Writing goals: 2011 wrap-up and 2012 goals

January 2nd, 2012

I took a look back at my writing goals for 2011 and I see that I didn’t accomplish a single one of them. I started the year intending to:

  • Write 52 new poems. How did I do? It’s possible, if I count all the jottings and rushed drafts that are clearly going nowhere, that I wrote 52 drafts in 2011, but I think the real count, still a bit generous, falls at 42.
  • Submit to 20 journals. How did I do? I sent out fifteen packages last year.
  • Attend a juried workshop. I didn’t attend a live workshop last year, but I workshopped twice on-line with Kim Addonizio and both workshops were amazing, challenging, and extraordinary helpful. I’m starting another eight week session with her on the ninth, and for anybody out there looking for an on-line poetry workshop that’s really going to kick your butt and be worth the money, Kim’s is it.
  • I wanted a contest ready chapbook by September, and here I fell furthest from the goal. Not even close. In fact, now I have two half-way chapbooks instead of one finished one because half-way through the year I started writing a series of poems on a theme.
  • Two blog posts a week. Also, no. I had 77 posts in 2011; twice a week would have been 104.
  • Read 52 poetry collections. I read 32 books for the first time and re-read some old favorites.

And yet I feel like it was, on balance, a good year. I got a lot done, even if I didn’t reach my target numbers on, well, anything. I learned a lot, had some mild successes, and got better at what I do. It feels like a win.

Not having a chapbook together is starting to sting; it seems like that’s something I should have put together by now. Maybe the problem lies in not knowing how to put a collection together; perhaps I’m trying too hard to have everything relate to a theme; perhaps I’m simply not ready to be thinking about collections yet. I don’t know. The chapbook goal, that’s the wild card every year.

My goals for 2012 are essentially the same:

  • Produce 52 decent drafts
  • Continue to strive for a daily writing practice
  • Post to my blog twice a week
  • Enter poems in one contest
  • Send out 20 packages
  • Participate in two writing workshops, either live or on-line
  • Finish the in progress chapbook (if only in terms of sheer number of poems). I’ll eliminate the requirement that it be “contest ready” but dang it, I want to finish this project at this point if only for the sake of finishing the project.
  • Build relationships with other writers

Watching the Small Boy at hockey practice is one of my greater joys; I love to watch him give his honest best, to work so hard. I tell him, honestly, to just keep doing what he’s doing. If he continues to work as hard as he does now, improvement will come and he’ll be fine. He’ll surely be ready for the next age group up when he ages out of Bambinis if he keeps doing what he’s doing. He’s vastly better than he was in September, and he was making really rapid progress until he was side-lined by his concussion. Just keep doing what you’re doing, I tell him, and you’ll be fine. That’s the ultimate goal, to be as clear-eyed about my own progress as I can be about his, as I’m trying to teach him to be about his own self.

Whenever Small Boy has to play a team he’s lost to before, I tell him: “That game is over. Today is today. You play today’s game.” I think that’s going to be my motto for the year.

5 Responses to “Writing goals: 2011 wrap-up and 2012 goals”

  1. jo(e) on January 2, 2012 1:50 pm

    That sounds like a productive year to me.

  2. Trish on January 3, 2012 3:18 am

    My friend Michelle has a novel approach to setting goals; you might like it. Here’s a link to her website, and her recent post about how her first year of going without goals went.


    I think, on balance, you’ve had a spectacularly successful year! And your blog is still one of my absolute favourites. Happy New Year!

  3. Jennifer on January 3, 2012 8:53 am

    Jo(e) – any and all productivity can be attributed to the fact that I’ve got both kids either in school or childcare one day a week.

    Trish, I’ll check out the link and happy new year!

  4. Elizabeth on January 5, 2012 1:11 pm

    I really enjoyed this post – it made me think a lot about how I set goals, and helped me feel a lot more positive about setting ambitious goals in light of mothering and etc.

    Go you!

  5. Andrea Beltran on December 31, 2012 12:57 am

    I have some time to myself tonight and was thinking about writing goals for 2013. Lo and behold, I do a Google search and your blog was the first to come up! How’s that for a small world? 😉

    I look forward to seeing your round-up for 2012 as well as your goals for 2013.

    Have a beautiful New Year! Andrea

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