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My 9 Writing Goals for the New Year

writing goalsLast year, I wrote about how I don’t really like writing goals. Mostly, this is because they focus on the results and too often bypasses the importance of the journey. But this January, perhaps more than any other January, I find myself brimming with intentional and actionable ideas about where I want this year to take me, as both a writer and a person.

This post is a little late—scraping into the official goal-setting month by a bare week—since most of my January so far as been taken up with recovering from Christmas (literally) and launching my latest novel Wayfarer. But I’ve also been doing a lot of thinking and processing. I feel like last year was the close of a significant chapter in my life, culminating with a move to be nearer my sister and her growing family. As I look out on this brand-new chapter, I find there is so much I want to do.

Because my writing ultimately influences or is influenced by everything else in my life, it’s hard for me to separate writing goals from life goals. They all blur together. So today I thought I’d share my top nine goals/intentions for this year, with a specific focus on how they will impact my journey as a writer.

Although these goals are obviously very specific to me and my current chapter in life, I’m sharing them today because I think all of them are potential value-adders for any writer at any time. If nothing else, I hope you find them interesting!

My Top 9 Suggestions for Writing Goals This Year

1. Find the Balance Between Art and Business

More than any other question in my writing life, this remains the big one, always looming, never quite finding an answer.

I’ve talked before about reframing marketing and business mindsets into a more giving- or sharing-focused approach, which is something I continue to work on. However, in reality, many of the same challenges remain. As is true for the vast majority of full-time authors, I make my living less off my writing (that is, my art) and more off my writing business.

As such, the business naturally likes to try to suck up my attention and energy. Gotta eat after all, right? For me, part of the problem is that I’m such a crazy all-or-nothing person. If I’m focusing on the business, it’s hard to keep that from being all I’m focusing on. And vice versa. When I’m writing, I don’t want to think about scheduling social media messages or reminding a partner company that I really need an invoice now.

Even after eleven years of juggling the art of writing fiction with the business of teaching writing, I find I don’t yet have what I would call an intentional solution to this challenge. But it remains my top goal.

The past few years have already helped me make huge strides, just in realizing how out of whack my focus was getting in favoring the business side. But I’m still doing my best (largely, via the goals listed below) to find an optimal balance that helps me enjoy every minute of both my work and my art.

2. Hack My Brain for the Hard Stuff

There are parts of writing—and the writing business—that come naturally to me. There are other parts I’ve mastered through dedication and learning. And then… there are parts that make me feel like a five-year-old kicking and screaming and howling at the thought of getting her picture taken with the creepy clown.

It’s stuff that’s not easy, not intuitive, not interesting, and not fun. And I. don’t. wanna.

But the more I learn about how my brain and my personality work, the better I’m getting and reframing my approach to the hard stuff. I talked last week about how you can hack your brain to create a writing process that lets your natural strengths carry the bulk of the hardest parts. I’ve gotten pretty good at doing that with my writing.

But on the business side, I’m wanting to be more intentional about how I approach the stuff I really don’t like—and am therefore much more likely to procrastinate on.

For example, I hate ads. I just… hate them. The whole researching keywords and A/B testing and analyzing which approach is actually working? Totally not my thing. Every part of my brain rebels. For eleven years, I’ve pretty much avoided having to deal with them. But as Amazon now shifts into a “pay-to-play” model where advertising seems to be becoming a necessity, I find myself reluctantly moving into this dreaded playground.

My advantage is that I know how my brain works. I know my weaknesses (studying, analyzing, and integrating technical information on the spot), and I know my strengths (holistically absorbing information and implementing organized plans of attack). This realization takes off a lot of the pressure, reframes the problem into a shape I can take a bite out of, and gives me a plan for moving forward.

Guess that means no more excuses for procrastination.

3. Trust Myself More

This is primarily a life goal, but it has obvious implications in both my writing and my business.

Something I realized this winter is that I constantly second-guess myself, in response to other people’s opinions, only to, more often than not, circle back around months (or even years) later and realize I wasn’t so wrong in the first place.

Part of this is just how my brain works—taking in massive chunks of information, slowly observing patterns as they emerge, and sorting and resorting conclusions into appropriate “boxes.” But part of it, I’m realizing, is just me undervaluing my own observations and understanding.

In many instances, the odds aren’t any greater that someone else is right (in their presentation of themselves, in their world view, in their knowledge of a specific subject) than you are. If you’re going to trust one person over the other, why shouldn’t you just trust yourself?

Granted, there’s a fine line here between confidence and hubris. But as long as that line is always being rigorously examined, with a continuous focus on refining the purity and honesty of emotional and logical judgments, I believe it’s important for each of us to learn to trust our gut instincts.

This is something I’ve long believed when it comes to writing: each writer must find the balance between the humility necessary to learn and the confidence to stand on their own artistic understanding and vision. It’s just as true in life.

