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  • Writer's pictureJanette Johnson Melson

Bring on the New Year (But No Resolutions, Please)

As most of you know, I don’t like resolutions. I think it’s because of the bad reputation they have for very few people sticking with them. (Not the resolution’s fault, I know, but still . . .) As an author, though, I am a firm believer in goals. And the beginning of a new year is a great time to evaluate how I am doing with my current goals and to set some fresh ones. Let’s see how I’ve done with the goals I have set for myself since November 2017 when I first decided to make my writing a priority again.

Overarching Goal: Publish a Christian novel

Long-term goals: 

  • Traditionally publish my novel by the end of 2025

  • Self-publish by the end of 2028, if I haven’t been traditionally published by then


Short-term goals:

  • Go to first ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference

  • Get an agent interested in my novel

  • Enter First Impressions Contest

  • Improve as a writer

  • Write for at least one hour a day

  • Create a website

  • Start a blog

  • Create a newsletter

  • Join a critique group

  • Keep up with my website

  • Write a new blog entry every 4-6 weeks

  • Create a newsletter every 4-6 weeks

  • Go to second ACFW conference

  • Enter First Impressions Contest again

  • Write 2,800 words per week (approx. 400 per day) √

  • Finish half of rough draft (approx. 40,000 words) √

  • Finish rough draft of novel by Sept. 2020 (Happened July 2020) √

  • Enter Genesis Contest in March 2021

  • Read other Christian authors

  • Attend third ACFW conference

  • Attend fourth ACFW conference

  • Continue re-writing my novel to incorporate a major change in the storyline, which an agent believes (and I agree) will make it more marketable

  • Take the feedback I receive from the most recent contest I have entered and further improve my novel

  • With these new edits completed, enter the Genesis Contest for the second time in March 2022

  • Incorporate the feedback from the Genesis Contest into my edits

  • Complete first edit of entire novel by June

  • Complete final edit of novel by September 2023 (I missed this goal.)

  • Send proposals to at least two agents who have expressed interest in my novel.

  • Attend fifth ACFW conference, which will be in St. Louis

  • Write a short story, called a reader magnet, involving some of my novel’s characters, which I will provide as a freebie to my subscribers

  • Attend my sixth ACFW conference, which will be in St. Louis

  • Edit first thing every morning (I am accomplishing this most days.)


With regard to new goals for this year, I want to accomplish the following:

  • May 31 - Finish the line edits of my novel and send to my beta readers

  • July 25 – Host my third ACFW Georgia Writers’ Retreat

  • July 31 – Write at least one short story to gift to my readers

  • Aug. 15 – Complete the edits suggested by my beta readers

  • Sept. 5 – Attend seventh ACFW Conference (New Orleans)

  • Oct. 31 – Complete proposals and send out to publishers I have met at conferences

  • Dec. 31 – Complete proposals and send out to other publishers

Well, there you have it, folks. Those are my past and future goals. As you can see, I haven’t met all my goals, and some have changed. Now that I am no longer in the writing phase but am in the editing phase, my daily goal has changed from writing for an hour a day to editing first thing in the morning, regardless of how much I accomplish. I have discovered that works better for me. As I’ve stated in past blogs, setting the goals and working toward them is more important than whether you actually achieve all of them. Of course, if you’re never achieving any of your goals, you might need to rethink the goals you are setting. But if you’re reaching some of them and working toward most of them, you are succeeding. And I believe it’s a good idea to add new goals with the start of a new year. As C.S. Lewis said, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” So, keep dreaming, my friends, and so will I.

Love you bunches and boocoodles!

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