January, the traditional month where folks set some goals and a week later forget them, is only weeks away. Writers, however, tend to try to reach some lofty goals for a while longer, probably spurred on by the lingering caffeine high from NaNoWriMo.
Here’s the thing — goals should not be set in concrete. I know there are a lot of folks who would disagree with that, but hear me out.
As life and Internet surfing goes on, all of us are like information sponges. We learn new things all the time. That data and information is the foundation of our goal setting process. The problem is that the foundation is built on a giant pile of Jell-O, probably butterscotch because this is my article and I set the flavors.
Things change, sometimes on an hourly basis. A good example is the sudden shutdown of Cohesion Press back in November 2017. As far as anyone knew, they were doing great. Their business had expanded to offset printing instead of print-on-demand, and their novels could be found in brick and mortar bookstores. Their author stable was pretty deep with some decent talented horror writers.
Now, if one of my goals was to get published by Cohesion by the end of the year, and I had been polishing the manuscript to the point where I was about to click the submission button, what then? My goal is impossible. Should I just delete the Word document and try to find another publisher and write a new novel for them? Of course not.
My goals have to change with the new information. Cohesion is dead, rest in peace. At least they were up front and are working openly with their authors, returning the rights and figuring out what to do with those print runs sitting in their garages. My goal may shift to finding a good home for a novel that I spent months on. New data, new goals.
This happens across the entire industry, and it is imperative to keep up as best as you can. Shift your goals when you have some new information. If the sparkly vampire genre suddenly takes a dive, adjust your goals and maybe write a sparkling zombie tale. Zombie strippers! (Note: Been done and there’s even a graphic novel series. Really.)
So take all of the upcoming goal-setting with a grain of salt or a glass of single-malt. Feel free to set some goals, but be ready to take advantage of any new information that finds its way onto your computer monitor when you should be writing.