breakfast.”

And yes, I do put those on my list frequently or they don’t always get done.

This post is not to convince you to make your own resolutions or to show you how. I’m simply showing you how I do it and if you like it, by all means, copy me. But there are already too many posts out there about resolutions. Basically, make a goal, write the steps to completing that goal, do it. The end.

So here is my list from last year. I am only including my writing goals, as that is what is most pertinent to this blog, not to mention a lot of my other goals are personal in a way I don’t want to share on this blog. Just for the curious, my other categories included Organization, Accomplished Woman, Exercise, Spirituality, Money Matters and Travel Plans. Here’s the writing goals:


–       attend 4 writing conferences (LTUE, CONduit, World Fantasy Con, WorldCon and possibly David Farland’s  Write that Novel)

–       write for 1 hour 5 days per week (outlining counts)

–       finish outline for Ghost Story (end of January?)

–       finish first draft of Ghost Story (end of April? 25k words a month?)

–       write a fantasy or sf comedy and submit to WotF (probably the later half of the year)

–       start to generate ideas for Snow White retelling or Ballerinas and Demons in school ideas

–       outline for one of those 2

–       pitch Ghost Story (or other novel if finished-ish) at World Fantasy Con

–       submit Ghost Story to agents and editor (eek!)

–       do not read more than 45 books if you can help it (write more instead! Also find time to read during the day NOT at night!)

–       start a blog and post once per week about writing and trying to get published and being scared out of my mind

Bold = I did it!

Strike = not quite

Bold and Strike = not even close

As you can see, I dream big. Which means I made about half my goals, touch most of the rest and only didn’t get even close on the most ridiculous. See, I knew I wasn’t ready to submit this year. But I put it on the list anyway so that I had a time constraint to finish my novel because there was something else to do when I finished. And I didn’t quite pitch my novel to an agent. But I did pitch it to a few con-goers as well as Dan Wells. I really hope he doesn’t remember :S I was so nervous. While I didn’t go to four writing conferences, the three I went to were invaluable, not to mention more expensive, so I still consider that accomplishment.

Looking over the goals I didn’t quite make or do at all, I think I need to write more consistently. Writing by the hour, or by time limit, is something I rarely do. So this year’s goal is simply 250 words daily. Something small enough I can accomplish it in ten minutes on busy days but I can always exceed it, and usually do once I sit down. But knowing that I can stop after 250 words somehow helps.

Here’s my writing chart for the year. Click on it for a closer view. Warning, we’re talking numbers now:


I started tracking my daily writing on January 1, 2010. I include blog posts and outlining as well. So far, I’ve written 128,681 words for the year and I still have December. Out of those words, I’ve gotten two novels (!), one full outline, a few partial outlines and some fun random writing I may never come back to.

Yet see how many zeros there are? If I changed every 0 to 250 …  multiply by the 186 days so far …  that’s an extra 46,500 words! About half a novel (or almost a NaNoWriMo novel). And I can write 250 words in 10 minutes or less most days.

Back in 2010, my first year as a “real writer,” I wrote 127,884. I wrote one novel and a lot of attempts that failed ultimately but got me some good experience. Well on my way to my 10,000 hours. [If you aren’t familiar with the 10,000 Hour Rule, by all means go read that chapter in Outliers by Malcom Gladwell. Very cool stuff but I never finished the book. Got repetitive.] The basic rule is that you have to practice something for 10,000 hours to be good at it. And by good, I mean genius level. Think John Lennon and Steve Jobs good.

Another rule you hear specific to writers is that you have to write 1 million practice words before you write your first real word. I like this rule better because I count my words, not my hours …. though maybe I should start. :)

According to that rule, I am ¼ of the way to writing my first real word. And I’m sure I wrote a bunch before I started counting. So give me another 6 years at this rate and I’ll be published, yes? Let’s see if I can speed things up a bit next year … Now, on to New Year resolutions for 2012!

Writing Goals


–       learn more about revision and editing (specifics such as re-outlining, character development, etc.)

–       learn more about doodling for writers from Mary Robinette Kowal’s blog [find other sources too and practice once a week]

–       read at least 2 books about writing

–       attend at least two local writing conferences (Writing & Illustrating for Young Reads, Life the Universe and Everything, another David Farland Workshop, etc.)

–       learn more about writing mysteries specifically


–       research ballet/interview Victoria H. for Haunted Ballet School trilogy

–       read books about Japanese culture, mythology, etc.

–       find something interesting and research to make a story

–       research publishers and agents

–       buy membership to Publisher’s Marketplace and actually use it


–       write at least 250 words every day

–       outline Haunted Ballet School Trilogy

–       outline for Stanley & York??? Maybe …

–       finish draft of Pearl Fishing

–       write a mystery short story [NOT a murder mystery]

–       probably other stuff too


–       put skills into practice by revising My Haunted Life and Pearl Fishing (possibly other stories too)


–       My Haunted Life (novel)

–       Pearl Fishing (which needs a new title of course) (short story)


Wow. So that list is a lot longer than I thought it was going to be. I guess I have my work cut out for me this year. I’m noticing that this list is very specific heavy as far as the projects I work on. That’s because those are the projects I am most interested in right now. Those projects may change but having a nice list is always comforting.

Are any of you making resolutions? Tell me about them!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 9, 2011 2:43 pm

    I am super-geeked out about this post. This year I began tracking my word and hour counts by the week, during the summer, and I found that the very act of doing so has helped me to write more. I know better what to expect from myself from an hour of writing, etc. Great goals! I will be writing a blog about this myself a little closer to the end of the year, because I’m attempting another “NaNo” with my second novel during the Christmas break and I want to wait to see how far I get into that before I sum up my year and make next year’s goals…

    It’d be good to meet up at LTUE eh? I’m also planning on Storymaker’s Conference this year, hoping to get some advice on my query before I begin sending them out this summer.

    Another thing I was geeking out about – you use Scrivener! I just discovered it during NaNo, and I LOVE how well it works for managing a manuscript-sized project. Fantastic. And I just got a mac this november too, and have found myself to be almost magically more productive while writing on it… although I still don’t know why that is exactly. (?)

  2. December 9, 2011 4:08 pm

    I’d love to meet up at LTUE and Storymakers! I’ve never been to Storymakers so I’d be nice to have a friend :) Isn’t Scrivener the best? I want to write a review of it for the blog but I really need to learn about all the features first. Someone told me it has a name generator built-in (!). Crazy right? I can’t wait to see your writing resolutions post. Numbers and goals are fantastic! Glad this post didn’t bore the pants off you. I was kinda worried. But not anymore!

  3. December 9, 2011 9:15 pm

    Man, it took me nearly a month to get through Outliers, but I made it through Freakonomics within three days. They were rather repetitive, but I’m a bit of a repetitive person, so I actually found it rather fascinating.
    My writing goals are basically to break away from my comfort (“safe”) genre/stereotype of protagonist, and to finish the first book in the trilogy my friend and I are writing. Also, breaking away from writing goals, I want to finally, after three years, finish The Lord of the Rings trilogy. (Unless you count us starting the first book in the third grade and giving up shortly afterward, then it’s eight years)

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