Happy New Year! I hope I’m not too late with the warm wishes now that we’re already a week into 2020. It’s just the way the calendar worked out for when New Year’s fell and when I routinely publish.
This, being the first post of the year, is the one in which I set goals for the year ahead. Last week I reviewed the goals I set in last January’s version of this very post. I mentioned how one of my overall goals for the year quickly changed and I allowed myself a little time to sit back and see what work and projects I naturally gravitated toward when I had time for them again.
When I looked back at what I did and didn’t accomplish in 2019 it was clear that I jumped into writing projects that were fictional in nature or those relating to fiction in some way, but I hesitated and avoided most everything to do with design and development projects, writing and otherwise.
While I did make progress building a new site for myself and enjoyed the process, I could feel myself procrastinating often enough. It’s given me a lot to think about, more than I can work out in this post alone, but I’ll do my best to share where I am in my thinking.
First,, since I’ve been writing these goal setting posts for a long time, here are links to previous years, if you want to see how my goals have changed over time.
- My Goals for 2019—I Must Be Crazy To Think I Can Do This Much In One Year
- My Goals for 2018—Let’s Get Those Priorities In Order
- My Goals For 2017—It’s All About Creating Assets
- My Goals for 2016 — Reworking My Business Model
- My 2015 Goals—In the Middle Of A Transition
- My 2014 Goals — A Continuation Of Journey Started In 2013
- What I Want To Achieve In 2013
- My Goals for 2012
- The Year To Come: Looking Ahead To 2011
- Do You Have Goals For Your Business? (2010) Part II
- Looking Back At 2008 And Ahead To 2009 – Part II
- Looking Ahead In 2008
You can also find a similar list of review posts in my post from last week where I reviewed my goals from 2019.
The last few years I’ve been coming up with overarching goals or themes for the year. Last year I chose efficiency and spontaneity. I followed the latter, but quickly changed the former to simplicity.
I struggled to come up with words for this year’s overarching theme. I want to share more of my fiction writing in order to get some feedback and thought either sharing or feedback could work, but I wasn’t sure how either applied to this site.
I played around with words related to change and transition and thought since I have some decisions to make about this site that words like decision or clarity would work, but I wasn’t sure how they applied to my fiction writing.
Eventually it hit me that the word and overarching goal for the year should be momentum. Last year some unexpected things took up more of my time than I was aware would happen. It was all good, but the unexpectedness kept me from getting to a few planned projects, particularly around this site.
I think where fiction is concerned I built a lot of momentum toward my long term goals and I see no reason to deviate from the direction I’m already going. If anything I want to build on the momentum. I want to get out of the way and keep going as I have been.
I also thought it would make for another test. I’ll continue into 2020 the way I went out of 2019. I know what I need to work on early in the year and I’ll see what I’m drawn to after and use what I learn to make a few decisions for 2021 and beyond.
Of course I’m still setting some specific goals to take advantage of the momentum from last year that I want to carry me through this one. Here they are.
- Finish another round of draft and analysis
- Write/Publish more short stories
- Continue writing for new site (Newsletter/Notebook)
- Make a decision about writing design/development books
- Finish developing the site and launch it.
- Make a decision about what to do with this site.
You’ll notice I’m setting fewer specific goals and most are either continuations of the same goal from last year or a similar goal to one I completed. You can also see I have some thinking to do and decisions to make.
As with last year, the goals in this category are by far the most important to me and if I get nothing else done besides these, I’ll consider the year successful.
Write Another Draft and Continue the Editing Process
I worked with an editor this fall. I talked her through my draft and she’s offered feedback and suggestions. We’ve worked together to reshape the underlying story so I can write another draft that’s a little tighter than the previous one.
Last year’s draft was meant to be a bit meandering so I could discover a few things along the way. That meant I brought a lot back that didn’t belong and the draft needed to be shaped a little to get at the story inside.
