Setting a few writing goals

While eating lunch at my desk today at work, I took a quick peak at the wonderful Writers Write website/blog for their daily writing prompt. The prompt for today didn’t grab me all that much, to be honest, but the one for Saturday did (scroll down to the third prompt):

Make a list of all the writing goals you want to accomplish before Christmas.

With just three months left in the year, the challenge here is to have either enough goals or enough difficult goals to make me work at upping my game but not to go overboard and have too many, which I am sometimes prone to do. With that in mind, I came up with just four. Not too many, so doable in terms of total number, but a couple are still kind of a high bar, so they won’t necessarily be easy to accomplish. Here goes:

  1. Finish the first round of revisions to the rough draft of my WIP. Now, I finished the rough draft itself (and it is rough!) back in early September. The eighth of September, to be precise, at 4:13 p.m. I nearly collapsed from mental exhaustion afterwards. (I’m exaggerating slightly here, but I really did feel drained.) And now, I’ve begun the process of going through that draft to revise, edit, and shape it into something that wouldn’t be too embarrassing to send to a beta reader. And even though revising a draft is easier than writing it in the first place, it’ll still be tough to finish those revisions by my deadline. (Better get started — clock’s ticking!)
  2. Start sending bigger chunks of the revised draft out to beta readers. This means pulling together various chapters, sending those chunks out, then bracing myself for the feedback. I like feedback on my writing, I really do. But it’s sometimes hard to not get distracted by feedback that is not diplomatically or constructively framed. That said, it’s invaluable. For instance, my WIP’s  first chapter is the fourth iteration. The earlier drafts started the story at very different places and times, and it wasn’t until the fourth version that a majority of betas finally said yes, that one works, but cut it down and make it more focused. This was helpful because it gave me something to work with and from. I’m hoping that beta reads on the rest of the draft will be similarly constructive.
  3. Draft a query letter and post it on Absolute Write’s Query Letter Hell for feedback. Now, this thread is named Query Letter Hell for a reason. Queries do get ripped to shreds here. But most folks agree that their queries are better off for it. I’ve got a rough draft query already, having written that several months ago to keep the first draft focused. But no one has seen it yet, so it’s high time to subject myself to the tender mercies of the QLH readership. (I can do this, I really can.)
  4. And, finally, send said query letter out (post-feedback, of course). Now, I have no idea how to identify people who would be appropriate recipients for said letter, but there’s time to research that. And AW is a great site with lots of supportive, helpful, and experienced folks. I’m sure that’ll help me figure out who to send my letter to.

So, those are my goals for the coming three months. And they’re now down in writing, so they’re official. We’ll see what my final score is on the due date.

Anyone have goals they’d like to share?

In the meantime, here’s a one-line summary of my WIP:

A detective investigating a double homicide discovers that the murderer is someone in his chain of command, but he can only bring the killer to justice by betraying the trust of the woman he loves.

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4 Comments

Filed under On Writing

4 responses to “Setting a few writing goals

  1. Good specific goals. I know I need to set some goals for starting my next book, but right now, I can’t see past the copy editing stage of this one.

    • Thanks, Ruth. And I understand completely about the challenge of the current book vs. the next book! Plot ideas for another book (also with my same detective) are already swirling in my head, but I know I have to focus on finishing this one before really moving on. Good luck with yours!

  2. Very strong goals! Good luck.

    • Thanks, Lucie! Because I’m not a naturally well-organized person, I try to outline goals and benchmarks for myself at work and home, including with writing. It helps motivate me and keep me moving ahead. Somebody much wittier than I once said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?” Words to live by.

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