4. Live (and Write) Greener

This year, I’ve made a commitment to trying to make more sustainable life choices. I’ve cut out pretty much all single-use products (such as napkins, tissues, straws, grocery bags). I’m trying to choose non-plastic alternatives for household items (my dish brush is wooden, pot scrapers and dish drainer are bamboo, refillable shampoo and conditioner bottles are stainless steel, etc.). I buy almost exclusively second-hand clothing (mostly through ThredUp and garage sales). And I’m trying to grow more of my food (via a kitchen garden from Aggressively Organic—we’ll see how that goes, since I have something of a black thumb).

Although a minimal-waste lifestyle sounds daunting at first glance, I can’t believe how much fun I’m having with it. Seriously. Not only is it way easier than I thought it would be (once you get the basics in place, it’s no less work and little to no less expense than “normal”), and not only does it contribute to a beautiful home (seriously—wood, glass, and stainless steel products create a much nicer aesthetic than do neon plastics), it’s also a delightful and genuinely enjoyable challenge to figure out new ways to live greener. My life is about 75% “green-hacked” at this point, and I’m honestly a little bummed there are no longer any major changes I can work on.

This actually hasn’t created too many changes in my writing life, since I was already pretty green there. I’m going to do a post (and maybe even a video) on the specifics sometime this year, including such things as printing manuscripts less, buying more e-books instead of print, switching to a fountain pen, switching to a stapleless stapler, switching to highlighter pencils, etc.

5. Make Time to Rest, Listen, Think

January is always a bit of a “funk” month for me. It’s hard for my productivity-oriented personality to be okay with this. But beyond just recognizing the inevitability of the hibernation pattern, I’m also trying to focus more on the importance of intentional downtime.

The other night, I was whining on the phone to my mom about how lazy I feel because, ever since Christmas, it seems like it’s taking me longer and longer to get going in the mornings. She immediately turned on the mom voice: “You’re thinking, and that’s incredibly important for a writer.”

She’s right. I never sit around doing nothing. But sometimes—more often than I realize, I think—I need to sit around and intensely process. This, too, is how my brain works. The more intentional I am at taking my gut instincts and observations and actively and logically talking myself through them, the more insightful and productive I ultimately am.

Fortuitously, the same night my mom got after me, I also read Madeleine L’Engle’s similar reminder in Walking on Water:

Sitting or, better, lying on one of my favourite sun-warmed rocks, I try to take time to let go, to listen, in much the same way that I listen when I am writing.

In our go-go world, it can be so easy to feel guilty for taking the time to mentally rest. But I grow more and more adamant in my belief that stepping back from busyness is important, not least for personal health, but also for artistic inspiration. The well must be filled before the bucket can be lowered.

6. Read More Consciously

I talked about this in my recent compilation of my favorite reads from last year: I don’t read like I used to. To some extent this was affected by other aspects of my life, but it’s also just part of the continuing evolution of my mindset from being focused on productivity to being more focused on being present and enjoying the journey.

This year, I find myself with a renewed excitement about reading, in no small part because I’ve changed up my reading “schedule” to prevent any one book from feeling formidable.

I’ve started reading the “harder” books just a  little tiny bit at a time (I’m currently working through Emmy E. Werner’s painful WWII account Through the Eyes of Innocents).

Instead of being (ridiculously) rigid in what I read when, I’m giving myself the freedom to focus on whatever reading feels most urgent and interesting at any given time. Occasionally, I’ll find a novel I just can’t put down, but these days, my page-turners seem to be mostly non-fiction (my current goal is to try to read at least one book of history about every major country). But I still make sure to get my fiction fix with one chapter sometime during the day (usually right after lunch).

This undoubtedly sounds insane to most people, but the realization, last summer, that I didn’t have to read my TBR pile in order was incredibly liberating. Now I read what I want when I want. It works much better. (Don’t laugh.)

7. Find and Utilize the Best Times to Write

Another area of my life in which I’m trying to be more receptively spontaneously and less rigidly scheduled is in my actual writing. I want to optimize every part of my day, so I’m at my best for each task. Writing, of course, is always at the top of the to-do list.

There are periods in my life when writing first thing in the morning is the best thing. I wake up excited by the thought that I get to start my day with writing!

But other periods (usually in the winter), I do better when I get everything else out of the way first, then write in the waning twilight of the afternoon’s last few hours.

Again, for me, this is part of learning about being more aware of and receptive to myself. Instead of boxing myself into a schedule and demanding I keep it, I want to get better at listening to and understanding the ebbs and flows of my inner (and outer) life. This is nowhere more important than in my art.

8. Stretch My Comfort Zones in the Real World

If you were to ask me to name one thing I don’t feel I’m very good at, my immediate answer would be driving. Blame it on being the absent-minded-writer-in-her-ivory-tower stereotype, but all my insecurities come out when I have to drive in unfamiliar areas or circumstances. I’m actually not a bad driver; but I am a stressed-out driver.

