thank you, next decade

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thank u, next decade

Welcome to 2020!

In whatever way you celebrate the new year, I would like to wish you a Happy New Year today. As you take time off to hang with family and bask in the holiday spirit, this day also
opens a new book in your life's collection, one that comes with its own anxieties about what the coming year--and coming decade--holds.

I'm here to remind you today of Edith Lovejoy Pierce's words: "The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day." So, thank you, 2019, but next. Not just 2020, but a new decade with new opportunities waiting to be harnessed. And what better way to tackle them than with new year goals?


As I do every year, I'll share with you a glimpse into the writing goals I'm setting for myself this year, and my tried-and-trusted 4-step method for setting them; a method that can be applied to anything.

  1. REFLECTION: In the last week of 2019, I pulled out my goals from January and crossed out what I achieved. What were my strengths, weaknesses? For those I didn't achieve, I reflected on why, and considered what I wanted to improve on / ditch / increase this year to do so.

  2. "SMART" IT UP: In setting the year's goals, I make sure they are--
    - Specific and Measurable (for instance, rather than “Complete next book”, I have “Complete a 120,000-word first draft of fantasy novel The Nameless Republic #2);
    - Achievable (When I say, "Write 4500 words weekly from August to December"), I need to know it's something I'm capable of achieving, and not just wishful thinking;
    - Relevant (Do I really need THIS goal right now?); and
    - Time-Bound (I always have a date of achievement, anything from “by 11:59pm of July 31, 2020” to “by the 2nd quarter of the year”).⁣

  3. DOCUMENT: A goal not written down is a thought, and likely to remain so. Writing goals is just as important as setting them. I use Sheets, but you can use anything from a notebook/journal to a wall chart. The key is to have something to reference and take stock in January 2020.⁣

  4. MAKE A PERSONAL MISSION / VISION STATEMENT (IF YOU CAN): This is especially important as I begin a new decade. I learned this trick during my stint in nonprofit: I try to coalesce all my year’s goals into one “mission” sentence for 2020, and then a "vision" for the next 10 years (which helps ground my 1-5-10-year career plan, something for another day). I keep the statements simple and concise, easily recalled.
    - My formula for a mission is: “I want to do/be/achieve [x] by/before [y].”
    - For “vision”: I describe what my success looks like by 2029, then work back to 2020 and ask what I need to be doing/achieving this year to reach that vision by then.
    Once the year/decade gets rolling, juggling so many goals becomes difficult. Mission/vision statements help keep them tamed. Making a sticker of it on your laptop, wall or desk as a sightly reminder helps keep you on course.

Wanna see my final output? Scroll on!

2020 GOALS (at least some of them, haha)

*Unless otherwise stated, the year's goals are time-bound for achievement on December 31

Vision (2029): Success in 5 snapshots: international recognition; book + media sales sufficient to live on; 1+ award or bestseller status; teaching writing in some form; continue to write what I enjoy.

Mission (2020): Set off authorial career with 3 books, total (written/sold /submitted/published)

  • Complete a 120K-word first draft of Book #2 of The Nameless Republic series by Dec 31

  • Complete 95K words of *secret* new novel (or David Mogo #2, who knows, lol) between spring and summer.

  • Write 4500 new words weekly @ 2 points in the year: April-June and August-December. Do this by cementing morning writing ritual of writing 650 words for 1.5 hours every day in those months.

  • Read 25-30 new books, with at least a quarter outside of fiction, and up to half outside SFF

  • Appear/Guest-Speak at 3-5+ events

  • Attend (or create for myself) at least 1 writing retreat/residency

  • Complete a comprehensive, actionable author/book promotion plan by May.

  • Buy a bike and learn to ride it (already bought the bike, ha!)

I hope this starts you on your decade's journey. If this has helped you in any way, you can sign up for this newsletter (if you haven't already) for more news and tips, share this with your friends (links below), support me on Patreon, or just reply to this email and say hi. I'm always happy to hear from you.

Isẹlogbe! (Happy New Year!)

- Suyi.