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Goal Setting: 2010 Writing and Career Goals

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Enter the “Make A Case for Love” contest. Click here to review the prizes and ways to enter.

Last year, I started out with great intentions of how methodical I was going to be in getting my books written. Well, the best thing I can say for myself is I met my deadlines. If I’d stuck to those writing goals and the completion dates I’d set goals for, I wouldn’t now be in the position of having less than thirty days to write more than 70,000 words to meet my deadline for Love Remains—a deadline which I do intend to meet!

The reason I didn’t meet those writing goals is simply because of procrastination and laziness. Why write 1,000 words today when I can just write 2,000 words tomorrow? Which is exactly how I ended up at both deadlines in 2009 with more than 40,000 words left to write in less than a month. While I’m going to make an effort to not have that happen with my 2010 deadlines, I’m not going to set goals I know I’m not going to meet.

So here are my deadlines and writing/marketing/career goals for 2010:

1. Deadlines
I think this goes somewhat without saying. But given that I’ve had to rush to meet my last several deadlines, my goal for this is to meet all writing deadlines with time to spare—and more than just a day or two. My 2010 deadlines are:

  • February 1, 2010: Love Remains (Barbour)
  • July 1, 2010: self-imposed deadline for Ransome’s Quest (actual Harvest House deadline is August 1, 2010)
  • October 15, 2010: The Art of Romance (Barbour)

2. Mentoring
Last year, I had a somewhat narrow vision for this goal and just mentioned judging in contests. This year, I’m going to try to be more purposeful about mentoring newer writers. One of the first ways I’m going to do that this year is the “mock” version of Genesis we do in my local group to help those who want to enter it prepare their manuscripts—and be prepared for the feedback they might expect to receive. Since nothing has yet been posted on the ACFW website about the deadlines for the 2010 contest yet, it means the deadlines will be much further into the spring, thus well after the deadline for Love Remains, so I may go ahead and volunteer to judge in that contest. For other mentoring opportunities, I’ll find them as they come, but will be on the lookout for them.

3. Teaching
I had intentions of doing several teaching series on the blog last year, but I think I’ve pretty much exhausted most of what I can do in written format—at least as far as teaching about writing. I do have some ideas for series to run here that aren’t really writing related but more geared toward personal and spiritual growth—such as a series focused on finding our passions in life based on our spiritual gifts, personalities, talents, etc. I’ll also be teaching monthly at the Middle Tennessee Christian Writers‘ meetings. I’m scheduled to teach “The Fundamentals of Critiquing” at the Northern Louisiana RWA chapter’s conference March 5–6 in Shreveport. And I’m setting a goal of submitting two applications to teach at the ACFW conference in Indianapolis in September.

4. Appearances/Speaking Engagements/Book Signings
A few of these are already listed on my Appearances page. I have two planned in January—a multi-author event at the Coffee County/Manchester Public Library January 16 and a multi-author panel at Blue Mountain College in Blue Mountain, Mississippi, on January 19. My goal is to have at least one appearance, speaking engagement, or book signing each month this year. And because I know I already have some trips planned, I’m going to try to schedule those around existing trips. Here’s what I have on the calendar so far this year:

    January 16: Coffee County/Manchester Public Library appearance
    January 19: Blue Mountain College, Blue Mountain, MS, speaking engagement
    March 5–6: NoLA Stars 2010 Written in the Stars Conference, Shreveport, LA, speaking engagement
    June 28–30: ICRS (??)
    July 18: Family wedding in Charleston, SC
    September 17–20: ACFW Conference
    November 22–30: Hot Springs, Arkansas
    December 20–??: Hot Springs, Arkansas

So, as you can see, I have some gaps to fill in!

5. Freelancing
With the writing schedule I have, the amount of freelance work I currently have is quite sufficient, so my goal in this category is to keep this at the same basic level as what I already have.

6. Book Marketing
This should probably be higher on the list than it is. One of the major goals for this, though I cannot allot very much time to it unfortunately, is to try to get a blog tour going for A Case for Love in February, as it isn’t going to be in either of the two blog-tour programs (CFBA or Wild Card)—so if you’re interested in featuring the book with an interview and a giveaway, please contact me (e-mail address is on the Contact page). Book release dates in 2010 are:

    February 1: A Case for Love
    June 1: Ransome’s Crossing
    August 1: Love Remains

And for the first time since becoming a published author, I do not have a book due just before, during, or just after the holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s). The only deadline I have remaining—for the contracts I’m currently under—is April 1, 2011, for Turnabout’s Fair Play, the third book in the Matchmakers series. But who knows what else this year will bring!

