1. Write One Short Story a MonthI've been writing lots of short stories lately--partly because I've been a bit too distracted to focus on a new novel, and partly because I've had tons of ideas for them. I've written so many that I'm close to having enough for an anthology, especially if I keep going at this pace. I've written before about why writers should write short stories--they're great for experimenting with genres or exploring a character's backstory, and make fantastic writing exercises. By writing one short story a month, I hope to keep my skills sharp and have my anthology complete by the end of the year.
2. Write a Chapter of a Novel Every Month
I know this doesn't sound like much to many writers, but it's a realistic goal for me. I think one of the reasons I get more stuck on my novels than my short stories is that I get overwhelmed. Between working and parenting, I only have a very limited amount of writing time. Large word count goals don't work for me--they just keep me from writing at all. But one chapter at a time feels like a comfortable target I can make. Slow and steady:)
3. Submit Short Stories Regularly
While writing is necessary, I think it's also important for writers to regularly submit their work. In my case, I intend to submit my short stories to different magazines as often as I can. Regular submissions help me get my work out there--I might get plenty of rejection, but at least I've tried. Besides, lately editors have been sending me helpful feedback with their rejection notices, which helps me with revisions and future submissions.
4. Write a Hundred Blog Posts
I had this goal last year, and while I didn't make it, I did write considerably more posts this past year than I had the year before. So this year, I'll try again!
5. Write and Submit 10 Queries for Non-Fiction ArticlesI had good experiences writing non-fiction articles this year--I've had two articles accepted into Renaissance Magazine! Writing non-fiction gives me a chance to learn new things, which helps my fiction writing as well. What's more, it pays:) It's definitely different from fiction, but I enjoy writing it, and I think it also introduces me to a new audience. I made my goal writing non-fiction queries since most magazines prefer you query first before submitting an article.
6. Read Widely
I love to read, and I do think that you need to read regularly to be a good writer. This year I'd like to read widely, including authors I've never read before and less familiar genres.
7. Attend a Critique Group Twice a Month
I have a great critique group that's been really helpful to me, but with a busy schedule over the holidays I haven't had a chance to go as often as I'd like. I'm going to try and make a commitment to going at least twice a month.