Whew! We made it through another year, folks! Yay, us!
Man, last year’s calendar idea was spot on for me. I did a waaaaay better job of keeping up on my resolutions this last year. Apparently, my secret to success is a zillion tiny aspirations and check boxes. So as successful as that was, I’m sticking with the calendar format. But now, what to put behind all those little check boxes?
Each year, I try to focus on at least one goal for each of four categories: physical, mental, spiritual, and professional. Physical usually involves exercise (*shudders*). Mental often gets kidnapped by my literary passions by giving me an excuse to burn through a zillion “educational” books. (My two favorites from last year were Sobel’s The Planets, which filled me with awe and science, and Larson’s Dead Wake: the Last Crossing of the Lusitania, which made me cry over and over.) And professional really just means ‘writing’, but writing doesn’t end with ‘-al’, so it had to be done.
But writing goals are hard for me; specifically, submissions are hard for me. I do pretty well at drafting, decent enough at editing, but any steps beyond that are super painful, and for one main reason: REJECTIONS. Rejections send me into clawing, leg-kicking death rattles every time. I stuck to my stated submission goals in the calendar one hundred percent, excruciating as it was, but the goals themselves were weenie, anticipating the inevitable rejections I just knew I would receive from each submission. (They weren’t all rejected, but it sure feels that way sometimes.) I spent the year telling myself that next year I’d make some real goals, that this year was only an experiment, etc ad nauseam, and now that that new year is here, I’m a little terrified.
But I have a plan!
As demonstrated by last year’s mini-resolutions success, I do better when big goals are broken into little bits. And as demonstrated by the check box calendar success, I will do anything for the right to scribble in a tiny box. (Gotta check ‘em all!) I knew I needed quantifiable, attainable goals that built on themselves toward a larger total goal. I had all the information for success, I just hadn’t put it together yet. Then, I stumbled across Kim Liao’s Why You Should Aim for a Hundred Rejections a Year a few months ago and read it with a budding sense of excitement. This! This was exactly what I needed!
I needed to defeat my fear of rejections by making rejections my box-check-y goal! *Wonder Woman stance*
So here’s the plan. This year, I will seek out 48 rejections, averaging out to four per month; I had thought to do 52, one per week, but the monthly calendar thing made it awkward. (Either way, it’s a wee bit smaller than Liao’s suggestion, but I’m still peeing myself a little, so we’ll start there.) Rejections count as queries that don’t result in an agent contract or a book deal, short stories submitted that don’t get accepted, story contests I enter that I don’t place in, anything like that. If I submit something and it is published, it doesn’t count. With the rejections as the goal, I hope to a) trick myself into submitting more, b) encourage myself to stretch toward more competitive venues that I’m too cowardly to so much as research now, and c) overcome my crippling phobia of rejections and stop viewing them as personal hate mail and invitations to go shoot myself alone in the cold dark woods. Whee!
On that note, this may be a copout, but since this is such a wild departure from my usual submission goals, and given my propensity toward self-loathing, I’m only forcing myself to try it for four months. If I’m getting nothing but the weepies out of it by then, I’ll reassess. But I have high hopes for this. Check-boxes make everything fun.
It’s a little unorthodox as far as goals go, but I’m excited to give it a try. After all, it’s really just an inverted publication goal; if I’m sending out that many submissions, something’s going to stick, right? *coughs* Right.
So how about you? What are your goals for the year? What are you trying to do differently? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to chat about it with you!
Happy writing, and happy new year! Here’s to new beginnings! *clink!*
PS- Want more details about my personal life? You can find my overarching goals for the year, as well as a copy of January’s calendar, by clicking on this elegant link! –> marcotte-2017-resolutions Enjoy!