What are your goals for your writing this year? your career? What do you want to be different at the end of 2010 than it is now when it comes to your writing, your education, your professional life?

  1. Tuesday, January 5, 2010 6:34 am

    I think for an unpublished author, what I “want” is quite obvious. LOL. But I’ll settle for whatever God has for me, and be quite satisfied with that:-)

    What I can say with 100% certainty is that a lot of things will change for me between now and end of 2010.

    And I’m eagerly awaiting those changes!

    You are AWESOME to hold our Mock Genesis contest at MTCW… I am so excited! Your feedback was GREAT last year (and funny, your score was probably right around the average of the scores I received, lol!)


    • Tuesday, January 5, 2010 11:42 am

      Well, after judging in the contest for so many years, it’s good to know that my scores aren’t too far off the average! I’m always afraid that I’m judging people much harder than anyone else is—though that has eased up quite a bit since becoming published myself. But it’s always disheartening when I judge one at a 90+ that I feel is a “winner” which then doesn’t even make the list of finalists. That happened with two historical romances I judged last year. Goes back to what we were saying yesterday about personal preferences!


  2. Adrienne permalink
    Tuesday, January 5, 2010 8:35 am

    I read Stand-In Groom and was impressed. You sure do write a lot of books in a short amount of time but then again I know all authors have their differences in what they do and how they do it. Hopefully everything will work out great.


    • Tuesday, January 5, 2010 11:42 am

      I hope so, too, but I am starting to get a little panicked just looking at what I have to get accomplished in the next four weeks.


  3. Amee permalink
    Tuesday, January 5, 2010 9:40 am

    I would like to have a job. Part time would be ok, full time ideal. Or at least finally get a real sure sense that I should go back to school if it’s what I’m supposed to do. So either the economy needs to improve or I need to get my stuff together and figure things out!


    • Tuesday, January 5, 2010 11:46 am

      I know what you mean about getting that “sure sense” about what you’re supposed to do. I went through quite a few months of that after getting laid off back in 2008. As I said in the interview posted on Jill Eileen Smith‘s blog this week:

      To borrow an idea from E. L. Doctorow, life is a lot like driving down a wooded road at night: you can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.


  4. Tuesday, January 5, 2010 11:10 am

    I’m not really sure what I want for 2010 to be honest. I hate that. I’m back to feeling like I’m stuck in neutral in regards to writing and the last time that happened it was years before I dug back in. I don’t want to get to that place. However, I still feel like my first manuscript is crap, I feel like I don’t know enough about writing to ever get published and I almost feel like I’m wasting your time and the MTCW’s time by attending the meetings.

    I’m wanting to get more involved in fighting human trafficking and would like to use my blog to raise awareness by telling the stories of survivors. It would be nice to be able to make a difference using my blog.

    Ultimately, I’d like to get a manuscript written I can feel isn’t crap. I’d also like to get to the point that I’m not ashamed to show my writing to someone else even though I know it’s not ready for publication.


    • Tuesday, January 5, 2010 11:51 am

      I don’t know about most writers, but I think it’s actually good to get to a place where you realize your writing—at least your first efforts at it—is crap . . . so long as you use it as motivation to keep working on it, to keep improving, to keep studying, instead of as the impetus to make you quit.

      And you’ve heard my story about going through a season of several years in which I was certain I would never let any living, breathing being read anything I’d written ever again. It’s amazing how God can pry our fingers off what we feel like we’re going to hold onto forever.


  5. Tuesday, January 5, 2010 11:56 am

    Ha! Me set deadlines???? Funny! I could make a list with all of the best intentions, I would PROBABLY get everything finished on time but I’m a procrastinator so I would scramble around at the last minute trying to get everything done ๐Ÿ˜› So I kinda know where you are coming from there!

    As for career goals, I don’t have a career so my goal is to get one LOL! I would love to go back for my masters in history but I really don’t see that happening with everything that is going on right now in my life.

    It’s trivial, but I’ve started the year by participating in 2 blog reading challenges that I hope to complete by the end of the year. I didn’t stay on track for the challenge that I signed up for last year but I DID get everything completed that I needed to!

    I hope that you can stay on track this year ๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t wait to read your new releases!

    XOXO~ Renee


    • Tuesday, January 5, 2010 12:06 pm

      LOL, Renee! That’s the way I felt about setting deadlines for myself before I was published. They were just too easy to ignore/procrastinate right through. But now that they’re from an outside source, my innate sense of not wanting to disappoint someone else kicks in and makes it so I’ll do whatever necessary to meet those deadlines. And then I worry as soon as I turn the manuscripts in that they’re going to hate them because I rushed to get them written and turned in on time.