One of my main goals this year is to give myself more driving experience. Since I’m living in a new town, there are lots of opportunities for driving in unfamiliar areas. I’ve made it a commitment to drive someplace new at least once a week.

So how does this tie into writing?

Not at all. Or not directly, at any rate. But writers must live, must have experiences, must push their comfort zones in order to better understand themselves and their lives. It’s all grist for the mill. This is something I grow more aware of with every year. I spent so much of my twenties in front of a computer screen; I want my thirties to be spent stockpiling experiences and skills other than those inherent to being a writer.

9. Approach the Page With Wonder

I feel I have come so far as a writer. I have learned so much. know how to write a novel now. The process doesn’t scare me or frustrate me anymore. And that’s wonderful.

But as I begin writing what will be my twelfth novel (not all of them were published, naturally), I am hyper-aware that I don’t ever want the glory of this journey to become dusty and rote. I want every story I write to be an adventure, full of mystery.

I admit it: sometimes I have to remind myself to approach the page with wonder. And that is perhaps my most important goal this year. I want every minute I spend with my stories to be minutes that, underneath all the workmanship, are minutes founded in reverence and awe. At the end of the day, I am not a teacher of stories; the story is the teacher of me. And I want never to forget the magnificent humility of that.


I’m sure there are some more subconscious ideas and intentions also rattling around in my brain, but these nine goals are my top focus for this year (and, I’m sure, quite a few years to come). More specifically, my goals also include finishing the outline for the third book in the Dreamlander trilogy, finishing second-round edits on Dreambreaker (after my alpha readers report back), and probably starting work on a new writing-craft book. I’m also toying with the idea of returning to a weekly video series, probably in an informal Q&A format. I’d also like to see my fiction start migrating into audio editions, and my podcast get settled on a better platform that will make it more easily accessible to non-iTunes users.

In short, I have big plans for this year. Unlike some past years, I think most of these are doable—mostly because they’re focused primarily on intentional living rather than just on productivity. I hope this peek into my thoughts for the new year will give you some thoughts for your own writing goals. Let’s make this year our best year yet!

Wordplayers, tell me your opinions! What are your biggest writing goals for this year? Tell me in the comments!

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About K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland

K.M. Weiland is the award-winning and internationally-published author of the acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs. A native of western Nebraska, she writes historical and fantasy novels and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.


  1. I’m going to plan my second novel. (I pantsed my first one and then I had to spend 2 years doing rewrites- largely based on this website. Thanks Katie.)

  2. I love this!

    I have two life/writing goals this year. Life/writing because those two are influencing each other so much.

    The first is to get to know myself and my strenghts and weaknesses better and plan writing according to that. I also want to look carefully at my life as a wife and mother of 3, and adjust writing to it. Like you said in an earlier post last week: work with your life, not against it.
    This means that a lot of writing advise (like writing everyday, write before everyone else awakes etc.) does not fit into my life right now. Writing with a fountain pen in notebooks, and on my phone with OneNote does fit right now.

    The second is more practical: I want to finish my first draft since I was a kid at the end of this year. I try to see it as a journey, not a hard goal.

    And yay, a new writing book! I am looking forward to it 🙂

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Ooh, a fountain pen! I just got one of those. I still need to get ink for it. I got it for green reasons, but I’m totally geeking out about it.

  3. As an INFP, I loudly applaud your resolution to recapture the wonder of writing. *loudly applauds your resolution to recapture the wonder of writing*
    I actually kind of lost that wonder in the middle of last year. I’d never had to write without it before, and it was like pulling teeth. It makes /logical/ sense that if your brain knows how words work and your fingers know how to type nothing else should matter, but it isn’t true. Maybe that’s because it focuses on two aspects of how we function and leaves out the third (and most important)– it covers the intellectual and physical (which are arguably just managers of maintenance tasks) and leaves no room for the soul.

    One reason deadlines and a lot of external pressure have never been beneficial to my wonder-oriented work-process. I know I’m not as good with organized processes like publishing and marketing and so they make me panic and turn to my ‘managers’ instead of using my strengths and values to lead. It’s a process. I’m still learning. 😉

    And that right there is probably my biggest goal this year. I have a lot of little practical ones, but as far as mindset goes, learn marketing as if it were a beautiful thing and a tool for connection, not some teeth-pulling drudgery.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      One of my brothers is an INFP. It’s been my experience that INFPs and INTJs do well in reminding each other of balance–since we tend so radically toward different ends of the Order/Chaos spectrum. :p

