New Year’s Writing Goals, 2017, and Critique Groups

Happy Pagan New Year!

The month of January is named for the Roman god Janus, the two-faces on one head keeper of the doors, of transitions, of ends and beginnings, of looking at the  past and the future. Through the years I have come to appreciate this concept more and more. For me, each January first is a day of renewal,  a time to set goals, a time to dream, a time to hope.

Like with diets, I know I can’t accomplish much writing without the encouragement of friends. My biggest encourager is my husband, Jeff, without whom I never would have honestly pursued writing.

One of my critique partners for the past many years is Samantha. Today she sent a Happy New Year’s message to the group. She wrote, “I wanted to start the year by thanking you wonderful ladies for all your support, encouragement and patience (and of course, thoughtful and skillful critiques)! I cannot imagine traveling this writing journey without you! Love you all!” Everyone in the group agrees with her.

Writing may seem like a lonely journey. I mean, individuals must do the sitting down at the keyboard and typing away alone. But I cannot conceive of a time without the support and encouragement of critique groups, people at conferences, listservs, my husband.

My two writing goals this year is to write, and to show my appreciation and encouragement to my fellow writers.

Happy New Year. May this year be full of completed hopes and dreams.

Two-Faced January — Looking Back; Looking Forward

New Year’s Goals.

The last week of each December I review the goals I’d made the year before, and then reevaluate before making new ones for the coming year. Years ago I changed the word “resolutions” to the word “goals.” It sounded better to me to have tried but not have reached something than to break something. The latter seemed so hopeless and final, whereas with the former I heard my internal coaches on the sidelines yelling, “Get up. Try again. You can do it.”

Two years ago, I didn’t reach a single one of my goals. This past year of 2013, I made about half of them, but I also accomplished and experienced lots of unexpected things. My 2013 goal was to publish two historical fictions. I published one of those, which was a huge hip-hip-hurray goal to reach. But I also published an entirely different historical fiction as well as a fantasy one. Sometimes we arrogantly think we know the game and even what the rules are, and then life shoots you down other paths. I wasn’t planning on spending most of my year learning about marketing and promotion, but that’s what I did. It wasn’t a listed goal, but I learned so much. I wasn’t planning on spending a lot of my winter and spring worrying about our son going through chemo treatments, but that’s what I did. It wasn’t a listed goal as it slammed us hard from the sideline, but six months post treatment and he is cancer free. Looking back, I could have never anticipated what my future year would hold. Now I wonder if I should or can expect to make and reach goals, or if I should just drift with the current and be surprised with life.

My 2014 writing goals: Make a book trailer, attend a couple of conferences, work on raw-writing a story with above named son, and publish 2-5 books — all which have already been written over the past several years.

My 2014 non-writing goals: Be awed by where the current takes me, whether past the peaceful forests or through the turbulent whitewater.