In December last year, I set a bunch of ridiculous goals for 2016 just to challenge myself. Goals are the only way I get anything done, because I have the post-it note on my bulletin board staring back at me whenever I’m working.
The ones I set for this year were big, crazy goals, and some of them fell through the cracks. Some I didn’t achieve, but came to terms with not achieving them because, well, why put a timeline on jump-starting my writing career? It will happen eventually if I keep working, but in an industry as unpredictable and subjective as publishing–not getting a literary agent this year is most certainly not the end of the road.
The goals I set for this year were:
- Get a literary agent
- Get published/get a book deal
- Get one of my photos featured on 500px
See at least two new countries– My husband and I went to Norway, Sweden, and Denmark on a roadtrip for our honeymoon, so we achieved this goal fairly easily in the WORST VOLVO WAGON EVER INVENTED. But we got to experience some unique cultures and see beautiful scenery that will probably one day make it into a book as inspiration. Visit five new states– Thanks to traveling a lot for my day job, I blew this one out of the park. I saw South Dakota, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Montana (love), Mississippi, Louisiana, Nevada, California, Arizona, Oklahoma, Illinois, and Indiana. I more than doubled it and saw twelve so far, and will be visiting Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico in a week! To make matters even better, visiting all these places brought me to five national parks (and Utah will bring be to five more.) That’s not bad. There’s a lot of inspiration to be found in places like Glacier National Park and Death Valley’s superbloom.
- Survive Tough Mudder – I ended up going on my honeymoon instead, which definitely is way more fun than a 10k mountain obstacle course…
- Save $10,000 like an adult
- Become mostly fluent in German
- Complete a 365 day photo project
- Read 50 books
I achieved two of them.
Two of ten. A 20% success rate. If I’d gotten that percentage on an assignment at school. I’d’ve been deemed a failure. If I were only 20% successful at delivering my work projects on time, they’d probably fire me.
But I’m the boss here.
20% is fine. Because the two goals I completed were pretty big ones. Travel is huge. It’s important to see different places and talk to strangers and learn about lives you don’t live. It helps you put your life into perspective when you think you hate everything.
And, from a writer’s perspective, it helps create characters that aren’t replicas of me. Nobody wants that. As fun as I think I am, I don’t need to write 32 different stories with variations of me as the protagonist.
B o r i n g !!!
So, what I mean by this post is: not achieving all your goals is fine, as long as you achieve something. Even if I hadn’t accomplished anything on this list, I still revised last year’s NaNoWriMo project and queried it to 100+ agents. I even got a few requests, which definitely wasn’t something I expected or had happen on the last project I queried. I wrote another project, revised it (almost) to the point of being ready for betas, and am well on my way to winning another NaNoWriMo in a few short days.
Even if you don’t move in the direction you planned, you’re still moving forward. That’s what counts.