Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Writing Goals for 2011

I recently joined the Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog, and this month's topic is writing goals for 2011.

I could make a list of the concrete results I'd like to see in 2011. Like, I need to finish my current WIP, but at the moment, I hate it so much that I can barely open the file. I need to do final revisions on my other completed novel. And I need to start at least one new book.

To me, that list doesn't mean very much. I don't have control over a lot of it. I don't even feel like I have control over myself sometimes. In the last year, I've had months when I wrote nothing, and I've had months when I wrote nearly a hundred thousand words. I have no idea when these things are going to happen, and I've stopped trying to predict it.

Instead of focusing on those results, I think I'll focus on process.

I need to figure out how to be a writer.

Here's how I think of myself now, at the beginning of 2011: I'm a psychologist. (Professionally speaking of course. I have many personal roles, but that's not what I'm talking about here). I've written a few books in my spare time, but I don't think of myself as a "writer". I never planned to be one, never dreamed of it. It feels strange to be part of this community of writers, because, to be honest, I feel a bit like an outsider, an amateur, a beginner ... an impostor. I barely feel like I have a right to any of this.

And in 2011, I need to get over myself.

I need to get comfortable in this skin. I need to accept that it's MY skin, and not just a disguise I wear sometimes.

I need to decide who I want to be. I need to settle in, find my stride, and readjust my ... self.

I'm not entirely sure what this process of becoming a writer will entail, but I imagine it will involve a lot of stumbling and bumbling around, about 30-40 intimidatingly well-written YA books, a heavy dose of discomfort with myself, dozens of kicks in the pants (and cyberhugs) from beta readers/agency mates/agent ... yanno, the usual stuff.

 How will I know if I've achieved this goal? By the end of this year, I'd like to feel less like I'm wearing a writer disguise. I'd like the words "I'm a writer" to come rolling off my tongue without my internal bulls$%t detector going off. And by the end of the year, I'd like to have written something I can look at and say: "Well, it's not there yet, but it's much better than what I could do in January."

Be sure to check out the rest of the Sisterhood's posts: Lydia's, from last week, and Laura's, from two weeks ago. And next week, Deb will be posting her writing goals for 2011.

And what are your writing goals for 2011? Are you results-oriented or process-oriented? Both? Neither?


  1. I wonder how common that "imposter" feeling is in the writing community. For sure, I feel the need to get comfortable in my skin.

    Overall, I'd say I'm results-oriented, but have forced myself to be process-oriented in order to not churn out so much, well, crap.

    Great post, Sarah, and welcome!

  2. Oh, my dear, Sarah. If you were here, I would give you a big (HUG). You ARE a writer. A GREAT one. And compared to a lot of us (who don't have agents), you've gotten to that next step. That alone makes you legit. OWN IT. LOVE IT. LIVE IT. ;-)


  3. Good luck! To all of us who follow your blog, you are a writer!

    My goals are more production oriented. I want to keep submitting my current novel, finish a first draft of the sequel, create another non-related book (maybe something a little easier to sell and sum up), and write and submit as many short stories as I have time for.

    I know it seems like a lot, but it feels possible. Weird.

  4. Hmm. I hadn't thought of it from the process side before, just results. I need to ponder for a while.

    At the moment, conquering the process seems more achievable than the results.

  5. I'm definitely goal oriented. This year, I'm doing a list of goals, finish a book by, and a list of things that are more general and less measurable, like read more.


    The imposter thing--I SO hear you! On the other hand, look how far you've come already! :D

  7. I think this something we're all working on, maybe even the bestselling authors. At least I like to believe that. ;)

  8. Thanks, everyone! Glad I'm not alone in my impostor syndrome.

  9. This is a great post!

    It has taken me a long time to feel like a "real writer." I have been writing my entire life, studied it in both undergrad and grad school and now for many years after. And yet, I still feel like an imposter. I still feel like it's looked at like a "hobby." I think of it as work because, well, it's hard! But it's still what I love to do most. A few weeks ago, my husband told someone we had just met that I was a writer. I cringed inside, esp when they started asking me about what I write, etc. But, I did talk about it, and own it as a title and honestly, it was one of the first times I embraced the title outside of friends/family and it didn't feel half bad.:)

  10. I am a writer, I write. Shouldn't that be enough to sustain me? Why is it always the validation that I crave?

  11. I need some quiet time (when I'm not sleeping) to write out my goals and evaluate my progress over the past three years of writing... I'm a list maker...At the top of my list for 2011 is to be more agressive when it coes to submitting. I tend to write and file...

    Have a great 2011, Sarah!