Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I Resolve to Call Her Up...

I'm not the biggest Police fan in the world, but I always liked the lyrics to "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic." And the line "I resolved to call her up a thousand times a day" fit me pretty well when I was a teen resolved to not being stuck only with unrequited lust — though I was certainly familiar with it.

But as I grew older and wiser, bolder and wider, I recognized that I not only was capable of experiencing happiness, but also writing about it. So now that I'm a family man with responsibilities beyond the occasional blog post, I have gotten into the habit of writing down my resolutions.

Not everyone is a fan of resolutions and that's fine. I used to resolve to not make resolutions, and you might say I still do that: I write down my goals for the year, with target dates for achievement. I split them into work-related goals, personal and family goals, and writing goals.

I thought I'd share a couple here with you, and I'd love to hear what writing goals you have and are willing to share.

o Finish the first draft of my current novel in progress by 12/31/10. Right now, I'm at more than 25,000 words, which is probably about a quarter of the way to the goal. Not the ultimate goal for that particular novel, mind you, which I expect to clock in around 80,000 to 85,000 words. But I'm shooting for 100,000 in the first draft. From there, I'll need to revise. During my first edit of a manuscript, I try to trim about 10 percent of the words, which will hopefully account for the mess and repitition and all out crapola that's inevitable in first drafts. As Anne Lamott writes in Bird by Bird: All first drafts are shitty.

o Send at least one query out for my "completed" first novel by 6/30/10. This should be an easily attainable goal, but I'm a bit of a perfectionist (or maybe just a coward). In all seriousness, I made a conscious decision several months ago to not send any queries out in 2009. With my newborn daughters, I knew I'd have precious little time to spend on editing or revising the manuscript, and if I were lucky enough to get a healthy nibble on my hook, I'd be hard-pressed to reel it in with revisions while still feeding my girls and remaining married.

Ok, that's way too much about me. Please, let me know what you're shooting for in your writing in 2010. It doesn't have to be overly detailed. Maybe "Write every day," for example. Indeed, that's an excellent goal for any writer. I might just try that myself.

10 comments:

catwoods said...

Nice writing goals, Matt. I think they are more appropriate than resolutions. Resolutions seem so definite and rigid, while goals give me a warm fuzzy sense of accountabilty and motivation.

I resolve to write. Beyond that, I can't really answer. : )

Best wishes in reaching your goals. I'll hold you to them if you need help!

Jean said...

Mine: Get an agent. Simple. Right? ;)

Matt Sinclair said...

You both have excellent goals.

And feel free to hold me to mine. I'll do the best I can.

catwoods said...

I'll put out the whip whenever it is called for!

Matt Sinclair said...

Meow!

jmartinlibrarian said...

You have some focused, on target goals. Yay!
Moi? My goal is to learn and grow enough to write a book worth publishing. Vague, yeah. Heartfelt, absolutely!

Jemi Fraser said...

I like your goals Matt. I don't make resolutions, but I really want to polish up a couple of manuscripts this year. Send out a few queries too :)

Matt Sinclair said...

Thanks again, everyone. I was thinking of this post last night after I was able to squeeze a few hundred words into my work in progress on the train last night. Doing some math, I decided that a new goal, in keeping with these that I've listed, would be to write 9,000-10,000 words per month on the manuscript. As you Nano vets are no doubt aware, this isn't too strenuous an activity if you put your mind (and time) to it, but the results become quickly apparent as the months roll on. At that pace, I'd have my draft done by the summer and might even have a chance to give it a first edit before 2010 is done.

As President Kennedy famously said: "We choose to go to the moon in this decade, and do the other things."

Let's all shoot for the moon this decade guys!

Carolien Hagood said...

No matter how much older, wiser, bolder and wider I grow, I still love that same line from "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic." I hope you do finish your novel. From the writing of yours that I've perused here so far, I'd say it will be a keeper.

Matt Sinclair said...

That's extremely kind, thank you Caroline. I've only skimmed the surface of your blog (http://carolinehagood.typepad.com/ ), but it caught my attention. I'm happy to say I'm a new Twitter follower of yours as well as a new subscriber to your blog. Hopefully, 2010 will be a year of excellent, fruitful writing for all of us.