Posted by: devonellington | October 6, 2008

Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions: Questions for 2009

Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions for 2009

Note: For the past few years, a group of us have used these questions (GDRs) as a launch point for looking back at what we’ve done and mapping out a plan for the coming year. The questions should inspire you, not make you feel trapped. They can be transformed, added, subtracted, whatever works in your own personal plan.

I post the questions in Autumn. Anyone who wishes to post their answers on their own blogs usually posts the “looking back” portion, a wrap-up of the previous year’s questions, in December and the “looking forward” portion after January 1. Spending a few months rather than a few minutes on the questions helps focus on what you really want and need for your writing year.

Last year’s questions were more holistic and life-oriented. This year’s questions are more business-centric.

Lori, your post a few days ago lit the fire under my butt to get these done. Thank you.

Now, for the questions:

1. Looking back on the previous year, without consulting your notes or the GDRS for it, what stands out in your memory as a met goal that makes you feel positive about the future?

2. What did you find you needed to release, because, as the year progressed, it no longer worked to struggle towards it as a goal?

3. How has writing become more important in your life this past year?

4. How do you plan to move it up on the priority list this year? List three specific steps to make your writing more of a priority.

5. In terms of a living wage, what do you need to adjust in your writing output in order to achieve your wage-earning goals?

6. Do you still hang on to the fallacy that if you love to write, you don’t “deserve” to be paid a decent wage for it? List three steps to move past this block.

7. What large projects do you want to start this year?

8. What projects from the previous year do you need to complete? (Either first drafts, revisions, query letters)

9. What mix of smaller projects do you want to get into the pipeline this year?

10. How do you prioritize your projects? How do you shuffle them as your needs change?

11. What is your querying goal for the year? (IE, how many queries per week/month would you like to send out)?

12. What new area/genre are you willing to expand into/experiment in this year?

13. What is the greatest gift to your writing self you can give?

14. What do you need to renegotiate with other factions in your life to give yourself more writing time?

15. Decide on one writing risk for this year – be it a submission in a new genre, attending a conference, or trying something completely out of your comfort zone. Write about it, and set yourself a loose timeline to accomplish it.

16. What new and unique marketing arenas will you enter this year to promote both yourself and your work?

17. What do you need to do to enhance your self-esteem so you refer to yourself as “writer” FIRST when someone asks you to define yourself?

18. What kind of time commitment are you willing to make on a daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis to support your writing?

19. What other elements needs to balance with your writing? What happens when you feel unbalanced?

20. What contract are you willing to make with yourself to prevent writing from falling farther down on your priority list when “life gets in the way”?

21. How do your writing goals for the year fit into your dreams for the future?

22. What resolutions do you make to integrate your writing and the rest of your life?

23. How do these goals fit into your three year plan? Your five year plan? Your ten year plan?

24. Name one new non-writing element you plan to introduce into your life (and that might give you something new about which to write).

25. Name one non-writing element in your life that gets in the way of your writing that you commit to giving up or limiting and, instead, devote that time to writing.


  1. This is fantastic, Devon! I am all over this! There’s nothing like being accountable for ourselves to help us make progress!

  2. I love this and am going to have to go and have a good think.

    I shall definately be back though:)

  3. I’d like to join in this year, if I may.

  4. Sign me UP!!!! Thanks, Devon, these are great questions. I’m currently doing the homework for the Organize Your Writing Life forum [Muse2008 Conf.] next week. So– your post at the WEB is quite timely!

    Got this bookmarked and will address these after the conference.

  5. What perfect timing! As I approach retreat mode, this will be a perfect way to start… answer these and then get started.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Devon, Just wanted you to know, I linked your 25 questions on my blog and am bringing them on my writer’s retreat to ponder. Thanks again for posting them!

  7. Thank you, Devon, for sharing this. Lately I’ve been feeling more like a personal chef than a writer. Your list of questions is just the thing I need to make me feel like the writer I’ve always been.

    BTW, the first two cookbooks should be done in a year or less. Perhaps a little fiction is just what I need right now to feed my creativity.

  8. Do we post our GDRs in here too?

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