    • Kate, I agree with K.M. that it’s good to understand how your brain works. As you are probably aware, as an INFP, you’re a perceiver. You likely know the four functions your in control of alternate between introverted and extroverted. Example: as an INFP your function stack would be-Introverted Feeling, Extroverted Intuition,Introverted Sensing, Extroverted Thinking. Sorry, I’m sure you know all of this, but did you also know the reason you’re labeled a perceiver is because the first extroverted function (Ne) in that line-up is a perceiving function. Your dominant function (Fi) is actually a judging function. On the other hand, INTJ (Introverted Intuition, Extroverted Thinking, Introverted Feeling, Extroverted Sensing) first extroverted function (Te) is judging where as the dominant function (Ni) is perceiving. So, just because your a perceiver or judger doesn’t mean you can’t be organized or unorganized. I read an post that explained it like this, for a perceiver, you can begin focused become less focused, either because of distractions or ideas that lead to more ideas, but then are able to refocus and finish. I guess that’s why so many perceivers are able to get things done at the last minute. A judger, on the other hand, starts with distractions or too many ideas but then can focus on one idea but it often leads to other ideas and/or distractions, like an hourglass.

      Well, I’m sure I’ve muddy it up, but if you want to read the post I read, here it is: https://personalityjunkie.com/09/judging-vs-perceiving-inner-outer-characteristics/

      Also, here is another great post: https://www.psychologyjunkie.com/2015/09/13/myers-briggs-mistakes-understanding-what-the-jp-preference-really-means/

      Fascinating stuff, right.

      Now, I’m not trained in MBTI, but seems to me that instead of focusing on marketing as a huge task, find one aspect of it you can focus on first, then move to next thing. I don’t know if it’s possible, I haven’t made it into the realm of marketing yet, so use my suggestion with a grain of salt. 😉

      As for me, a judger, I’ve procrastinated enough. It’s time to focus. 🙂

      • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

        Good stuff, Alisa!

      • *grins* Now you’re talking my language. You are absolutely right. And thank you so much for the encouragement. Taking things one step at a time definitely helps me, though it’s difficult to focus on one thing when there is SO MUCH that needs to be learned. How to pick!? ;P But reminding myself to slow down and focus on what I’m doing has proven very helpful.
        Your comment made my day. Not often I meet another MBTI enthusiast in the wild. XD

  4. Love this article, Katie! This year is a big one for me. I’m retiring at the end of March from my career job (healthcare) and will write full-time. Talk about scared out of my wits! I’ve been jobbing now for 51 years with tiny breaks for each of my 3 children. I won’t know what to do with myself on April 1st! But scared is full of exhilaration. I can’t wait to work on my first novel full time without having to punch a clock. I have 3 other published books, creative non-fiction (or Biblical fiction), and am finding fiction writing fascinating. And to have time to research, blog, network, and ugh…market, AND create a story is a dream come true. Your articles about time management, how to hack your brain, know yourself, and then this one has helped me think through some things. On to the next life chapter!

  5. My big plan is REVISION. I’ve been so busy obsessing over my 1st manuscript, my baby, my heart, that the others have been rough drafted, tossed in a folder, and neglected.

    And in between novels I’m revising? Reading more. Especially working on my physical to-read pile — not just “ooh! Sequel to series I’m already reading? *downloads to kindle, and finishes*”

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Yes! I have so many reading goals this year, it’s ridiculous. But I’m so *excited* about all of them!

  6. Melissa Milich says

    This was an excellent article! Well done Katie! I’m sending this on to another writer I know.

    Loved the driving goal. I can SO RELATE!


    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Yes, I read in Sage Cohen’s Fierce on the Page that she felt like a driving klutz too. I was like: Ah, it’s not just me! :p

    • Me too! I hate driving and will never be great at it even though I try hard and do my best. I dream of living in a walking city or village, or having a self-driving car.

  7. This is wonderful! I think a lot of my own development has been in a (sort of) opposite direction — learning to make the most of Personal Rules and learning to focus more on one thing at a time. I’ve always naturally read a bunch of different books at a time and skipped around however I wanted, and I now see the benefit in making systematic lists (even if I don’t feel rigidly bound to them). I am not naturally orderly in my habits, but I have learned over time that the more I can systematize (getting the dishes done, having the bed made, keeping the living room neat) the more energy I have for the Real Work (my job, my reading, my writing).

    My hang-up has been realizing that the Real Work can’t itself be systematized. Parts of the work can be — the preparatory tasks, the organizing parts, the routine maintenance work — but not the hard, creative, problem-solving parts. I can and should make ordinary chores into a system; I can and should be more regular in my habits. But after years of work, I realize I have actually become habitual, regular, good at sticking to a prayer rule, pretty good at organizing my tasks and not procrastinating, good at carrying out projects once I commit to them, good at using my leisure time well. What remains to be done is the really hard work: showing up and pouring everything out without saving energy for tomorrow, becoming fully absorbed, going deep into the story. The things I sort of knew how to do all along, but never had time for because I was so harried by the details of my chaotic life.

