It’s all well and good to set goals for yourself, but you also need to hold yourself accountable.  I set a lot of steep writing goals for myself last year.  This is going to be how I did.  I kinda feel like I’m letting myself off lightly, because, spoiler, I hit them all, but I plan on doing this each year from now on.

My word count goal was 350,000 words, including my own original writing, blog posts, and reviews (I review comic books and related movies & tv shows for various blogs).  I was determined to make this, and, as part of it, did both CampNaNo and the regular NaNoWriMo in November.  My NaNoWriMo story was an idea I’d been kicking around in my head for a few years, and I guess I’d been working on it subconsciously harder than I thought.  The goal for NaNoWriMo is 50,000 words in November.  I did 69841 that month.  I didn’t finish the first draft, which was my secondary goal, but I made a lot of progress.  As far as the 350,000 words, my total for the year was 445,350.

One of  my other goals were keeping at least two pieces out for submission at all times.  I managed that, and sold several short stories, as well as more copies of my novel, In My Brother’s Name ( because why not?)).  Admittedly I got a lot of rejections, of both short stories and novels, but that happens.  It’s all part of the game.

I have various works in progress, and probably need to manage them better.  My method this year was doing a chapter per month of several first drafts, and at least two that I’m rewriting.  I didn’t always get them done in the month I had designated for them, but I made them all up by December 31st.  So that’s twelve new chapters per novel, several times over.  I also managed to finish the first draft of the Weird West story I did for NaNo back in 2013, and have another book out with several beta readers.

I’ve been to a lot of workshops, seminars, and lectures by various writers who are considerably more famous and better-selling than I am.  One common thread from all their talks is that writing takes discipline and focus.  I spent a lot of time writing in 2014, including time I’d rather have been doing other things occasionally.  But I hit all my goals, and got some sales.  The sales are good on several fronts: I got paid, which is always nice.  My name gets out there more, which can be a help.  I’m building a body of work, which shows various editors that I’m serious about my writing.  And, as your name moves in certain circles, you get more opportunities.  I had one editor I sold to a bit ago take a moment to suggest I submit to another of his anthologies, which is a really good sign.

So, with discipline and perseverance, I got done everything I had set for myself.  Now I need to do that again with my goals for 2015.  Because, if I want to keep selling, I need to keep writing.  So, this is my accountability for myself for 2014, and hopefully at least a bit of encouragement for other writers.  And now I’m off to work on some projects.

About the author

Wayland Smith WAYLAND SMITH is the pen name for a native Texan who has lived in Massachusetts, New York, Washington DC, and presently makes his home in Virginia. His rather unlikely list of jobs includes private investigator, comic book shop owner, ring crew for a circus (then he ran away from the circus and joined home), deputy sheriff, and freelance stagehand. Wayland is a four time participant in, and survivor of, NaNoWriMo, having made the 50,000 word goal each time. A black belt in shao lin kung fu, he is also a fan of comic books, reading, writing, and various computer games (I”ll shut Civ down in one more turn. Really). He lives with a beautiful woman who was crazy enough to marry him, and a goofy dog with a fondness for peanut butter and white wine.