Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I'm back again after a week or so away from my desk, refreshed and raring to go. Well, refreshed, anyway. Actually I'm still feeling quite good about writing and really looking forward to getting down to it again (a Christmas miracle if ever there was one) probably because I haven't done any for about ten days. To conclude my analogy from previous posts about writing and relationships, I'm a great believer in separate holidays for couples (and separate houses but that's another story!) and I think the same can work for writing. "Absence makes the heart grow fonder" and all that.    

My enthusiasm may also be to do with the fact that, much to most people's surprise, January is my favourite month and I would even go so far as to say that January 1st is my favourite day of the year. (Apart from January 1st 2010 that is, when I went down with gastric 'flu but that's definitely another story.)

As well as Christmas being over (hoorah!) which means I can finally bring out my favourite phrase "Normal service resumes", I love that "blank canvas" feeling you get at the start of a new year. All those pristine empty spaces in your diary and that sense of anticipation and excitement as you wonder what lies ahead.

And then there are New Year resolutions. Ah yes, New Year resolutions. It may only be January 4th but I'm prepared to bet that there are quite a few of you who have already "fallen off the wagon" when it comes to NYR. I would almost certainly be guilty of that myself which is why I decided some years ago to stop making any. Instead I set (and write down) Year Goals for the different areas of my life namely health, career, finance, personal situation, personal development, self-image and relationships. This works better for me than making resolutions and last year I achieved eleven out of my twelve Year Goals.

January is also a good time for setting writing goals. I actually set mine in September (don't ask!) but just before Christmas, in an effort to try and get myself back on track, I followed the advice in Kelly L. Stone's book Living Write and set some long-term writing goals (she suggests setting twenty year goals but I've gone for twelve) or a "Vision of Success Plus" as Stone calls it.

So, here are the writing goals I hope to have achieved by January 2024. If you're still reading this blog by then, feel free to leave a comment asking me how I did!

1. To have had my life story The Emptiness at the Edge of the World published.
2. To have had at least one other non-fiction book published.
3. To have had over 200 articles published. (12 to go!)
4. To have had a full length feature published in a glossy women's magazine. (Sadly I'm too late for She.)    
5. To have completed 12 children's novels.
6. To have had over 20 short stories published. (Quite a few to go!)
7. To have won an award for one of my children's novels.
8. To have completed four collections of poetry.
9. To have had over 50 poems published in magazines and anthologies. (Not too many to go.)
10. To have won an award for one of my collections of poetry.

Wish me luck and do let me know what you are hoping to achieve by 2024 (or even 2013) as well!   


  1. Happy New Year, Melissa. Unlike you, I find it incredibly difficult to get going in January. By February it's normally better. I can't get beyond a year when setting writing (any) goals so I am full of admiration for your 12-year goals, some of which you are well on the way to achieving. I just wondered, why 12 rather than 10, which seems a rounder number? Not that it matters - it's what counts to you that's important.

    My goals, based on a shorter timeframe, are less ambitious and mostly amount to more of the same plus a couple of developmental ones. If I achieve half of them, I will be happy.

    Have a productive and successul year.

  2. Thanks Vanessa. It was quite hard setting long-term goals but easier if you think of it as what you will be most disappointed with if you don't achieve it, if that makes any sense. I chose twelve year goals as, in theory, that takes me to the age of 65 which seemed like a good point to "retire" although in practice I intend to keep writing until I drop! Have a great year yourself.

  3. Good luck with the resolutions, Melissa. Like you, I like the blank page feeling of January, but unlike you I don't make resolutions - I've broken too many in the past!

  4. Hi Jane. Thanks for dropping by. It's always good to hear from you. (And great photo, by the way!!) I was doing very well with January until I got ill so maybe February could be the beginning of the year instead? Have a great 2012.