Wednesday, October 15, 2008


These were originally posted on the forum at Fiction Factor. Unfortunately I don't have a huge amount of time to interact with forums at the moment so many of my past cyber-haunts haven't heard from me in a while.

So now I've found them - and now I sit shaking my head in befuddled bemusement. These were written back in January. Original updates were in May and are in brackets. I've now added an October update and what I want for the remainder of this year. I would call these goals "organic"...

1. Write one new short story a month. (try to get my current batch of four short stories up to marketable standard and boot them out the door. I'm going to go back to my first manuscript and get that into a marketable state over the remainder of this year.)

October Update: By my reckoning, I've written 4 new shorts this year and fully revised and updated 4 others. All 8, plus one from last year, are currently out in the market with 1 of them having so far sold. I've put the first manuscript "Tigers Eye" away. I learned a lot from writing it, but it may never see the light of day again.

Goal update for the remainder of the year: Sell at least one more short story and write two more new tales.

2. Keep currently completed and as of yet unpublished short stories out on submission.

October Update: Obviously I'm still doing this.

Goal update for the remainder of the year: keep doing this.

3. Keep website ( updated each month.


4. Keep blog ( updated each month.

Double Duh!!

5. Pass all modules and assignments within my Advanced Diploma. (Actually improving my grades, which is nice - touch wood.)

October Update: If you've been keeping up with my blog, you're already aware that this is going well.

6. Finish all three of my novellas.

The May updates on this goal talked about turning one into a new novel (Voodoo) and abandoning another. The last of the three was more a short story (Hathor) which has also been abandoned at this point. None of these are currently active and will not be active for the foreseeable future.

7. Finish rewriting first manuscript to submission level and then submit. (May update moved this to priority number two behind my coursework)

October Update: As already stated, this has now been put away and replaced with Newland.

In the end, my initial goals for 2008 were pretty much bunk. I remember going by some guideline that suggested putting in goals that were achievable so you weren't disheartened. Something like "make some of your goals attainable and reward yourself when you reach them". Not sure I subscribe to that in that way anymore. Sure, your goals should be attainable but that doesn't mean they should be relatively easy.

New goals from my website that were published in August:

1. To have at least two of my dark short stories published in 2008

One down, one to go...

2. To pass each semester of my diploma and gain at least one credit.

Gained two in the first semester and may surpass that in the second semester.

3.To win one contest in 2008

Doesn't look promising...

4. To find a regular paying freelance writing job.

I get paid for regular reviews with Black but it isn't exactly what I meant. I'm still looking and still actively putting feelers out.

5. To grasp grammar and punctuation concepts

I've learned a lot but I'll always have heaps to go. Remember that infamous line - "Only dead writers are incapable of improvement."

6. To finish writing Newlands

Now these goals I found more sensible - and harder to obtain. To achieve 1, 3, & 4, it helps to do well in 2 & 5. To accomplish all of them takes discipline and hard work. To become a good consistently published writer, you need to put in the hard yards to learn the craft properly.

Moral of the post - make goals by all means, but make them real. Don't make too many of them and have them lead you toward longer term goals. I'm guessing the long term goal of most writers is to make a living at writing. Achieving my short term goals will move me in that direction.

Good luck with your writing goals.



  1. I'm not sure if you watch "the Hollow Men" but perhaps you should follow their advice of setting non-binding aspirational goals about which you could report - "progress is being made."

    Alternatively you could have "core" and "non-core" goals.

  2. I find yearly goals kind of useful, did them last year but not this year, but I can also lose track of them because they're so broad and we have a whole year to do them.

    Saw a blog by some other writer and he posts weekly goals. I was thinking of doing that, or even posting the goals in a forum.

  3. Hi David - never heard of the Hollow Men, but I will look into it. Don't know about non-binding goals so much. my "organic" goals weren't treated as binding and I didn't do so well at attaining them.

    Hi Ben - revisitng goals often keeps them relevant, I think - as long as they're relevant to begin with (not like mine). I saw your post on the weekly goals and went and had a look. I used to do something similar but less defined. Kind of like my "What I intend to do over the next 12 days". Occasionally I know what I need to get done, but the last 12 days have been very busy and deadlines have been looming large.

  4. David - I'm guessing this 'non-binding aspirational goals about which you could report - "progress is being made."' is a comedy line as opposed to a real suggestion??

  5. I'm afraid so - obviously not a very funny one unless you watch the Hollowmen (shown on the ABC), and not to be confused with the poem by TS Eliot. Though that may be where they got the title from.

    The Hollowmen is a comedy series about political spin doctors. I like it.

    Check it out here: