Your Writing Goals for 2009

by Joanna on December 14, 2009

Digging back through my blog archives for the Essential Lines piece, I came across a post setting out my writing goals for 2009.


Seeing as I do believe in the value of accountability, I thought I’d review them here, with you.  Ahead of setting some new ones for 2010 (you too?)

Here are mine, and how I got on:

1. Publish book number 1 by the late spring, and sell lots of copies.

Well, it took a bit longer than the late spring, but the book, 199 Ways to Write with Confidence is now out on the shelves (and hopefully disappearing fast off them).

Publishing and launching a physical product (ie a real book) is much more scary and challenging, much more out-of-your-comfort-zone than sharing digital words.  (For me, anyway).  Perhaps something to think more on and talk about in a post of its own.

2. Finish book number 2 before the year is out

Hmm. This is the book on writing with rapport.  I’ve decided to develop it via a website (writing with rapport) and an ebook rather than creating another book for publication.

3. Blog to a good enough standard that Confident Writing is listed again in the top 10 blogs for writers

Achieved :-)

Thank you all for your continued support in making that goal possible.

4. Learn how to teach memoir writing (which will include writing some of my own memoirs too)

I found this one challenging. I have learned a lot about teaching memoir writing this year, and will incorporate that into future teaching that I do.  But.  But I find some of the memoir writing approach too structured and too prescriptive.  My muse / inner rebel certainly kept on reacting against it, which made it very difficult for me to write something that would count as part of my own memoirs.

I am leaning much more to teaching a freer style of writing that allows memories and captured moments to unfold in whatever form suits them, whether that’s a caption for a photograph, an essay, a story, a poem, a prose poem, or fragments of sweet, magical words. It’s more a form of journaling than formal memoir writing, hence the new site on Journaling for Life, and my new learning / teaching focus (Journal to the Self workshops).

Besides, I can’t teach something that I can’t write myself.

Once I find an approach that works for me, then I know I can gleefully pass it on.

This was a hard one to grapple with, especially since my inner critic had a field day in the process, but I feel much more positive and creative now I’m focusing on the journal writing and have left more structured memoir writing to one side, and perhaps another (older) day.

Writing without goals

Lots of other writing emerged without or despite of goals.

I’ve written quite a few poems this year - they’re not brilliant, but I have had fun writing them, and sharing them, especially in spoken form.  (There’s a key somewhere there, I know).

I’ve written a lot of personal pieces inspired by walks that I go on.  (You can read some of them here: writing walks)

I’ve created more space for myself with several new blogs and a tumblr site - I don’t know the wisdom of this, but I do know I feel more expansive and creative as a result, and also happier about what I’m blogging here (and why).

I’ve also written a lot of captured moments, mainly about my mother, trying to find words to capture her grace and humour despite of / emerging through her dementia, remembered moments between mother and daughter, moments from childhood, moments that are keeping me in the present and focused on what is present rather than what is fading or gone.

That practice - some kind of mindful writing maybe - is definitely helping me (Joanna) as well as producing some words I’m proud of.  They’re still private for now, but maybe some day I’ll work them into something I can share more widely.

Whichever way, I’ll keep you posted.

Nothing I like better than writing about writing ;-)

So, that’s my round up of my writing goals from 2009.  Although at first I felt a bit bad about the things I haven’t done, writing this has helped me see why I haven’t, and what I’ve done instead. It’s also got me clearer about what I want to write, learn and teach next.

2010 here we come!

How about you?  Have you looked back at your writing goals for 2009?  If so, what did you find?

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Brad Shorr 12.14.09 at 12:31 pm

Hi Joanna, It looks like you had a successful writing year, so congratulations. I admire your accountability by publishing this recap. That’s a very good but very uncomfortable practice.
Brad Shorr´s last blog ..My Most Conversational Posts of 2009 My ComLuv Profile

Karen Swim 12.14.09 at 1:03 pm

Joanna, congratulations on this writing year! As I read your recap I was struck by the patterns, and how true they were to the theme of your stated goals. It made me realize that we write goals as tasks but they truly represent something larger - a learning directive, a focus, a journey. We very often don’t do everything on our list in the way we lay it out but your recap proves that accomplishment comes in other ways. Thank you my dear friend for once again helping me to unlock my own learning.

