2021 Writing Intentions and Goals

Hello again! Happy New Year and all that jazz! I pray your year is starting off on a good note and that 2021 will be a better year for all of us.

I wanted to publish this days ago, but between the violent, unsuccessful coup attempt last week, to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and my return to work after a (far too short) winter break, I struggled to sit down and think about what I want to accomplish this year. But I’m finally ready to reflect on my career goals for 2021. Here are my 2021 writing goals and intentions:

  • Publications, Baby!- The beginning of my year is front-loaded with places to submit to, most of them dream markets that I’d love to publish one of my short stories in. I submitted a short story nine times last year and unfortunately all of my submissions were rejected. This year I hope to submit more often and hopefully pick up some acceptances along the way. I know someone who aims for 100 rejections every year. I’m not sure I want to attempt a similar feat, but if I can submit to at least 50 different markets, I’ll feel accomplished.
  • Novella- In 2020, I decided to draft and edit a speculative novella. Of course my original plan didn’t work out like I intended and I’m still in the drafting phase. But I want to draft, edit and revise this manuscript by the fall. There’s a particular market I’d love to submit to and they’re open to submission around October and November. I’m new to this form and I’m trying to get a feel for the pacing in a novella compared to a short story or novel. If my first novella attempt is a success (i.e. not an incoherent mess that can’t be salvaged), then I’d love to write more novellas in the future.
  • Novel(s)- Towards the end of 2020, I accepted that I’m a novelist at heart. I loved novels as a child. They were my gateway into the writer’s world. I try to incorporate short story collections and novellas into my yearly reading. But I can never stray too far from a good novel. (In fact, I’m currently reading ‘Black Sun’ by Rebecca Roanhorse which I highly recommend!) At random moments throughout the year, I find myself drifting back to my YA novel and I entertain the idea of writing an epic fantasy. I plan to spend a month drafting my YA novel once again before doing some research and edits. My manuscript is far from being submission/query ready. But I’d love to have a draft ready by the start of 2022!
  • Build my writing community- As solitary and isolating as the writing life may seem, I thoroughly believe it’s important for writers to connect with each other. Not only does a writing community provide access to beta readers and editors, but a community is necessary to fight off frustrations and anxieties that crop up during the writing process. I’m part of a Saturday afternoon writing group and the group has helped me maintain a regular writing habit. I’d love to connect with more writers, particularly those that write in my genres.
  • Daily writing?- Writing is a skill. The more you practice it, the more you’ll grow. But life also gets in the way. I’d love to write every day, even if it’s for five minutes. I also know that burnout can occur if I don’t allow myself to rest. I can’t commit to writing every day, but I will commit to writing as often as I can. Maybe instead of daily writing, I’ll commit to writing five times a week for at least thirty minutes. I have so many story ideas I want to pursue and I want this year to be a ‘successful’ one, filled with submissions, acceptances, personal rejections and amazing drafts. I have to practice self-discipline and force myself to sit and write, even on the days when I want to nap.
Photograph of two pens, one inkwell, two stickers, one notecard and a notebook.
Writing is easier when I have some amazing fountain pens and inks!

I’m always optimistic at the start of a new year. No matter how tough 2020 was, I choose to hope and believe that 2021 will be better in its own way. And I choose to believe that with hard work and some courage, I will see my writing career flourish in unimaginable ways! Or at the very least, I’ll publish some fantastic short stories.

If you have any goals for this year, be sure to let me know in the comments!

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