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Looking forward, looking back: 2011/12

One of the advantages of a long-running blog (or a diary, for that matter) is that you get to look back on previous years’ New Year resolutions and laugh – or cry.

Now, this main blog of mine has only been going for about fifteen months, but my writing journal goes way, way back to the summer of 2005, so I have quite a few resolutions to look back on. For the first few years, my only – and perpetual – goal was to finish a novel and get it submitted, but in 2010 I finally achieved that – yay! – and was able to move on. I still post minor progress reports to my writing journal, but I’ve decided that my annual goals are hopefully interesting enough to the wider world to make it onto this main blog now.

So, what did I aim for in 2010? Obviously I achieved my lifetime ambition of getting picked up by a publisher, but as Dean Wesley Smith says in his recent post, that’s not a goal, it’s a dream. Goals should be something within your control, otherwise you’ll be overly discouraged by failure. My real goal was to write a sequel as good as the first book (the one that had already attracted the interest of Angry Robot) – something that is surely within my control. The question is, have I achieved it?

Right now that’s hard to say. I’m still working on the second draft of The Merchant of Dreams, and I’m pretty pleased with it so far. The plot is sufficiently intricate, I think; there’s even more swashbuckling action than in The Alchemist of Souls; and once more I’m putting my characters through the emotional as well as the physical wringer. The proof of this pudding, though, will be in the reading, so I’ll just have to wait to find out what my editor and beta-readers think.

As for 2012, my goal is pretty much the same as last year, funnily enough. I have one further book under contract, and I’d like to tie up this trilogy with a climax worthy of its predecessors. After that it’ll be time to think about my next writing project in earnest, but I don’t have any solid goals related to that right now. Maybe next year!

What about you? Do you set goals – and have you achieved any of them?

Comments

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Prudence

Congratulations on achieving such a huge, all-singing, all-dancing, with- flashing-lights-on goal :)

One thing which puzzles me. Where does one find beta-readers? And are they or should they be writers too? I’m not ready for any yet but it’s as well to be prepared.

I’m looking forward to April when I can get my hands on a copy of that first novel.

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Anne

Thanks, Prue!

Most of my betas are members of my long-time writing group, but a couple are people I’ve met through forums or conventions. All of them are writers, mainly because I don’t really have any non-writing friends!

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Miss. Lucinda Fountain

My goal is as humble as i am sure yours was when starting out and that is; to continue writing my novel that i have begun to write and on completion it ends up fairly respectable. Even if i am unable to publish it (as yes, that is a ‘dream’) i would still feel proud on completion of such an enormous and sometimes scarily daunting task, that requires a lot of time and dedication. I hope that over the coming years my writing improves and i can continue my learning and development within a sphere that is so important to me, as i cannot think of anything that gives me more pleasure and joy than writing, creating and using ones imagination and thoughts on paper. xx
I am waiting in eager anticipation and excitement at when your novel is released, so that i can read it finally xxx

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Anne

Yes, just finishing a novel is a worthy goal in itself, and one that took me longer than I thought to achieve. Still, it’s worth sticking at!

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Fran

Definitely agree about goals being within your reach. I cast a glance at what I had achieved last year, and then set my goals to be on a similar level in terms of attainability. It’s good to aim high but the journey is made up of small steps. Great post, wishing you all the best for this year’s launch and the WIP :)

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John Ayliff

Right now I’m in the final stages of revising my novel and preparing to send it to agents. I had been making it my goal to get an agent this year, but, yeah, that’s a dream, not a goal. So I’ll make it my goal to wrestle the book into a shape I’m happy to send out, and then make a decent start on the next book.

Good luck with your launch!