Writers: What are Your Year-End Goals for 2011?

Hard to believe, isn’t it? All of a sudden, there is just one month left to get our freelance writing work done and billed before the New Year dawns.

In Freelance Writers Den, we have a forum where members “weigh in” each month and talk about their goals. Then they come back at month-end and discuss what got done, and set new goals for the coming month.

It’s a simple exercise.

It’s also one of the most powerful methods I’ve discovered for keeping your writing goals on track.

Stating your goals to a group tends to create accountability. You don’t want to let people down, so you get it done.

December is always a tough month for productivity, too, with the holidays and school breaks.

Personally, I’m contemplating taking my family on a 3,000-mile road trip and trying to work a bit along the way on a laptop, getting work done on two articles and three book chapters. Wish me luck on that.

As we approach the end of the year, in an effort to help everyone stay on track with their freelance-writing income goals, I’d like to offer a weigh-in opportunity to everyone who reads this blog.

What are your goals?

Leave a comment and tell us:

  • What did you get done this year? What accomplishments made you most proud?
  • What remains undone that you hope to complete before year-end?
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29 comments on “Writers: What are Your Year-End Goals for 2011?
  1. Beti Spangel says:

    My accomplishments for 2011 were having the time and brainpower to have two articles published, getting serious about my blog, and… drumroll, please… FINALLY, after a year and a half of handwringing about doing it, approaching my boss about cutting down to three days a week! This was HUGE for me!! When I gave her my proposal, she said, “Sure, we can do that.” Insert Homer Simpson “DOH!” slap on the forehead here. Seriously, though, it took the right combination of having reduced personal expenses, getting hubby on board, and getting serious about my craft for it to be the right time to do this. After we wrap up this calendar year, we will be looking for our two-day a week part-timer.

    My goals for 2012, therefore, are to send out a minimum of a query a week; sell a minimum of six pieces; enter a contest a month (I love ’em, especially for short fiction); and outline my Great American Novel.

  2. Hi Carol, my goals are to self publish. Very excited about it. I also want to get published on print, and one of my articles is being sought out by Cengage for a college anthology called Viewpoints. They’re publishing 4000 copies of it and it goes for $25 a book. Here’s my question: I wrote it and published it on a woman’s organization for which I am Board of Directors. The founder of the org hasn’t said so, but I think she wants the proceeds for it because it’s posted on her site. She asked us all to consider a policy as to how we should handle it when work published on the blog is offered “real” publication. She says that since she is founder, when one of her pieces was offered print publication, the money went to the org. My gut instinct tells me that even though I wrote this piece and published it on our org site, the piece is still my property. Is this right? How should I handle it?

    I really respect your opinion since you know the ins and outs of this business, and I’m thinking that you could use this as a blog piece.

    Thanks for your advice, if any.

    • Carol Tice says:

      Dunno…what’s your contract say? If you don’t have one, you’re in a big legal gray area and would probably have to sue if you wanted some additional publication rights to the piece. Or you could take the POV that THEY don’t have any rights, reprint it on a contract that pays you, and let them sue you.

      If you have a contract, you have the rights it specifies.

  3. Josh Sarz says:

    Got lots of goals Carol. Mostly with my big project, but it’s going to take a lot of time to do everything. And doing all of them while my blog is in “construction” mode. 🙂
    Josh Sarz recently posted…No Posts Were Found!My Profile

  4. My overall goal is simple: To make a living writing. I will spend this weekend making more specific goals about how to do this. Working on a marketing plan and how to get more and better paying clients.
    Clara Mathews recently posted…My Favorite Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals for TechiesMy Profile

  5. Lisa says:

    I’m proud that I was finally published in a national magazine this month, Triumph, an American Cancer Society publication for top donors. This will increase my exposure all over the country and allow me to pitch to editors as a writer with national mag experience. That’s vital to get published in mags such as Men’s Health.

    How did I do this? Pitched a story to an editor who wasn’t really interested over a year ago. I got his name from a former co-worker who owed me a favor. Although the editor wasn’t interested back then, he saw my talent and asked me to write an article earlier this year. The best part is I was paid $1 per word, the going rate for national mags.

    I still need to find an agent for a biography about an extraordinary woman who had five types of cancer but used her sense of humor and faith to live 25 years after her first diagnosis. She was always helping other survivors and university students and never took much time to feel sorry for herself. She’s a role model for anyone facing cancer.

    To meet that goal, my plan is to send out at least three queries to agents per week. I am determined that God intends this book to be published. With His help, I know that anything is possible.

    Thanks, Carol, for this venue and the encouragement you give us all year!
    Lisa recently posted…Do left-handers and women with large breasts have greater cancer risk?My Profile

  6. Bob says:

    My goal is revamping my business to create more time for personal writing rather than client, blogging, and reviews. Another goal is to keep a schedule of posting, marketing, and social media to become more organized and up to date.

    I will be submitting articles to magazines to increase my writing reputation.

    I now have the perfect title for my nonfiction book and will be working on getting it finished, edited, and published.

    I also plan on spending more time on learning more and applying my marketing skills to better use.

  7. Carol,

    Quite right about stating your goals to people who can hold you accountable. But it only works if you are truly part of the community.

    I’m new here so until I become known, I will remain invisible and therefore not held to account.

