2019 – Year of the Bardling. Has a kind of ring to it (or at least it does in my hopeful mind). Therefore, this post is more to keep myself accountable throughout the year. I have a number of things I would like to achieve, and well, how better to do it than to tell everyone IT’S GOING TO HAPPEN!
This time of year brings in all sorts of plans, and so far I’ve been hit up for SMART goals, New Year’s Resolutions, and my ‘word’ for 2019.
Having had SMART goals forced on me for years by the military (that is goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable/agreed upon, and Time-based) I tend to avoid them. My experience with them is that many of the criteria are given lip service only. That said, the concept of veering away from vague, highly subjective goals certainly has benefits, and there have been plenty of people who have benefited from variations of SMART goals.
As for New Year’s Resolutions, according to Business Insider, 80% of these goals fail by February. By February! A month in . . .and they have already failed. For writers aspiring to break into the professional market (i.e. ⇓this guy⇓), if we fail 80% of our goals, it can
be really damaging to self-confidence and motivation. I don’t have any issues with failing a goal if it is a tough one to get to and I’ve done all I can to get it, or if something unexpected has interrupted it, but somehow giving that label of ‘New Year’s Resolution’, goes another level – it sets people up to fail. So even though I have goals that happen to be set around the start of 2019, they are not New Year’s Resolution. In the same way they are specific, measurable, and time-based, then are not SMART goals.
The third one – my ‘word’ for the year- seems a relatively new one. I’ve come across the concept, though 2019 is the first time I’ve been asked for one. The problem is, when I see it, my mind automatically goes to one of the great poets of 1989.e third one – my ‘word’ for the year- seems a relatively new one. I’ve come across the concept, though 2019 is the first time I’ve been asked for one. The problem is, when I see it, my mind autoaiccally goes to one of the great poets of 1989.
But in all seriousness, from what I understand this is basically a theme for the year. Thankfully, I have many friends who love words, and one that is a fundamental supporter of almost any endeavour (and which I am stealing from previous leadership training) – synergy. The concept of every action supporting other actions in order to achieve a greater overall effect or desired end state. For me, that is being published. So without any further waffling -my goals:
Goal #1 – Complete final draft of Bardling (working title) and submit to my priority publisher/agent list (aka, the dream list) by 01 July 2019.
Pretty self-explanatory here. I can’t control whether I can get a deal, but I can complete and submit the manuscript to give myself a chance. After all, its pretty hard to get published without submitting!
Goal #2 – Attend at least three conventions.
I have two out of three picked out – Conflux, the annual Speculative Fiction convention in Canberra, and GenreCon in Brisbane. Both are at the back end of the year and provide opportunities for pitching, volunteering, networking and learning. Specifically, this gives me the opportunity to pitch Goal #1, and leaves flexibility as to which other convention to attend.
If nothing comes up, it’ll be Supanova to get some lessons on marketing and branding from some of the regular authors that attend. Again, its a networking opportunity (and if I happen to get an opportunity to cosplay, meet some celebs, or just generally geek out at everything, that’s a bonus!).
Goal #3 – Maintain a distinction average in my MLitt
Okay, I swear this is not a humble brag or anything like that. I failed plenty of attempted degrees when I was younger, and after my first two subjects, I’m pretty stoked to be sitting on a distinction at the moment, but I want to keep it up. I know academics probably aren’t a huge consideration for agents and publishers, but it still demonstrates an ability to write. Moreso, it forces me to engage with different genres. This semester is creative non-fiction. It might seem a little at odds with fantasy, but I have no doubt aspects of nonfiction style can make Barling a greater story, and bring more connection to the reader.
And well, that’s it. With those three goals, if they are achieved I should end the year with submission ongoing (or a deal. . .again, positive thinking!), building my network and skills, and running heading into a creative artefact of my choice (which WILL be speculative fiction this time!) which really, is a pretty good situation to be in. By all contributing to personal brand, skill development, and all driving towards the desired end state of getting published, they all follow the theme or ‘word’ of synergy. As for 2018 – tough year. Some good, some bad, but overall –