7 writing goals for my 29th year
Updated: May 25
This week, I entered the last year of my 20s. In general, I am very okay with getting older. I often say that I’m just aging into my personality, but there are certainly some things I want (and wanted) to accomplish by the time I reached certain ages. With my 29th birthday, I’m thinking long and hard about what I want to finish by the time I’m 30, and the way I want my life to look and feel by this time next year.
As I’ve said about New Year’s resolutions before, I’m not a huge fan of big sweeping resolutions. I still very much make goals, however, especially in my writing life. In general, I’m a person who thrives on an external deadline. That’s part of the reason I genuinely loved school and why I miss the structured accountability of my college writing work. Because I know I do better with concrete deadlines, I’m setting them for myself in my 29th year and I’m telling you, dear reader, to give myself some outside pressure.
So, without further ado, here are the writing goals I’d like to accomplish by my 30th birthday:
Finish my dang novel draft by the end of June 2022: I’ve been nearly done with it for too long now and I keep getting waylaid. It’s time to buckle down and finish it. We move into a new house at the end of June, so that’s my deadline. My new office space will be where I get to edit (again).
Complete edits and send the draft to my writing group buddies by mid-August 2022: I think, given the amount of editing and restructuring I’m already doing during this current draft, one month to edit again and hand it over to my hope*writers group should be manageable. (You hear that, fiction writer friends? Remind me on our Monday night calls!)
Complete rough draft of my next book by the end of November 2022: I already have an idea and some rough outlining done (hint: it has to do with a 1970s cult and I am excited about it), so pushing through and getting it drafted shouldn’t be too much and will give me something to do while my writing group friends work on beta reading my other novel. Plus, finishing by the end of November will align with NaNoWriMo and give me an extra push.
Submit/pitch at least three articles or stories to publications by my next birthday: It’s been a while since I’ve added to my rejection collection (the file of rejection letters every author accumulates over their careers) and it’s time to change that. I’d like to submit a mix of creative nonfiction to food publications and stories to literary journals. I expect, after I submit a couple, I’ll end up doing more than three, but it’s a start.
Polish the first novel and get querying materials ready by January 2023: Once my writing group friends (and husband) have had a chance to tear it apart, I’ll rebuild my novel and begin working on my query letter, synopsis, and polishing my draft (especially the first chapter). I want to be actively ready to query agents by early next year.
Attend one in-person writing workshop or class by February 2023: The university near our soon-to-be town and the state’s writing association often host workshops that are open to the public for reasonable prices. I’ve got my eye on one that’s happening at the end of July, but if that doesn’t work out, I’d at least like to go to one by early next year.
Consistently publish my nonfiction work here and on social media (ongoing): The blog has been a great exercise for me and I hope to continue to grow it in my 29th year. Additionally, I’m going to consistently post more on my Instagram page (once a week) and engage with readers and fellow writers there on a more regular basis.
Now, each of these goals could probably be broken into 5-10 smaller tasks, but having the set “big” deadlines will help me plan my time. Another thing you might have noticed is that none of my goals have to do with numbers or actually publishing. This is simply because I can’t control those things and therefore making them goals sets unrealistic expectations. Do I hope my pitched articles and stories will get published? Of course! I just don’t want to make it my goal since that decision is out of my hands.
If you see me slacking on these goals, I give you full permission to pester me about it. In fact, I would love it if you’d check in on me–and I’d be happy to do the same with you if you have some big goals for your year.
Do you set yourself goals at your birthday? What are your writing goals for this next year of your life?