What Are Your Writing Resolutions?

I’m a huge believer in setting goals and declaring intentions, especially during the holidays, when the whiff of impending change is in the air. This has been a fantastic year for me, and I’m happily looking back at all my travel, at all the great new books that I’ve gotten under contract this year, all the fantastic new clients, and all of the wonderful editor contacts I’ve made.

What’s on the plate for 2011? A lot more sales! New clients, new friends, new contacts, new business opportunities. New travel, too. As of today, I’ve been to 27 of 50 states (plus Puerto Rico and Washington DC). In 2011, I’ll be speaking in new states (Indiana, anyone?) and new countries (the SCBWI has invited me Japan and Hong Kong!!!!!!!!). See my events page for what I’ve booked so far.

In 2011, I’ll also have a new marketing intern, I hope. Don’t forget…I’m still actively looking at applications! If you want to apply or know anyone who’s perfect for the job, read all about this opportunity here.

I’ve spent some time these last few weeks thinking and journaling about my goals. I even want to start writing again next year, after about six months off. What about your goals? What do you all want to learn, do, and achieve in 2011? Pour them out! What questions are still nagging you? Ask them! With 2010 wrapping up, what would you like to share? I’m so blessed and grateful to have this great community of readers on the blog. Get to know each other. And if anyone is still looking for a critique partner for the holidays, don’t be shy!

Check back here on Friday for my Holiday Gift Guide…books I recommend for the writers, readers, and kidlit enthusiasts in your life. (It’s totally cool to get these books for yourself, of course!)

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  1. Meagan Spooner’s avatar

    So jealous about Japan and Hong Kong, wow!

    2011 is going to be an awesome year. Hands down.

  2. Ghenet’s avatar

    I’m also jealous about Japan and Hong Kong. So cool!

    In 2011, I want to finally finish the first draft of my novel and get it ready for querying. I took a break from writing this year between finishing an MFA program in the Spring and getting married in the Fall, so now I’m excited to get back to writing my book! :)

  3. Kathryn Roberts’s avatar

    I have difinite goals for 2011. Lots of studying (reading) to do which will hopefully give me some good inspiration and from which I will hone my craft. And then, of course, the plow ahead. Into a new novel I go, writing completely from scratch. I will miss my old book, but I’ve learned to let it go and use it as a practice novel and start again fresh with a lot more experience behind me.

    How exciting for you to go to Japan and Hong Kong. Have you ever been that far before? To any other countries, even? That’s awesome.

  4. Gail Shepherd’s avatar

    Setting goals every December is a ritual for me, much anticipated. I’ve always accomplished more than I realized by the end of the year (about 90 percent). But I never forget to include one category: Fun! That’s for the crazy miscellaneous stuff that falls outside of work, travel, home improvement (by far the longest list) and self-improvement. I definitely recommend everyone add a few wild cards — 2011 may be your year to learn to do a cartwheel or adopt a homeless pony.

  5. Lydia Sharp’s avatar

    2011… I’m going to finish at least one of the novels I started in late 2010 and have it ready for submission (I’d like to finish two, but that might be pushing it). It’s also a standard yearly goal for me to write at least two new short stories and get them published (which I accomplished in 2010, yay!) Other than that, just keep doing what I’m doing — reading, writing, and networking. :) Good luck to everyone in the coming year!

  6. Deni Krueger’s avatar

    Finish the 4th draft of my MG novel. Query agents. Finish 1st draft of YA novel. Finish a play I’ve been working on. Get my husband home from Afghanistan in July. Not making any commitments after that…:)

  7. Erica Rodgers’s avatar

    Great post! Goals: finish big rewrite of my WIP, do another rewrite/edit/polish and have it ready to query by late spring. Finish up a Bible study for teens I’ve been writing. Get my little girl into the local magnet school and try not to cry when I send her off to kindergarten. Start work on my Master’s Thesis and do well in my classes…all while having the patience to be a good (and not frustrated) mother. :)

  8. Melissa’s avatar

    My goals are to finish final edits on my chapter book and send it out, to attend a conference and do a pitch or critique session with that book, and to finish the first draft of the YA I’m working on now. When that first draft is finished, I plan to keep writing, a lot. I want my total kidlit word count for 2011 to be over 300,000.