    Having said that I have two goals for the end of the year. The first is to finish 50 Writing Tools by Roy Peter Clark. I read one a day so that I can digest and apply what I have learnt. The second is write 10000 words by the end of the month. May not sound much to some but fitting in 5000 words in a month is tough at the moment.
    Chris Richards – Mindnod.com recently posted…What everybody ought to know about motivationMy Profile

    • Dana says:

      What did you get done this year? What accomplishments made you most proud?

      I posted a Mixis fashion doll guide on ebay – that’s the first guide on that doll series.

      What remains undone that you hope to complete before year-end?

      Attend a local writing group meeting.
      Create a writer website or blog.
      Sell writing.
      Set schedule to write

      Thanks for helping me to “think” this out.

      Dana recently posted…Wee Roddy Wrestler … Love His BagpipesMy Profile

      • Carol Tice says:

        Great list! I’d put creating the website at the top of it — you’re really no one as a professional writer today without a decent-looking site with your clips on it. Hard to compete for the better-paying gigs without a site. I believe you just can’t be taken seriously.

  8. Ahlam says:

    Carol! Good luck with the the road trip, I took my kids on a 1,000 mile road trip over Thanksgiving break and it was wonderful. However, I couldn’t imagine getting any work done! This year has definitely been one of massive learning. For 2012, I hope to implement what I’ve learned and take this freelance writing thing to the next level. (Wish me luck with that!).
    Ahlam recently posted…5 Paralyzing Factors Keeping You from SuccessMy Profile

  9. I meet my financial goals for the year (yea!) and manged to diversity my client base so the loss of one client would not be disastrous. I also launched my new website (www.CandaceSchuler.com) after a way-too-long delay.

    For next year, my goals are to: 1) learn to use Twitter and Facebook effectively (which means starting from square one – drat!) and 2) invest the time and money necessary to convert my backlist titles for e-publication on Kindle, the Nook, et. al.

    I’d like to add “start a blog” to that list but there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

  10. Gayla Grace says:

    I published my first e-book this year, “Thriving at the Holidays: A Stepparent’s Guide to Success” available on Amazon and B&N. I’m currently working on my writing goals for next year – I’ve been able to focus more time on my writing so I’m excited to see what I can do next year. Thank you for your encouragement.

  11. Two of my 2012 goals:

    Keep on schedule and on track; because of my client work, some (OK, a lot) of the personal/marketing stuff gets pushed back. For example, I ALWAYS make my clients’ deadlines, but then I look to see that I haven’t posted on my own blogs/written marketing articles for a month!

    Get our first two ebooks published before the end of 2011. Somehow. They are mostly written, but all of the rest of the associated tasks need to be completed.

    I’m afraid to say that I have *enough* clients–even though I’m booked solid–because that may put bad vibes into the ether and I’ll get a lot of emails firing me!
    WritingItRightForYou recently posted…NaBloPoMo Day 4My Profile

  12. One thing I really need to do this month is begin drafting my marketing plan for the new year. I’ve definitely found that working ahead is definitely beneficial when it comes to marketing.

    I’d also like to book one or two more clients this month.

    Lastly, I want to blog ahead. I would love to write all the blog posts I plan to publish in January done this month.

  13. Ronda Swaney says:

    My goal was to hit a six-figure income. I didn’t quite make it but I came darn close. I also have one client who makes up far too much of my income stream. So the goal for the rest of this year and all of 2012 is to significantly add to my client base. Also, after attending this week’s Writer’s Den Bootcamp on social media, I know I need to focus on exploring all the potential that Twitter and LinkedIn offer. I’ve dipped my toes into the social media pool, but I guess it’s time to just dive in.

    • Cathie Ericson says:

      I love the concept of publicly stating your goals! 90% of my writing is for public relations clients as part of campaigns. Thanks to this blog and a few LinkedIn groups, I have seen the potential for other types of writing and I am going to more actively pursue differentiation next year.

      • Carol Tice says:

        Cool! I’m loving seeing everyone’s goals. Too few writers don’t even have their goals crystallized, and then of course your odds of getting where you want to go are pretty slim!

    • Lisa says:

      Wow, a six-figure income in this economy? What a wonderful goal! What do you write and who do you write for? I’d love to read any suggestions you have on how you became so successful. Did you start out in journalism? I did, and that’s helped immensely. I’ll check out your website!
      Lisa recently posted…Do left-handers and women with large breasts have greater cancer risk?My Profile

      • Carol Tice says:

        To me you need to earn six figures or close to it to make it worthwhile (and to pay for healthcare in the US!). I think I narrowly missed last year and made it this year…that’s what my projection on my Freshbooks tells me.

        It’s pretty simple Lisa — write the tough stuff. Stuff not every writer and wannabe writer and writer in the Third World can write. If you scroll back to yesterday’s post, read Peter Bowerman’s link there — explains exactly how to do it.

      • Ronda Swaney says:

        Hi, Lisa,
        Yes, it’s exactly like Carol says…you need to do the writing/work that not everyone else can do. My main field is tech, which not that many people go in to. For my largest clients, I do tech editing. I also do image editing on their graphics, so for them, I’m a two-for-one deal. I prefer writing work, but I always focus on areas where the best pay can be found.