    So my goals for the next year are to go deep, to be entirely present now, to write the story for real instead of just jotting a noncommittal page a day, to pour it out without saving energy for later. I am excited: whether it all works or not, I’m going to be getting better and better.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Very true, and well put. I organize the heck out of *everything* to take as much pressure off those “unorganizable” moments as possible. But in the end, there’s no way to organize yourself through the real work. You can make them easier and more doable. But you still have to show up and *do* it.

  8. Eric Troyer says

    Interesting post! If you’re not already doing it, I suggest taking up a meditation practice. I’ve been doing it for a couple of years and I’ve found it very helpful for clarifying my life. I do just 10 minutes a day (sometimes 2 sessions, 10 minutes each). I didn’t see results right away, but eventually I began to really be able to think about things more clearly every day. It’s kind of weird. It’s a get-into-your-head-in-order-to-get-out-of-your-head sort of thing. I use a meditation app on my phone (Calm) and do the guided daily meditation and then sometimes just a silent timed meditation. Anyway, I highly recommend it.

  9. Great post! Found it very informative and on-the-mark, like making time to just listen or just be in the moment. I did this last weekend, Sunday afternoon, and just sat in a comfy chair, in the room all by myself and enjoyed my surroundings – things I have seen for years became intriguing! Perhaps, my brain needed a thinking respite! Oh, and hey- here’s a suggestion for generating incentive for writing – go to a library, pick a section and just look at the titles (possibly even check something out). Thanks for your great blog!

  10. Mary George says

    Thank you, Kate!

    Just seeing that other writers have the same preoccupations and concerns is huge. I’m out of my comfort zone staying home and writing full time;-) Your insight and experience is a vein of gold, and more than the pieces you write on all the technical stuff, it’s much-needed moral support.

    I printed out my ms. Took last week to rearrange scenes, fix dialogue, add more fluid phrases, delete God knows what, and settle the whole pile of papers into a some semblance of cohesive chapters.

    Ugh. Someone make me a martini with three olives.

    So that, in a nutshell, was one goal. A big one, sure. Granted, it all could come right back at me and I’ll spend another few months revising, but what I know is this: every time I do this, it really does get better. And no, I don’t think I’m anywhere near hubris. Just satisfied. For the moment.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      That’s great! None of us will reach perfection in our work. But as long as we’re steadily getting better, we can hardly ask for more!

  11. Clifford Farris says

    Twenty Nineteen is my year to understand and refine my writing style. My interest is in historical fiction that immerses the reader in adventure and action.

    My style is to write from inside my characters and relive their experiences as they did. I sneak in character development and powerful arcs. I vaguely bring in modern issues as they could have appeared a century or more ago, but absolutely and resolutely ignore social justice warriors. Ain’t no preaching in me. I don’t receive it well either, so don’t try.

    My stories seem to resonate with men (and women) of action who are doing something. They relive the adventures of their youth, or adventures they wish they had.

    My goal is to pull all this together and entertain my select readers with a good read.

  12. #1 goal is to make time to write

  13. Awesome post! I’d say my main writing goals this year would be: 1. Stop being lazy and WRITE! 2. Finish the draft for my novel. 3. Complete a draft for a new short story I’m planning. 4. Get some of the finished flash fiction/short stories sent out to publishers.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Something I’ve noticed in my own life is that laziness is always linked to lack of motivation. If you can figure out what’s been holding you back in the past, it might prove a shortcut to motivation in the coming year.

  14. Tom Crepeau says

    This is going to be quite a year. My first ready manuscript (after years of only producing “trunk” novels I have no intention of releasing) is in the hands of September Fawkes of Fawkes Editing for a developmental edit. This year, My partner Dave and I publish (Self-publish). Currently, Dave is exploring a cover for our book. It’a a coming-of-age novel, we’re writing about three girls who’re weeks from turning 14, and this is so far the most eventful day of their lives. Today, they present the principal of their middle school the results of two years of work in their school magic club- They’ve made a working wand. Mind you, they don’t know anyone else who’s made a wand, but they don’t quite realize NO ONE living on Earth has made their own wand: Wands come from neighboring Avalon. And, they’re expensive. Houses usually cost less than even the least capable wand. But without a wand, you’re trying to cast magic with your bare hands: and that can be a problem. So they turn their wand in to their principal so he can get it certified.

    That’s when they run into a monster shape-shifted into human form…

    Also, build Facebook page, create website (begun), and market, market, market. Did I mention market?

  15. Ms. B.l. albina says

    Good article,

    My writing plans is getting my book done my wip and then doing one also about one of Leilani’s daughters. I am going to do other books that have the mermaid clans and one about the immortal gods that live on the planet where my characters live. One question for you for your blog how did you put it it up and do it? I do know that some authors have blogs but I don’t know how to do one.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I started out on Blogspot, which is free, but would recommend started with WordPress. They have free options as well, although it’s best to buy your own domain name.

