I sort of began the year with a set of goals for the coming year. By sort of, I mean I didn’t get around to posting them until the first of February.
They were ambitious but, I told myself, achievable.
Now the year is a little past half-gone, and the time of the Mid-Year introspection and self-review is upon us. (Okay, maybe it’s behind us for everyone else, and I’m just late to the party.)
And I see now that I should’ve taken the fact that the year was a month-gone before I was able to find the time to post my goals as an omen for how the rest of the year would go.
But reality has a way of, you know, being real, in spite of whatever spin you might like to put on it. It catches up with you. And, it turns out, you can’t make great things happen by the sheer force of optimism. So it is that I start this mid-year review a humbled man. So, let’s review the ways in which I have been humbled, and maybe contemplate, if I can, what humility has taught me?
1) Reading Goal – This is the one goal I set for myself that I still have a chance of achieving this year. My goal was to read 750,000 words worth of novel-length fiction this year. So far I’ve made it through somewhere just north of about 500,000 words, which means I’m closing in on 70% of my goal for the year. Not bad.
2) Write 1,750 words of fiction per week – Considering that I’m going on my 19th consecutive week, now, without a single word of fiction writing. Well… I certainly dropped the ball on that one, didn’t I? I have an excuse – a perfectly good excuse (i.e. the relatively recent introduction of infant V.R. into our lives) – but excuses are excuses. The fact is, the year is half-gone, and I’ve written scantly more than 3,000 words total. That’s over 4 weeks of the total 28 weeks so far. (And, if you do that math, that’s much less than 1,750 words in the weeks in which I did write.) So, basically, this is a goal that I’ve yet to come even close to meeting on any given individual week, and I’m way past exhausting my 14-week supply of “freebie” weeks. Even if the second half of the year recovers somewhat (current prognosis: not bloody likely), this goal would still merit an overall failing grade for the year.
3) Complete 2 Short Story First Drafts each less than 8,000 Words – As I stated in my original goals, I began this goal with a leg up. I’d already completed the majority of a first draft when the year turned. Well… I finished that first draft. And I haven’t written a word since. Still… in theory this goal is still within the realm of possibility. If things ease up at home (read: V.R. starts sleeping more regularly), I might be able to actually pull off a second first draft. Actually, it’s rather unlikely, but even if I can get a second first draft started, I’d consider this a goal mostly met. Or at least mostly enough to feel good about it.
4) Submit at least one completed and revised work to a professional market – Not gonna’ happen. 2013 is not going to be the year when I make my first professional short-fiction sale, nor even the year in which I get my work back out in the market. As mentioned above, I have one short fiction first draft ready. But I don’t see how I can get this fully critiqued and revised (through both an alpha and beta reader stage) in time to get it out to a market this year.
What Have I Learned?
I guess a few things. Namely: a new baby in the family is a bigger time commitment than I fully appreciated. I was in the middle of Grad School when B.T. came along. And his personality and V.R.’s personality have some differences. So while I thought I knew what to expect, I really didn’t. Fatherhood is an ongoing learning process, filled with many joys, many challenges, many triumphs, and the occasional failure of vision, foresight, planning, or patience.
Nor have I yet fully grasped the implications of my own writing process, the time and energy I really need to accomplish anything meaningful in my writing. Which means, simply put: as a writer, I’m not yet where I want to be, in terms of skill, talent, focus, and self-awareness. I’ve a long, long way to go before I’m the writer I want to be. And I doubt I’ll achieve anything significant in terms of publishing before I get a lot closer than I now am to that ever-receding, evanescent and evasive goal.
So now, I’d update my 2013 goals in a more formal manner but… I think the above self-examination will suffice. I’ll try to be more conscientious (and more realistic) in setting my 2014 goals when the time comes…