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As I mentioned in the last post, setting long-term goals is harder for me than setting short-term goals. Or, rather, setting goals for long projects is harder than setting goals for short projects. One of the reasons for that, I think, is that long projects don’t have deadlines.

I’m very deadline driven — if I know that a story for an anthology or an article for a magazine has to be in by a certain deadline, I work on it a little bit every other day or so and finish it a day or two before it’s due.

But a novel? A non-fiction proposal? There’s no one on the other end waiting. There’s no deadline. And, truthfully, even if there was one, I’m not sure I’d know how to space my work out in order to meet it. Which brings me (finally) to the what-for of this post: my goals for January.

I’ve made myself some deadlines, based on what I think I can do, and my schedule (which involves at least one trip to the East coast this month) and based on how long things might possibly take me. Of course, everything’s a wild guess at this point, so I expect a lot of adjusting and re-adjusting as we go along.

But for now, here are my deadlines:

  • Jan. 15: finish two anthology proposals
  • Jan. 31: finish at least one non-fiction proposal
  • Jan. 31: write and submit only one short story
  • Jan. 31: have novel 1 “planned” and submit first 5,000 words to my first reader

Here is my daily plan to achieve them (good for five days a week):

  • 1 hour proposals
  • 1 hour novel
  • No more than 1 hour email (if it takes less time, I can do creative)
  • 1 hour creative
  • 4 hours freelance/teaching/meetings, etc.

Now, couple of things:

  • You’ll notice that I don’t have any word counts as goals. Why is that? I’ve done word-count goals in the past and I find they make me write very fast, but not very well.
  • Also, I have a feeling that with most of these projects, the learning curve is going to be serious. So, I predict less writing in the early stages, and more organizing and planning.
  • Lastly, I’ve started keeping track of my hours for a number of my freelance projects this year, so it seems like a simple way to keep myself on track creatively as well.
  • You’ll also notice that I only gave myself 4 hours for my freelance work. No, this is not possible. I can’t finish all the freelance work that I have in 4 hours a day. But what it does is makes me get the other stuff out of the way, and I know I’ll always do the freelance work because it has deadlines!

Okay, let’s see how tomorrow goes…of course, I’ll give you the goods as soon as I get through the day.