Karen xx
Karen Swim´s last blog ..No Chimney Required My ComLuv Profile

--Deb 12.14.09 at 2:46 pm

Interesting. I’m not so good about setting finite, specific goals for myself. I tend to leave them fuzzy and indefinite … something I clearly need to work on. Look at all you’ve accomplished!
-Deb´s last blog ..Do You Write With Conviction? My ComLuv Profile

Eric C 12.14.09 at 11:51 pm

Good work on reaching the top ten. My writing goals were to complete projects, and submit them to contests. I did all of these things.
Eric C´s last blog ..Introducing the Blogroll… My ComLuv Profile

Joanna 12.15.09 at 9:17 am

Brad, you’re right, there is an element of discomfort, but I felt more comfortable having written it :-) It helps to keep my relationship with you wonderful folk on solid ground

Karen that’s such an important point about keeping an eye on the bigger picture. I read once about river people vs goals people - river people being more interested in the general direction & flow rather than goal specific focus - and I think that captures somem of what you mean, that it’s a direction and a journey, and we should celebrate what’s contributing to the forward momentum rather than beating ourselves up about the specifics (as I would be liable to do!). Glad to have helped … as ever your feedback helps me x

-Deb well, there’s something in doing what works for you. Finite goals do drive some people forward, but they’re not universally motivating. Or, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Eric thank you. Well done on achieving your own goals. I’m going to include submitting some of my writing externally in my 2010 list too.

Cat Woods 12.15.09 at 4:07 pm

Joanna, thanks for reminding me to take a peek at mine.

In regards to writing, I wanted to start a blog. I succeeded and love it, though I wish I hand’t lost what I had written for nine months. It almost feels like losing a part of myself.

I also wanted to submit. I had some lofty goals and once I got in the swing of it, I cut back on them. I learned that there is much more personal success in mindful submissions than on the sheer quantity. Some writers may disagree and that’s fine, but in the end, I feel better about targeted and purposeful submissions rather than bulk mailings.

It may take me longer to accomplish my goals of publication, but that’s okay. I’m willing to wait it out in exchange for not overloading and overworking editors and agents with the wrong types of submissions.
Cat Woods´s last blog ..Tales from Technology My ComLuv Profile

Cath Lawson 12.17.09 at 5:58 am

Wow Joanna - you’ve achieved heaps. I like how you’ve looked back on your 2009 goals.

It’s all too easy to start writing next years goals without thinking. But it gives you more confidence to keep going, if you congratulate yourself on your achievements.

Ralph 12.17.09 at 4:28 pm

Hi, Joanna,
as t writing goals, I think finding a passion about what to write is the most important one. Then comes producing contents on a blog, and I am very near to publishing two blogposts a week. Keeping this up with all the rest of work to do and getting people interested n what I write about is my goal for 2010. Seems not much, but is a lot toachieve.
Ralph´s last blog ..Not in charge of mental disasters My ComLuv Profile

Carla 12.21.09 at 7:41 am

Congratulations on your productive year! One of my goals (actually, my only goal) was the improve the content of my Green and Chic website. It took me a while to actually get to it, but I was finally able to get started on it. Its always a work in progress, but I’m proud of what I’ve done so far.
Carla´s last blog ..Fwd: Fwd: Be very afraid! – Chain Emails My ComLuv Profile

Joanna 12.21.09 at 7:54 am

Cat thanks for sharing your own goals and progress from the year just finishing. It must be so hard to have lost that blog… although I’m sure the words and the writing will be inside of you or have changed you in some way even though the end product is lost (somewhere!). I like the idea of mindful submission. If that feels right to you, then I’m sure it is right for you and as you say,you’re not overloading or wasting the time of others either. Good luck with the publication goals in 2010 too :-)

Cath I think if you set out goals it’s worth looking back - actually that the confidence comes not just from noticing the good things but also being able to learn from the bits that didn’t work out. That’s harder… but still worth doing. Hope you’ve had a quiet weekend by the way!

Ralph writing with a passion, and with an intention to connect are worthy goals. I wish you all the best for them in 2010 :-)

Carla I know that you’ve had some blogging tussles over the last year so it’s great to hear you’re in a blogging flow and are proud of what you’re producing, writing and editing. I love to hear when people are proud of their writing… it’s such a good feeling! Best wishes for 2010 x

Ellan Bethia 12.30.09 at 11:23 pm

Joanna, thank you for your post; it is most timely. I am coming to the end of a massive writing project that must meet strict criteria, similar in a way to the memoir writing restrictions you describe.

Having focused on this project, I have neglected my own writing, and my soul aches to be able to express who I am; I have many suppressed fiction, non-fiction, blogging longings. So many, in fact, that I feel overwhelmed by them, and had concluded that I could not do them all in 2010. Yet, I can not release any yet either; each has waited so long for expression.

What I thought was a problem—too many desires, too many goals—now appears doable through your example. I was amazed when you stated that you published a book, published a website with a related ebook, wrote poems and essays, taught journaling, and still had an exceptional blog (grats!). I would be surprised if you didn’t also take photographs on your walks, or perhaps keep a nature journal with sketches.

Thank you again for your gift of hope.

PublishingGuru 12.14.09 at 7:58 am

Your Writing Goals for 2009

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netocrat 12.14.09 at 8:09 am

Your #Writing Goals for 2009 from @PublishingGuru:

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joannayoung 12.14.09 at 8:57 am

Have you looked back on your writing goals for 2009?

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