    Deni–I’m crossing my fingers for your husband.

  9. Beth Hull’s avatar

    Resolutions:
    1) branch out reading to include not just YA novels, but some literary fiction and poetry
    2) disconnect from the internet occasionally so I can get work done
    3) finish my current work-in-progress and keep finishing it (as in revise it until it is REALLY done, not just when I think I’m out of ideas for improvement)
    4) develop some networking skills at the two conferences I’m attending in spring

    I’m glad you’re going to start writing again, Mary. Do you already have a project in mind? Children’s lit, I’m guessing. Any specific genre?

  10. KDuBayGillis’s avatar

    Finish 1st draft of MG WIP in first part of 2011. And then revise the heck out of it. Go to Big Sur. Read at least three books on craft.

  11. Stefanie Wass’s avatar

    Revise my umpteenth draft of MG WIP. Gain courage to query. Critique. Read. Finish 1st draft of second MG novel. Convince hubby to take me to Big Sur. Establish more of an online presence. (Blog, tweet, maybe even Facebook.)

  12. Marybk’s avatar

    Great to see you’re picking up the pen again, Mary. Good on ‘ya. Thanks for sharing your goals and for pouring your passion into your posts every few days!

    My goals are divided between my WiPs, and I have yet to plug dates onto each one, but.

    WiP#1: Leave to fester another six months or so. Or maybe longer.
    WiP#2: Polish, and work on finding a fab agent.
    WiP#3: Figure out a killer ending and finish writing (half done).
    WiP#4: Begin writing, hope for first draft in 2011.

    In general, I’d love to continue to learn honing my craft. I’d like to work on short fiction again, and reconnect with my flash/SS friends. I’m dying to get to a conference. Hmmm. Indiana is is a do-able commute. :)

  13. Peter Dudley’s avatar

    Writing goals? Buy a nicer pen. Oh, yeah, finish WIP and reconnect with my old writing group. Write a couple of short stories, maybe enter a few flash contests. Try to write a poem a day in April. The usual.

    Enjoy Asia! I loved visiting Tokyo many years ago for business. I’ve been lots of places, but that was by far the most foreign. Day Job will also take me to a new state this year: Ohio (Cleveland). Currently, I’ve got you beat by one, at 28 of 50 states plus DC… but not Puerto Rico.

  14. Estee Wood’s avatar

    Become a New York Times #1 best selling author!

    Wait, were these supposed to be realistic goals? Okay, here are mine:
    1) Write the MG that’s currently on my mind.
    2) Get one of my YAs ready for agent’s eyes.
    3) Get back on a critiquing schedule. (Sorry Kathryn)

  15. jo’s avatar

    1) Submit
    2) Submit
    3) Submit.

    Oh, and I invested big time into my career this year. I am going to SCBWI-NY and I purchased a page for an upcoming edition of the Directory of Illustration (ouch!). My plan, other than submitting, is just continuing to work on my WIPs as often as possible. And get a better day job!

  16. Rebecca C.’s avatar

    I want to read a lot more than I have been lately. I’ll probably set a goal for myself, at least 50 over the course of the year, or just set myself the task of reading all the books in my TBR pile… which is a lot. Writing-wise, I don’t know. I know I’ll probably finish at least two, probably three, first drafts in 2011. That’s usually how I roll.

  17. Franziska Green’s avatar

    1 Develop a thick skin!
    2 Be more patient.
    3 Write a story an editor simply cannot resist.
    4 Learn how to do all of the above.

  18. Barbara Eveleth’s avatar

    Realistic goals (as in what I can control and conceivably handle):

    Finish my current wip and dummy it now that I’ve got the characters fleshed out

    Finish a dummy and rhymes that I have been working on for years

    Tinker with a few more existing dummies and rough drafts

    Make new samples and postcards, and get them up and out

    :)

  19. Kate B.’s avatar

    I’m putting my last project to bed and my resolution is to be querying my WIP by the end of next year. I’m taking inspiration from Lydia, too, and I’m going to add at least one short story publication to my resolution.

