The new year is almost here, and for most people that means setting new writing goals and pushing themselves to be better, more productive, and happier.

How to Take Stock of Your Writing Goals This Year

Before you dive into setting big writing plans for 2019, I urge you to take time out to look at your accomplishments and evaluate the writing goals you set for 2018.

What did you accomplish in 2018?

This question may be depressing, but I want you to think about it anyway.

If you didn’t reach your writing goals, why? Were they too lofty to begin with? Did life get in the way? Do you need to reevaluate the time you can realistically give to writing? Do you need to focus on time management in the new year?

(I want to note that even if you didn’t meet your writing goals this year, you should still be thankful for the writing you did do. Some writing is better than none.)

If you did meet your goals, congratulations! You’re awesome and you should take some time to celebrate and pat yourself on the back.

I didn’t meet my writing goals for 2018. I had a goal to receive 100 rejections. I’ve gotten half that. (And, no, that’s not because I’ve had an amazing number of acceptances.) I had a goal of finishing my third novel. I haven’t done so.

But I did do other things. I launched a website, dived into helping others write and launch their own work, edited an anthology, and took some amazing classes that changed how I write and market my stories.

I didn’t think of any of those things in January. But it’s still important to recognize those accomplishments, to be thankful for them, and to see if I can improve upon those areas in the new year alongside my standard yearly writing goals.

How can you make 2019 even better?

Take the waning weeks of this year to take stock of your writing accomplishments. Really think about it.

If you’re like me and didn’t meet your writing goals, think about whether you’d rather change them up for 2019 (perhaps make them more realistic/achievable?) or double down and re-devote yourself to hitting those goals.

If you did meet your goals, did you easily achieve them? Maybe it’s time to up your game and make some harder goals. Push yourself to accomplish more.

Writing goals are useless without evaluation

I don’t want you to set new goals just yet. If you rush this process, you’ll end up setting the writing equivalent of “I’ll lose weight in the new year” which is vague and has no end.

If you’re thinking of saying, “I’ll write every day in 2019,” that’s great, but how many words? What’s feasible and realistic for your life? And what’s measurable?

This is where goal evaluation comes in and why it’s so important to take stock of your writing year. To set realistic goals, and to keep yourself on track and accountable, you need to know what’s feasible for you.

I can write 4,000 words a day on a good day. I could set that goal for myself and knock out a book in a month.

But I won’t. Because I know, by evaluating what I’m capable of accomplishing on a day-to-day basis, that 4,000 words a day is not feasible for my life. It doesn’t mesh with my other responsibilities. It doesn’t mesh with my writing process. And it doesn’t mess with my stress level.

So, I’ll lower my daily writing goal to something attainable for me.

I’ll also decide what are good benchmarks for my goals based on this year’s experiences. It’s unreasonable for me to finish a book in a month. I know this, so I won’t set an unrealistic goal of doing so. Instead, I’ll set deadlines for having a certain word count done.

Notice how I’m talking a lot about numbers? Numbers, like them or hate them, are crucial for goal evaluation.

Remember, “I’ll write every day,” is great, but unspecific. It’s easy to write two words and call that writing for the day. But you’re not moving forward toward an actual accomplishment that way.

Get specific. This time next year, you’ll need to be able to measure your goals to reevaluate them for 2020.

Prepare for an even better year ahead

Take the next month or so to prepare for January and a whole new year of awesome writing. Take stock of your accomplishments. Love what you’ve done and don’t stress over what you haven’t. Evaluate. Be realistic.

If you do, 2019 will be an amazing writing year.

Do you set writing goals in the new year? Have you ever taken the time to evaluate the past year’s goals? Let me know in the comments!

PRACTICE

Today take fifteen minutes to start working on your writing goal evaluation. Write about what you’ve done this year, about everything you’ve accomplished in your writing. Did your accomplishments align with your goals?

Share your accomplishments in the comments and let’s all give a little praise to each other!

Sarah Gribble
Sarah Gribble
Sarah Gribble physically resides somewhere in Ohio, but where her mind resides depends on the day. She writes sometimes. She bangs her head against the wall other times.

Her short stories have been featured in a variety of online and print publications.

You can find her on Facebook and @sarahstypos or connect with her at sarah-gribble.com.