Posted by: devonellington | January 1, 2010

Goals, Dreams, Resolutions — Starting Point for 2010

Some people wonder what the difference is between a goal, a dream, and a resolution. I see them as three elements of our overall path. The following definitions are my definitions, ONE definition, not THE definition.

A GOAL is a tangible endpoint that feeds into more endpoints supporting your overall life. For instance, goals can include a daily writing quota, finishing or editing a work in progress, learning a new skill, taking a new risk, or creating and sticking to a fitness program that makes it easier for you to achieve your other goals.

A DREAM is something that seems a little further out of reach, and may need several cycles to achieve. It’s something you want, but are not necessarily sure how to get there. When you break dreams down into smaller goals and resolutions, you find a tangible path to reach them. Sometimes, as you evolve, you find the dream isn’t really what you want or need, and have to let it go.

A RESOLUTION is a promise you make to yourself in support of your goals and dreams, something that makes your life and the lives of those around you better, more fulfilled, and more supported.

Shall we start?

1. Look back on 2009 and write a few paragraphs about where you were at the beginning of the year, what changed over the course of the year, and where you are now.

I was cautiously optimistic at the beginning of 2009. 2009 was a challenge on many levels, as I have more daily care-giving to do for an elderly parent, more challenges on the scumbag landlord front, and made the choice, even in a recession, to take an honorable withdrawal from the wardrobe union and earn a living by my pen.

Although I wrote a lot, published a lot, and managed to earn a living, it was a struggle, and I let far too many projects slip by the wayside and go unfinished. It was a lack of time management on my part, trying to spread myself too thin, and being afraid to say no too often (unless it was a content mill, which was always a no).

2. What did you have to let go of or what did you choose to re-prioritize over the course of the year? Why? How do you feel those choices will serve you moving forward?

I let go of the safety net of working on Broadway in order to write full time. It was, and sometimes still is, terrifying. But it was entirely the right thing to do. I have no more excuses.

3. Where did you/do you feel stuck? What can you do to remove the obstacles that you feel held you back this year? Where do you need to ask for help in practical areas? Where do you need to re-manage and re-configure your time?

I feel out of balance between the business writing, the short projects, and the long projects. I need the short turnaround projects to keep the money flowing, but the long projects (pieces like novels) are my ultimate goal, and I can’t let those fall by the way side.

4. What couldn’t you have foreseen at the start of 2009 that took place, and how did it affect the rest of the year? How do you feel it will affect next year, if at all?

How much family care-taking I had to do. I also couldn’t have imagined what a positive difference dumping the PC and converting to Mac would have. People told me, but until I experienced it for myself, I couldn’t have imagined it.

If I can manage my time better this year, increase my output AND my quality, I’ll be back on track. I feel I’ve been a bit derailed in 2009.

5. Where did you choose not to be true to yourself? How will you avoid that next year?

I spent too much time on other people’s projects (because I was paid so to do ) and not enough on my own. I have to reconfigure my time so there’s more balance. I can’t lose the income, so I will continue to take in the work, but I have to achieve a better balance.

6. Looking ahead, where do you want to shift and hone your focus for the next year? Why?

More fiction, less business. That’s what I love. I don’t want to build a cash prison of business writing.

7. What are three practical steps you will take to do so?
–longer first morning writing session when I’m fresh.
–taking percolation time when I need it.
–taking on fewer business writing projects, but they will be bigger and pay more.

8. Where will you learn to say “no” when necessary?

I say “no” quite a bit. I think I have to learn to say “yes” to more socializing this year than I did last year.

9. On a piece of paper, head three columns. One is your overall goals for the coming year. The second is your financial goals for the coming year. The third lists your emotional/spiritual goals for the coming year. You don’t have to list them on the site, but take a look and see where these three lists are in alignment and where they are in conflict. What are three things you will do this year to align these lists?

Stay true to the writing.

10. List your goals for the overall year, and a couple of practical steps for each you can take to make them come true.

I’m not going to put up a specific project list here, because I’ve learned the hard way that the actual projects have to change depending upon opportunity.

But overall:
Continue submission process for those novels already out.
Get at least three of the WIPs out on submission.
Write first drafts of 3 new novels
2 novellas
6 short stories
The 3 commissioned plays
Whatever other plays I can manage to fit in
Re-design web sites and move hosts
Business writing as is necessary/interesting to pay the bills

11. List your dreams for the year, and a couple of practical steps for each you can take to make them come true.

Move (finish re-alining finances, house-hunt, move)
Take a pottery or painting class (find an affordable one that fits into the schedule)

12. List your resolutions for the year, and a couple of practical steps for each you can take to make them come true.

Continue the yoga/fitness regime
Stay true to my writing
Up the quality of the work, along with the quantity
Continue to expand my circle of friends and acquaintances to include people involved in many different professions.

13. How can those around you help support you achieve these?

I have to articulate what I need in order to do my work, so they can respect it. Most of the people around me are pretty good about it; I’m removing those who aren’t.

14. What was the scariest thing you attempted this year? How did it feel to put in the effort? How does this affect you as far as trying things out of your comfort zone moving forward?

Leaving Broadway was terrifying, but it was the right choice. I don’t yet know which risks I’ll take in 2010, but I do know of at least three novel ideas which are way, way, WAY out of what I usually write.

Feel free to share your own responses in the comments, or just use the questions to work on your own.

Tomorrow, I’ll post my To Do List for January.



  1. […] Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions for the coming year are up on the GDR site. Hop over, take a look, add your own if you like, or just use the questions for your own […]

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