Tuesday, July 3, 2018

IWSG: Ever-changing Goals

It's the first Wednesday again, which means it's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group blog hop. This month, we're celebrating on Tuesday because in the U.S. July 4 is a holiday and hopefully we'll all be too busy having picnics and fireworks and eating hotdogs at baseball games to read blog posts!

July 3 question - What are your ultimate writing goals, and how have they changed over time (if at all)?

The awesome co-hosts are Nicki Elson, Juneta Key, Tamara Narayan, and Patricia Lynne! Be sure to check out what they have to say after you finish here!

For the longest time, my goal was pretty simple: finish writing a book. It took me a shamefully long time to do that. But I *did* do it, and I'm still proud of that because I know that while a HUGE number of people think they want to write a book, only a small percentage ever actually do. 

I started writing my first one when I was about fourteen--it was a romance with a tennis theme, co-written with my thirteen-year-old best friend. It was probably terrible, but the world will never know because we didn't finish it. 

I started and abandoned MANY over the next few decades--that Alcan book, the haunted house one, that painfully autobiographic lament. Some of those are definitely better left abandoned. Others might have been good someday. 

But when my youngest daughter was born and I was suffering with post-partum issues and trying to build a new life in a new place, I found my critique group and they saved my writing life. 

Because of them, I learned to stay focused on one project rather than jumping around to every new shiny that caught my eye. Because of them, I learned to produce pages regularly. Because of them, I finished that first novel (His Other Mother, unpublished, completed 2013, twenty-nine years after my first attempt at writing a book). 

Once I'd done it, my goal changed. I wanted to write a book I could get published. 

Once I'd done that, I wanted to finish the series (that one is still in progress). 

That's the nature of goals, after all. When you achieve one, you need a new one. 

At this point, I know I'm in this for the long haul, so I have several categories of goals, and they are always changing:  

Immediate 2018 Goals:

1. Finish Thursday's Children (current novel WIP) and decide if it will be indie or if I'm seeking a traditional publisher for it. 

2. Finish three short story projects that are still dangling.

3. Submit all my unpublished work (no one will publish it if I don't submit it!). 

Longterm Goals:

  1. Get faster. There are a lot of ideas on my BackBurner that I'd like to complete. My TBW list (to be written list) is dangerously long, and I'm not producing as fast as I want to. So, I'm always looking at my process and my time management and my skill level to see what I can do to work faster without sacrificing quality.
  2. Diversify. Most of my published work is connected to the Menopausal Superhero series. That's great! Because I love that world and I want those stories out there, but I don't want to be a one-trick pony. I have other ideas that need developing as well, so I'm working on balancing writing time to keep momentum alive in the work that I've found success with, while still exploring new projects. 
  3. Expand my readership: I want to make my living as a writer, solely as a writer. So that means I need a broader readership. I'm grateful to everyone who has ever bought and read one of my books and hope they all love the experience and tell all their friends, but hope isn't enough. So, I'm seeking opportunities for promotion and trying to balance all of that alongside writing new material. Whew!
There are sub-goals in there and vaguer aspirations, more like hopes than goals. I'd like to win a major award. I'd like to gain acceptance into SFWA. I'd like to be the author guest of honor at a convention. I'd like to earn enough from my writing to pay for a decent vacation some year. 

But mostly, what I want is to keep writing because it is my very favorite thing in this world to do. 


  1. Congrats on the first book. It broke the ice and set you free. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  2. I think having immediate goals and long terms goals is a good idea. The ones lead to the long term goals, and before you know it, you're there!

  3. I'd love to be able to write faster. My first two books took decades to write (no exaggeration), and I'd love to get that down to 5 years.

    And it's a nice feeling to accomplish a goal and be in need of a new one.

  4. Faster... I hear you there. I have a feeling I could get there too, if I could just find a couple hours in each day! Here's to evolving goals!

  5. With such concrete goals, you're bound to achieve success.

  6. Great goals. Congrats on the achievements too. I am looking forward to the day I can say I wrote book and I am working on another in my series. LOL Happy IWSG!

  7. Those sound like some great goals, Samantha. I wish you all the luck in reaching them. You will succeed!

  8. I'm known by some as a goal-freak, Samantha, so I resonate with your goals and the process of setting them. And even more with publishing them so publicly - so much harder to wiggle out of them when the whole world (don't we wish) knows what our goals are!

    You might try a method I call 'goal-squeezing' even with your immediate goals. The trouble with writing is that it lacks urgency, since most of us can't (yet) depend on it to pay our bills. Squeezing the goal can up the urgency by setting really short-term milestone toward the goal. I think I'll write a blog about it!

    1. Sounds like a great idea for a blog post. And productivity junkies like me will definitely read it. :-)