I’ve been inspired by the incredibly dedicated and hard working YA author Holden Sheppard to set myself some goals for 2022.
I know it might seem a bit of a fruitless task when everything seems so bleak at the moment, but I’m surprised by how much I achieved during the complete bin fire that was 2021. I know that there are still plenty of things I can do while the world is burning down around me because I’ve done it before.
2020 was the year that I tried to get serious about writing and began work on my current WIP.
Most of that writing was pretty crap, but the idea for the story and the characters were good. The most important thing for me is that I persisted with it. I did ok, writing wise, considering everything else that happened that year. It was also the year that I realised how much I needed to learn and made the decision to study a master of writing.
2021 was my first year studying writing full time. All I wanted to do was learn, pass all of my subjects, and continue writing my book.
Despite completing a sixth lockdown here in Victoria and some really shitty personal stuff, I won. I passed all of my subjects, improved exponentially as a writer and researcher, wrote and edited four chapters to a high standard, and completed many drafts, short stories, poems, scenes, discussion board posts, etc.
I also learned so much last year about how I like to do things. How I like to write, what I like to write about, what I think about other people’s writing, and (most importantly) what I want my relationships with other people to look and feel like.
I feel so much more confidence now about sticking with what works for me and ignoring all the rest. I don’t have time anymore for anybody or any writing mandate that makes me feel uncomfortable.
For example: I’m a slow writer who doesn’t benefit from counting words every day. I do like to edit my work as a I go and have developed a good process for this. I despise sharing a first draft with anybody and see no benefit to it. And I don’t write every day. These are all things that someone on Twitter will say make me a bad writer, but I don’t care. I know how my process works and what suits me and that’s all that matters.
I do want to connect with my WIP every day, so this is goal number one.
Goal 1: Connect with my WIP every day
Writing, drafting, planning, researching, reading, thinking about it, talking things over with friends all count here. Whinging about it on Twitter, not so much.
Goal 2: Finish my WIP
By ‘finish’ I mean finish to the point that I can start sending it to people. I can’t control whether this book will be published this year, but I can make sure that I put enough work into it so that it is ready to be read by other people.
I’ve already made some changes towards making this happen. I’ll be reducing my study load to make more time and I’ve begun work with an amazing writing and critique partner for extra support and motivation.
I know this WIP has good potential. I know a lot more about my writing strengths and weaknesses. All I need to do now is put in the time and finish writing the thing.
Goal 3: Write more short stories and start submitting them.
Goal 4: Write more book reviews and blog posts
I’ve been a terrible blogger lately and I have a huge backlog of book reviews to get through! I’m not going to set a strict target, but I will blog and review more regularly this year.
Goal 5: Exercise at least five days a week.
Gentle walks and yoga count! I have a tendency towards all or nothing exercise routines which has caused burnout or injury in one form or another for two years running. This year, I would like to try to be a little bit kinder to myself while still aiming for the five days minimum.
Goal 6: Be kinder to myself
I have a tendency towards perfectionism and being at university can really bring that out in the worst kinds of ways. I would like to be kinder to myself and the people around me this year by not beating myself up any time something doesn’t turn out perfectly.
I need to stop allowing perfect to be the enemy of good. There are only a handful of tasks in my life that need to be perfect. Good is fine for everything else.
Goal 7: Ask for what I need and want more often
I have a lot of trouble with this. It’s tied up with the perfectionism, as well as my childhood. I can’t help but view asking for help as a personal failure and asking for things that I want is extremely anxiety inducing.
Last year, I had to ask more help than ever, and do you know what? It was fine. I asked the right people for help in the right way, and they said yes and were very nice to me. 10/10 would do again. I just wish that I’d learned how to do that a long time ago.
This year, I’m going to start asking for things that I want more often and see what happens.
Goal 8: Spend as much time with friends in real life as I can
This is obviously dependent on things out of my control, but I actually did pretty well at this last year despite endless lockdowns. I’ll be doing my best to increase the time I spend with my friends this year and valuing our time together.
I know that 2022 is going to be full of challenges and that I might not always meet these goals. But I’m going to do everything in my control to actively work towards them every single week. I’m looking forward to getting back into a good routine as soon as holidays are finished here, and I can’t wait to see how far I progress this year.