    I just can’t wait for my extra-long holiday break. Working for a University, I get more than a week off. It’s going to be writing, eating, writing, watching movies, writing, playing in the snow, and writing!

  20. Erin Kelly Cormier’s avatar

    My goal for 2011 is simple and can be found on the cover of the beloved manual “A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”

    The goal is: Don’t panic.

  21. Tracy Edward Wymer’s avatar

    Polish up my second MG novel and find someone who loves it.

  22. Tracy Edward Wymer’s avatar

    There’s more… start and finish my 3rd novel, become a better writer (that’s always a goal), and learn something new.

  23. D.D. Gibson’s avatar

    My goals for 2011 are:

    1. Finish the fourth draft of my novel I’ve been working on for two years
    2. Polish it up and start that synopsis
    3. Rewrite the synopsis and query letter three times until it’s polished
    4. Send it out to literary agents again (For the second time)

    Q: Last month, I read an interesting article about beginning the first chapter of your novel (How to keep literary agents interested from the first page) and I was just wondering if you could talk about how to keep a literary agent interested when it comes to the middle of your novel (A.K.A. the sagging middle). How can I keep a literary agent interested after I wrote the first three chapters? Please Help.

  24. Julie Hedlund’s avatar

    1. Get three of my PB manuscripts submission-ready
    2. Make the absolute most of my participation in the regional SCBWI mentorship program
    3. “Study” picture books rather than just reading them. Identify story arc, rules of threes, rhythm & meter if applicable, etc.
    4. Begin a novel I’ve had swirling around in my head for two years
    5. Stretch myself not only in writing, but also in life. Considering living in Italy this summer with the kids, for example… No time like the present
    6. Learn to ski moguls with confidence (and yes I do realize that has nothing to do with writing) :-)

    Thanks for sharing your goals with us! Congrats on going back to your writing too. I’ve never been to Japan but Hong Kong is beyond amazing! (although perhaps not so amazing as a convent in Wisconsin…)

  25. Katharina Gerlach’s avatar

    Goals for 2011:
    - most important: better time management with my kids to help them cope with their jealousy of each other
    - second most important: get an agent in the UK or US (that means polishing the YA I’ve got once more and revise the two MG I wrote during NaNo until they are ready to submit)

    Other goals will be set as soon as these are reached (Maybe mid-spring)

  26. Lynne Matson’s avatar

    Fun post Mary! Good luck on your writing. Your blog is a great source of info & inspiration for writers…helpful archives, and so many useful/cool posts this year. Loved the ones about the iPad.

    My writing goals:
    1. Revise first YA manuscript until it sparkles.
    2. Let second YA manuscript that I just finished marinate on the harddrive for about 6 weeks (like I should have done with MSS number 1)
    3. Finish current WIP (another YA)
    4. Find an agent who loves my stories and characters as much as I do
    5. Hope :-)
    6. Keep balance btwn family & writing, which can be tough when the characters & scenes in current WIP are dashing through your head fast and furious!
    7. Lots of hugs for my kids (goes back to number six)
    I hope your 2011 is full of knock-your-socks-off submissions and all good things.
    Cheers!
    And Deni- keeping you & your husband in my prayers.

  27. Catherine Johnson’s avatar

    Thanks for all your helpful posts this year Mary.

    My writing goals are to
    1. Finish MG WIP and revise.
    2. Submit at least two pbs.
    3. Learn more about writing poetry and submit some poems.

  28. Ishta’s avatar

    Great post. And good for you for deciding to pick up the writing pen (writing laptop?) again!

    My writing goals are to get at least 3 of my picture book manuscripts really, really, really polished and send them out, and to finish revising my YA novel, and to finish two of the early chapter books in a series I’m working on, and to get published in some magazines or anthologies or somewhere.

    That feels like a lot, but if I break it down and stay disciplined, I think I can do it. Which is my final writing goal: to be more disciplined than last year about writing and submitting regularly.

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