  6. Tuesday, January 5, 2010 12:03 pm

    You mention the ACFW. Is that the members site? I’ve been thinking about joining with my Christmas money ๐Ÿ™‚

    How about adding Washington or Idaho to your appearances! Would love to see you up here.

    As for me, I have pretty measly goals for writing. With four kids – two of whom I homeschool I stay very busy and no one imposing deadlines yet. Sooo I’d like to finish the novel I’m working on, learn to submit short stories, finish a solid outline for a second novel (floating around in my head) and begin the research needed as well as get at least 20K words written. Continue to participate in a local critique and read at least two books a month in 2010.


    • Tuesday, January 5, 2010 12:07 pm

      American Christian Fiction Writers is a great organization, especially for those unpublished authors who are still learning the craft. Between the e-mail list, the monthly writing-craft workshops, the annual conference, and the ability to network with other writers, published authors, editors, and agents, I recommend membership to anyone who’s seriously pursuing getting published.


    • Tuesday, January 5, 2010 12:26 pm

      Oh, and I forgot to add, I’m hoping to make a trip to Oregon (Eugene) this year, so you never know . . . I might just make it up your way!


      • Tuesday, January 5, 2010 12:33 pm

        Oh good well Spokane WA or Post Falls ID is not too much farther ๐Ÿ™‚ Maybe if you time it right you could speak at Rewired (our women’s ministry Saturday breakfast). Real Life Ministries is located in Post Falls. Members close to 8,000 (I can’t believe I attend and participate in a “mega church”) the women’s breakfast draws approx 200 one Sat a month.

        Now that I wrote that I realize God’s church IS a mega church, the body of believers stretching to the ends of the earth. So I guess, bring it on!

        See you on ACFW soon it’s my new resolution.


  7. Tuesday, January 5, 2010 1:29 pm

    I definitely want to enter the Genesis and TBL contests again this year. I got great feedback. Alas, I didn’t do as much with that feedback as I had hoped, not finishing either of the two novels I worked on last year.

    I really want to attend a conference, even a mini-conference, for craft help and for inspiration. I’ve taken online courses but there are usually so many people in them that I don’t get the help I’m seeking even when I make it a point of actively participating.

    So again this year, I hope to finish two novels–complete the first draft and revise the one I’m currently working on, then complete the first draft of another. I’d like to submit the first one to several contests in the latter half of the year for feedback.


    • Wednesday, January 6, 2010 11:46 am

      Yes, if you can get to a conference this year, even if it’s just a one-day mini-conference, I highly recommend it. There’s something about being face-to-face with other writers that you can’t get from anything online.


  8. Tuesday, January 5, 2010 2:03 pm

    My theme verse this year is Ecc. 3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. So I’m trying to learn not to be too strict about my own timeline, for once. I know God has a time for his purposes for me. So with that in mind, I’m trying not to fill up my calendar, but started with a writing career journal this year and am excited to see how the Lord fills it in for me. Does it mean I am not making plans? I’m a manic planner so this is a big exercise for me in trust. To be practical, I’m committing my goals to Him (Prov. 16:3) which are: getting critique partners which he provided for me already this year \o/, write a few magazine articles and/or anthology contributions, polish a manuscript and get it into submission form, submit one book manuscript, continue blogging and networking and working on learning to write better, attend Maine Fellowship of Christian Writers meetings and conference, possibly get to the ACFW conference, keep visiting Kaye Dacus’ wonderful blog! We’ll see what happens! I know His timing is right and I am sure now that his purpose for me is to write.


    • Wednesday, January 6, 2010 11:48 am

      I know what you mean about being a planner and having to take a huge leap of faith to allow God to work things out in His own time. Sometimes it means waiting much longer than we expect—but sometimes He’ll surprise us with things much sooner than we expect, so that the only way we can get through them is by depending on Him.

      When is that Maine conference? Let me know if they’re still looking for workshop leaders!


  9. Tuesday, January 5, 2010 2:06 pm

    First, I wish I lived near enough to be a part of MTCW. I would love to sit in on some actual teaching about the craft of writing fiction.

    As for writing goals, I came up with a list of eleven, most of which have to do with my first manuscript which I plan to turn into a 3-book series. A friend of mine looked at my list, and panicked FOR me! LOL

    I want to change the beginning of book one, polish it before ACFW, complete book 2 and start book 3 by the end of the year (which will require lots of research on hurricanes), put together a proposal for the series before ACFW, and MAYBE enter some contests. I entered some (including the Genesis) with this manuscript, but two revisions ago, and got some great comments, but didn’t place in anything.