I plan to spend the winter and maybe early spring writing the second draft after which it’ll be another round of analysis and shaping toward an eventual third draft. The last few years I’ve been converting the process I developed to write articles here into one that lets me write fiction. I’ve worked my way into the editing phase, with the publishing phase coming next.
Write and Publish Some Short Stories
Speaking of publishing, I’d like to work on a few short stories I’ve written the last couple of years and make them ready for publication. Where? I don’t know yet and it may end up being through the monthly newsletter I send out.
I’ll leave the goal a little vague in terms of specific numbers and where I publish, but the general idea is to incorporate more short story writing this year and to start sharing some of them.
My goals here are pretty much the same or very similar to those I listed under non-fiction last year.
Continue Writing for Newsletter and New Site
I’m pretty sure I’ll be good when it comes to the newsletter as I worked out a good rhythm for writing them last year. This year, and hopefully earlier than latter, I need to get a few months worth of content created for the site and then work out a rhythm to publish on the site regularly or semi-regularly.
Make a Decision About Writing Design/Development Books
So far I’ve been disappointed with the results of self-publishing through Amazon. I’ve admittedly done nothing to market the books I’ve published or promote myself in any way, but I was curious to see how they might sell without much intervention on my part. Not well it turns out.
That doesn’t mean it can’t work. Every month Amazon does send me a little money for the few books I’ve sold. It’s not too hard to think that with enough books and a little marketing effort on my part, I could set the wheel in motion to bring in a little money year over year. I also have ideas for at least a half dozen and more likely a dozen books I know I’m capable of writing.
I do have the beginnings of a series on SVG started and an idea for a book about developing design concepts. What I most need to do though is make a decision.
It’s a tough decision. The specific goal will be to decide if I think it’s worth the time and effort to write and publish books about design and development, though assuming the decision is to continue, I should probably try to write the next one.
My one goal here is to complete the goal from last year and finally launch the site. It’s really close and this will be one of the first things I plan to take on this year.
The majority of the time will be in creating the content for launch and building up the momentum so I can continue to publish regularly or semi-regularly throughout the year.
I won’t be able to have it all created in a week, so launch is still a couple of months away at best, but after writing the next draft of the novel, this will be my highest priority to start the year.
That brings me to this site and my one goal for the site in 2020 is to figure out what I want to do with it. Right now, I have little to no idea.
This past year was telling. I mentioned last week how I didn’t miss working on this site all year. I think it’s mainly that my interests have changed enough that I don’t automatically do the research involved to write what I would typically publish here. Research once fun, is now work, and work I need some kind of reward for doing.
I don’t see myself ever writing here to a weekly schedule like I did for years. At the same time I’ve put a lot into this site over the years and it seems silly not to take advantage of whatever it is I’ve built. It’s not like I have no interest in design and development. It’s just a different interest that isn’t necessarily aligned with what this site’s been for the last decade.
That signals change is in order, but what kind of change isn’t clear to me yet. Maybe it means I post occasionally when I have something to say or maybe it means having an idea for a book and sharing a series or two in the hopes of building anticipation for the book when it’s available for purchase.
I have some general ideas that I need to think through and fill in with details. I’ve put a lot of work into this site over the last 14 years or so and want to see it continue to live. The question is what’s the best way to put what’s already here to use so it’s valuable for both you and me in a way I can maintain in the future.
Ultimately my goal with this site for 2020 is to figure out what to do with it in 2021 and beyond. I’ll block out some time to write down my thoughts and keep thinking until I’ve reached a decision.
Again, my overarching goals this year are to continue with momentum from last year’s goals and to start sharing more of my fiction writing. I have a few goals from last year I still need to complete and some obvious next steps with most of the rest. The lone exception is this site, which needs me to make a few decisions more than anything.
As I ask every year, do you set and review your goals and if so do you find it helpful? I do. I don’t think it necessarily gets me to complete more of my goals each year, but it offers a big picture window of myself and what I really want as opposed to what I say I want.
Happy 2020 a week into the year. As always, I hope it’s a good year for both of us as well as everyone else on the planet.
Download a free sample from my book, Design Fundamentals.