As the end of the year draws near, now’s a great opportunity to take stock of the year that was even as we look ahead to the new year. I’m a goal oriented person and as a function of trying to remain hungry and ambitious (since I know if I don’t stay that way, I won’t make any forward progress in my career as a writer), I like to set goals. I prefer to set goals rather than make resolutions. Resolutions are cheap promises that I’m prone to breaking at my earliest convenience. Goals are something to work toward.

Your goals should be measurable, meaningful, and attainable.  I don’t set benchmarks like “write X hours per day” because that’s not the way I write.  But I do measure myself by number of completed projects.  And because this is the internet, my goals for last year will remain forever.  So let’s see how well I did:

So my goals for next year? I need to do any revisions required for King Maker and King’s Justice as well as write King’s War. Currently, I have eight stories out and about searching for homes. I’d like to write a half dozen more. I have other novels I hope to write (one a collaboration, one an expansion on a short story). I’d still like to revise that screenplay. I have two novellas percolating in the back of my head). And I’d like to make a comic book pitch.

On the Complete Fail side of the ledger, I blew working on the screenplay, novellas, comic book pitch, and novelization of my short story.  And I fell short of my goal of a half dozen new short stories having completed only three, though one has already sold:  I Can Transform You (co-written with Jason Sizemore), The Cracker Trap, In Receipt of Fern Seed, The Problem of Trystan (sold to the anthology Hot and Steamy:  Tales of Steampunk Romance).

I try to keep a dozen short stories “out there” in search of homes.  Currently I’m at ten.

I also am not a slave to my goals.  It’s best to always allow for the unexpected and have the flexibility to grab opportunities when they come up.  Thus the ghost writing projects that I completed as well as work on the Leverage RPG.

For 2011, I want to challenge myself a little more to continue to capitalize on whatever career momentum I may be experiencing. I’m not the most disciplined of writers, so without realistic goals, I’d probably sit around and do nothing but blog and play being a writer on the Internet. So I plan to write half a dozen short stories, write my creative non-fiction take on the book of Hosea (co-written with Danny Carroll), write a book on urban ministry (with Bob Schultz), write a postapocalyptic novel (with Wrath James White), and finish Pimp My Airship:  The Novel.

I don’t include stories I take off the shelf, dust off, and attempt to breathe new life into or blogging/reviews in my goal list.  Those things just happen as I get inspired and typically happen when I’m taking breaks from other projects.  I also want to read more.  I may have only read seven books this year, and all of those were research for stories.

We make our own luck by being prepared when opportunities arise.  And writers finish things.  It’s the only way to reach our goals.

In short, my goal for 2011:  Plant ass in chair and write.