    I love reading the goals of others, and loved reading your “results” in your past blog post reviewing your 2009 goals. It’s inspiring to see that everyone makes goals, meets some, and finds out that some just weren’t reachable in the way we thought – but are reached all the same! Thanks, Kaye.


    • Wednesday, January 6, 2010 11:51 am

      I lived through Hurricane Andrew (in Louisiana) and have family who’ve lived through several of the more recent ones to hit the Gulf Coast, including Katrina, Ike, and Gustav. So if we can help you with that hurricane research, feel free to ask!

      I wish everyone here lived close enough to participate in MTCW.

      Maybe now that I have a laptop with a built-in webcam, I’ll have to figure out some way to do an online mini-conference or something!


  10. Jess permalink
    Tuesday, January 5, 2010 4:33 pm

    I want to have the courage to figure out all the things wrong with my manuscript and then fix them, so I can write the last chapter. I honestly still don’t know how to end it. I mean, the guy and the girl get together, obviously, but I don’t know how to tie it up.
    And I know this sounds awful, but I want to have money. I want to buy meat again, and a new pair of shoes (even if my old ones aren’t worn out.) It sounds more noble to say “I want a job,” (and I do!) but what I really want is what comes with the job.
    I want to figure out what a daily, intimate relationship with God is supposed to look like, and get closer to Him.


    • Wednesday, January 6, 2010 11:57 am

      How many different endings have you written, Jess? If you haven’t tried several, give a few a whirl and see if any of them strike a chord with you creatively.

      I almost never know the exact ending—other than boy and girl get together and live happily ever after—before I get to those final scenes of the book. (With Ransome’s Crossing being the one exception—I knew exactly how that one would end. But as it’s a continuing story, I had to know how that one ended before I would know what happened in the third book. And I laughed my evil laugh the entire time I wrote that last scene, too!)

      One of the things I didn’t add to this list but probably should have is that I need to be a better steward of my money this year. With a guaranteed 40-hour freelance job every month through at least early summer, I know I’ll have a certain amount coming in. But I really want to start paying down my mortgage-sized student loan so that it doesn’t take me the full thirty years to pay it off. (Yeah, really don’t want to still be making payments on that when I’m almost SEVENTY.)


  11. Tuesday, January 5, 2010 10:01 pm

    I’d like to get my first manuscript finished! It’s been three years since I first started and I’m ready to go to the next level. But it’s not. You know what I mean???? And it can get frusterating because I’m getting tired of revising…but it DOES need it. Bad. Every time I look at it I notice it more.

    I’m also figuring out whether to submit the contemporary I’m working on first or the one mentioned above, which is a historical. You submitted SIG and RH at the same time, didn’t you?


    • Wednesday, January 6, 2010 12:02 pm

      No, I actually didn’t submit Ransome’s Honor to my agent until after Stand-In Groom had made the rounds of all the publishing houses and been rejected. (Yes, SIG was initially rejected even by Barbour, which neither Chip nor I remembered receiving.) But then their business model changed slightly, which I didn’t know when I asked Rebecca Germany if she’d ever gotten back to us about it nine months later at Conference. The rest, as they say…) I was still in the process of having it critiqued and making my own revisions to the story while SIG was out with acquisition editors.

      The couple of houses that expressed even a bit of interest in RH were concerned about picking me up as an unpublished author. So it wasn’t until I was contracted for SIG that RH really began getting some traction with acquisitions editors. Two houses were interested. One wanted me to take out all of the “ship stuff” and have it just be a “sitting-room romance.” The other asked if I could beef up the opening, to make it more upbeat, and bring William and Julia together sooner than the end of the third chapter. Two guesses as to which house that was, and which changes I was willing to make to secure a contract!


  12. Preslaysa permalink
    Wednesday, January 6, 2010 10:48 am

    It’s great that you met your deadlines in 2009. (The glass is always half full!) I also had very ambitious writing goals in 2009 which I didn’t even come close to meeting. So this year, I’m setting goals which I know I can realistically achieve. I’ve learned that goal setting is like lifting weights. I have to start out with smaller goals and work my way up to the bigger goals as I gain confidence in my past successes.


    • Wednesday, January 6, 2010 12:05 pm

      Great analogy, but just like with lifting weights, if we don’t challenge ourselves with something heavier than what we think we can lift, we’ll never progress past a certain point!


  13. Wednesday, January 6, 2010 11:41 am

    My goal for last year was to sell 5 freelance articles, hopefully focused on hospitality. I sold 6 all in one shot! My goal for this year is to get a hospitality blog going with the goal of selling a non-fiction book proposal the following year.


    • Wednesday, January 6, 2010 12:06 pm

      Good job, Becky! Let me know when you get your new blog going.


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