  16. I love this post so much. Bravo!

  17. Great plans Katie!

    After retiring in June 2016, I thought I would have time to do nothing but write. I had very little free time then and now I struggle to make time to do various items.
    I took last year off of writing, but like your mom said, I was always thinking about the stories. I was just not typing or writing out anything. About two or three weeks ago I bought a grammar program to just double check this old English teacher’s grammar ha ha. It was then that I decided that I must start writing down what needs to come out. I had 40,600 words in a novel that I really thought ended beautifully. But, I keep hearing that novels must be at least 50,000 words. This past week I increased that novel to 53,360 words and decided that it was finished. Now maybe I can get on to the other three that I have started, plus the one actually finished, but written in first person and again I am told that no one wants first person stories.

    I wish you luck in keeping up with your wises for this year. May it turn out to be your best year yet.
    Take care,

  18. Dear K.M. Weiland,
    I made it to your third goal and I began to assume what the rest would be like.
    Since, as far as I may detect, yes, you need to trust yourself more– but you also need to assume about yourself LESS! When you open up a novel, and you see it’s a romance, do you think you know how the tale will play out? When you look at a mystery, is it always obvious someone is going to be caught? Maybe yes, maybe no. But I’ve taken enough Psychology in University to know if you constantly put yourself down, you’ve struck out before you’ve stepped up to the plate. Your focus seems tangled, with all due respect.
    Good luck on your new novel!

  19. Declaring your freedom from your self-imposed prisons is always a victory. Step out into the light. 🙂

  20. Christopher Kalkbrenner says

    Great post! I have to say, your doing better than I when it comes to writing goals. I should do it anyway.

    I do have some reading goals and that is to read your Dreamlander book, as well as, Jerry Jenkins books.

    Anyway, keep up the great work. I’ve been a fan since Jenkins interviewed you about outlining. I’m a bit of a hybrid with that.

    Getting my writing schedule down is the challenge, what with working a full-time job. My ultimate goal is to get my stories published-either self-published or traditionally published.

    Thank-you for the post,
    Chris K.

  21. One of my biggest writing goals actually hinges on a life goal. I’ve started a new routine, which includes getting up at 5 am. This allows me 2 hours of writing time before I dive into the day! And writing 2 hrs, 6 days a week, gives me approx. 12k words a week!

  22. Thank you for sharing and so much of what you said resonated with me. Many mornings I find my son sitting quietly in the living room staring off into space. He’s pondering and thinking about his stories. Something I should do more often. I definitely need to read Walking on Water.

    Some books are meant to be read slowly and the chunkier ones just take time. My book group has taken to calling these types of books ‘sip reads.’ We sip a little bit at a time, taking the time to absorb the story or information. Glad to see you are letting your mood and interest guide your reading. I used to only read one book at a time and now find myself with book marks in several books, taking breaks when a longer book gets to be a bit overwhelming and rereading something fluffy.

    Goal wise this year I’m working on trusting my own intuition when it comes to editing and revision. Writing during the day when the words want to come rather than forcing them out in the morning. Find myself writing at all times of the day now and some days when I don’t have the time, don’t beat myself up about it.

    Have fun exploring your new town

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Walking on Water has definitely been a “sip read” for me. I listened to it on audio book the first time through, then immediately purchased a hardback. I’ve been reading it one little section per night ever since. I’m about to finish it for the second time. So much wisdom to unpack!

  23. Thanks for sharing these, K.M. Great, soul-searching writerly goals! Especially approaching the page with wonder. . .my word two years ago!☺️

  24. I relate very much to number 5. I’ve converged on two different lessons, the first is that the point of the Sabbath is that we need to operate from a “well-rested” position. The second was John Cleese’s lecture on creativity, where he points out that he gave himself more time to come up with and develop his skits than his Monty Python co-stars. Therefore, his skits were considered more creative. I’ll take his word for it, because I’ve never watched Monty Python 🙂 But his advice did help with a chapter I was writing.

    I tend to berate myself for laziness during those times I’m just pondering/thinking/percolating, but I’ve begun to see how useful it is to just stop and smell the roses a bit. In my father’s family, “lazy” is a four-letter-word, and I have trouble distinguishing between “rest” and “lazy.” I’ll get there …

    Number 7 also; I just bought “Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind” because I’m juggling a variety of projects: writing a book, rebuilding one website, creating another. I can’t multitask because I tend to manically zone into whichever one I’m doing. Prioritizing and scheduling is something I’m going to have to figure out if I want to meet my own goals for the year, especially since I don’t have an external deadline — I adore deadlines. Under pressure, I cook. Without deadlines, I flounder.

