Writing Goals for 5780

It’s almost Rosh Hashanah, which means a new Jewish year is ahead. It’s a good time for me to do some “accounting” for my professional life, looking back at this past year and also planning for the next one.

person holding pen and planner

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This past year, I’ve made over four dozen submissions (most of which were rejections). I got some personal rejections along with some of the form letters, several of which were encouraging. A few of the submissions are still pending–there’s nothing for me to do but pray and keep writing at this point. 

I completed a middle-grade novella, wrote approximately 30,000 words of a YA fantasy novel, and did about half the necessary research for a YA historical fiction book. I cut back on my “shorter” writing so I could focus on writing books, and that seems to be helping. However, I miss writing short stories. I’ve got a couple I’ve been working on, and maybe that would be a good focus for next year. GOAL #1: Complete two new or revised short stories and submit them.

I really been working on networking this year. I attended two conferences, joined Instagram, and have livened up my Twitter presence. The personal connections I made at the conferences is paying off, and I’m forging closer relationships with my online publishing colleagues. Keeping up my social media presence has crept a bit too much into my family time, though. GOAL #2: Attend at least one professional conference or professional-level workshop this year. GOAL #3: Attempt not to work after I pick up the kids from school on weekdays.

I’ve maintained my attendance at my writing group, even though I don’t run it anymore. A couple of the members talked about meeting twice a month, and I think I can get behind that. GOAL #4: Pick up feedback on WIPs more often, either through more meetings of present writing group or another, new one.

NaNoWriMo follows close on the heels of Sukkos, and last year I did not complete my project. I think that one major barrier was insufficient worldbuilding in advance. Another was too amorphous an outline. Another was insufficient research before the month started. This year, I want to write at least one book, to completion, and if I don’t finish it during November, I want to at least get a good start on it. GOAL #5: Pick NaNoWriMo project and attempt to get all necessary planning and research done BEFORE Nov. 1st.

I’ve got some dreams, too: scoring an agent and getting at least one more book under contract in the coming year is the chief one. But that relies as much on other people’s actions as on mine. (And of course everything is in God’s hands.)

Please share your writing or reading goals for the next (Jewish) year in the comments!

5 thoughts on “Writing Goals for 5780

  1. Those are a lot of goals! Good luck with them.

    At the moment I’m just focused on trying to write the first draft of my novel. I started work on it, but realised as I wrote the first chapter that it wasn’t working. I’m in the process of changing the plan. The other thing is to think about self-publishing my non-fiction Doctor Who book.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Shana tova to you, too!

        I like your goals. They are just a bit outside your comfort zone without being overwhelming so (or so I’d guess base on their descriptions).

        With the novel: did you start the story in the wrong place, with the POV, or something? (I love trouble-shooting early drafts.)


      • I started with the main characters’ childhoods and then realised that the story didn’t actually start until they were at university. I initially felt that their childhoods were important background information and show their psychological make up, but eventually I realised that that can be suggested or shown in flashback, and that long sections that are not actually moving the story forward probably should not be there. The problem was that I was drawing on a lot of my own experiences for one character, so I ended up assuming my childhood should be part of his story, when really it shouldn’t.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m smiling at so much of this. 1) That “I wrote background first,” thing happens all the time. I usually just cut those bits, save in a file, and then work them in like you said you planned on doing, so you are totally on the right track. 2) That realization that you and your main character (or the one closest to you) aren’t one and the same gives you sooo much more freedom and is a sign you are getting into the characters’ heads. THIS IS GREAT STUFF!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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