  25. I really enjoyed this post, and grabbed a few ideas I didn’t expect. (I’ve been tinkering with the notion of further decreasing my earthly footprint with some of the very go-greener ideas you mentioned, and just starting thinking about how to make incremental changes, maybe one area at a time (starting with the kitchen full of plastic and paper…)

    My goal is to finish the first draft of the debut novel I’ve been trying to write for nearly three years now. This is a story that means so much to me, it’s hard to explain why it’s taken so long to write. But the first truth is—life happened, and I let it give me the excuse to stop writing. The second truth is, fear, self-doubt, second-guessing, the dread of failure. I’ve allowed that to lead to procrastination, which makes everything so much worse. Your reminder to approach the craft with wonder came at the best possible time. Instead of approaching it with self-doubt, anxiety, and criticism, I will look to re-capture the wonder of the creative process, and approach the manuscript with curiosity, not reproach.

    I may need to get that tattooed somewhere before it’s all over, because it’s been an up and down journey. But the journey is worthwhile. Thank you for the inspiration.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Yeah, life certainly does have a way of happening. 😉 I’m dealing with that very much right now as start outlining a new book. It’s teaching me through lots of new challenges.

  26. Andrewisediting says

    Read more consciously, I like that one.I find it exceedingly easy to do in movies, less so in books.

    My writing goals for the year are perhaps more prosaic:
    1) Finish editing Tyrant of Arcadia.
    Editing has been a nightmare to get my head around this time, for some reason.

    2) Release Tyrant of Arcadia
    There’s a financial component to this since I self-publish. But I’m aiming for a February release.

    3) Write, edit and release Queen of the Dead

    4) Get better at everything – and by that I mean, head off a lot of the problems in editing with more conscious earlier drafts

  27. Nine great goals. I now you will reach them.
    My only goal is to get my first professional sale.
    Also, it would be nice to get more sleep.
    Keep moving forward!

    ~Ingmar Albizu

  28. I love all your posts, but this one must have struck at a particularly sensitive moment because I LOVE it. Points 4, 6 and 9 especially. I straight away Googled stapleless staplers and highlighter pencils – who knew! I can’t wait to buy some. Read more consciously – I definitely need to do this more. My default is easy non-thinking books, and even though I am left disappointed, I reach for another one. I will implement this one asap. Approach each page with wonder – I will wonder less about its potential quality and wonder more about what it is teaching me about my writing, and about myself. Thank you.

    Cheers to an excellent year!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I went through a lot of disappointing “popcorn” books last year because I was too lazy to read anything else. Reaching for a classic novel in the midst of it was like that feeling you get after eating junk food all week and then finally eating a nourishing meal.

  29. I enjoyed reading your goals. I have been writing off and on since I was in grade school. I am now 75 and decided, if I’m ever going to get a novel published, I’d better get it done. So that’s my goal. I go to a particular coffee shop one day a week and write for two hours. Last week I was there two days and am going to work on making that a habit. Once that gets established I’ll be trying to add another day. I seem so be able to average about 1000 words in a two hour session. I’m up to around 30,000 words on this first draft. I have had some short stories published in anthologies. A novel is a totally different animal.

    One of the thoughts I had that allowed me to procrastinate was that, surely I could get it done after I retired. I failed to take into account that everything slows down as one gets older. I am noticing it more every year. So, those of you who are in your 20s and 30s, try to keep at it on a regular schedule. A lot of life happened to my in those years and i used that for an excuse also. A little late, I have learned that everyone has lots to do. Some people make the time anyway.

    The novel I’m working on isn’t exactly a first draft. It started out as a short story of about 5000 words that I thought was complete and ready to submit at the time. I’m not sure why i never did that. When I dug it up last year and read it over, I was glad I didn’t submit it. Still, I thought it had potential so I set out to rewrite it. Somewhere during that process it expanded.

    So wish me luck in the process of finishing the first and a half draft and the time to rewrite and edit and repeat a few times.

    I am encouraged by a friend who wrote her memoir about her experience of living in the middle of the Pacific side of WWII. She finally finished it and it went to press. She got to see the galleys but she never got to see the final published book. She was in her early nineties at the time. Because she did it, I have faith, at least, that it can be done.

  30. That was very inspirational. The line “The Story is the Teacher of Me.” Thank You very much.

  31. This made me smile. Katie, thank you for these candid, honest posts. Sending some positive vibes to help get you out of that “funk” 🙂

    I suggest visiting some state/national parks on your adventure drives!

  32. LaDonna K Ockinga says

    It is good to hear you taking care of yourself since your writing has been such a help to me. I identified with your reading change. I’ve come to the point where if I am not enjoying a book, I can stop and go on to something else rather than compulsively finishing every book I start. Take care of you. We need you.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      It’s a joy to continue to learn how to be less obsessive about life and instead just let it flow. 🙂

  33. My writing goals are to write at least one short story (microfiction, flash, whatever) every week and to finish my 7-book novella series. I’m currently revising book 1.

    Related to these, my main goal for this year is to be more selfish. That means telling people no when I don’t want to do something and taking more time for myself. I’ve found that if I don’t prioritize my writing, no one else will either. If I want to meet my writing goals, it’s up to me to make that happen.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Excellent! I love hearing about people getting better at boundaries. That has been a key are of growth for me as well.

  34. My goal is always to actually FIND TIME to write what I want. Life is way too overwhelming for too long, but I never give up hope. These goals and ;the way you analyze and approach them is as impressive as everything else you do, Katie. Thank you 🙂 You’re truly inspiring!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      As they, time is truly the only human currency. I hope you find that extra chunk of change. 😉

  35. Looks like you have outlined a fantastic year to come. I think your mom was totally right about thinking and its importance. I’ve been reading and watching videos about the transitional state our minds are in when we first wake and how we are most creative then. I would like to try to utalize that. Wake up and jot down those story ideas or use it for a work in progress or just to problem solve things in my life that need solutions. I definitely want to get more focused as its too easy for me to get distracted with this interesting thing and then the next and not get things done that I should be doing. Thank you for sharing your goals. I wish you well in achieving them and then some! It’s going to be a great year. 😎

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Yes, maybe come summer, I would like to transition to immediately writing after getting up. Right now, I’ve got some other things going on that are taking up most of processing power first thing in the day. But it would be great to start transition that directly into creative work.

  36. Cecilia Ohman says

    Most of the time I read your blogs this time I decided to listen to the podcast. I think you’re pretty amazing young woman! Thanks for the great advice I think you’re also correct in saying that most of these things are doable happy New Year, happy February!
    my goal this year for my writing is to spend more time writing and being more intentional about what I am reading I’m just going to keep it down to those two because I want to take an account of the best times ebb and flow so to speak of when I’m more inclined to write, last year I decided not to keep it so fixed and schedule like, this year I think I’m going to just see where the ideas take me.

  37. After reading your blog about new year’s resolutions, I wanted to share my own resolution for 2019 that I discovered on The Great British Baking Show. (As writers, we find inspiration in the weirdest places!) This past summer was one house-related disaster after another that began when my toilet exploded in late April and continued until September. I felt too traumatized to write, that somehow my mind and body had morphed into survival mode. Then, on PBS, I found The Great British Baking Show, and it became my new reality while I dealt with contractors and banks. My therapy began when one of the contestants nearly blew up a microwave. I laughed for the first time in months. Another failed to cool her mousse completely, and it sloughed off the cake plate onto the counter in a huge puddle, where it farted! I guffawed. The clincher came during bread week when a woman took her buns out of the oven and proudly slid them off the baking sheet onto the counter. Only those little suckers kept right on sliding, all the way across the butcher block counter, onto the floor!

    The resolve these twelve amateur chefs showed, their determination to “crack on,” no matter what, inspired me. After all, they’re doing what they love to do, what they were born to do. And that’s why (like you) I am resolved to crack on no matter how bleak and depressing the weather or the circumstance.

    I am resolved to crack on. To edit that novel, submit that short story, and refine that query letter…even with my buns on the floor.

    Thanks again for your words of wisdom.

    Caden St. Claire

  38. Casandra Merritt says

    Those sound like great goals. Best of luck with them! My goal right now is just to take a day off once in a while. It doesn’t hurt. When I get stuck, I like to ”write myself through it” by stating exactly what it is that I’m trying to accomplish.

  39. I’d have to say one of them is editing, since that is one thing I hate, though I like the part of coming up with an idea.

  40. Several of these resonated with me, particularly #5 & #8, which made me laugh because I am the same way. The idea of driving someplace new makes me nervous, which is crazy! I mean, it’s only a few miles! But it is important to get out there, not just to get things done but to expand the comfort zone. And even if it’s a harrowing experience, at least I did it. I came back a little stronger and more confident, and that’s good for everything in my life. Thanks for sharing, and for the encouragement. I’m also looking forward to your green post!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I’m someone who likes to plan things out and to know what I’m getting into before I get into it. But you can only plan insofar as you’ve already gathered information and experience to plan *with*! :p

  41. Hello Katie, it’s been a while I’m reading your blog, and this time I decided to comment. First, I just want you to know that I wanted to write stories as long as I can remember, I’ve been a long time learning the craft now, and your blog has been most helpful. Thanks to you, I feel confident enough to start outlining my first novel (which is my writing goal for this year). Really, I can’t thank you enough. Best of luck accomplishing your goals!
    (Sorry for any errors, English is not my first language)

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Thanks for commenting, Dayane! Great to hear the information has been useful. All the best with your writing!


  1. […] #3: Original title: My 9 Writing Goals for the New Year, K.M. Weiland, Helping Writers Become […]

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