January 14th, 2008

I'm a Goalie

This does not, of course, mean that I play soccer. As a writer (defined as “someone who plays with language”), I am modifying the meaning of the word to suit my needs, expressing my appreciation for goals. People who love food are foodies; I’m a goalie.


I started formulating my 2008 goals around Thanksgiving, and finished up somewhere south of New Year’s Eve. I wrestled a bit because my goal-setting habits lean toward “aim too high, get kinda frustrated when you miss, aim even higher to make up the difference, and eventually collapse in exhaustion.”


This year I wanted to try something different: setting goals I can actually achieve.


Queries provide the best example. When I at last determined that, hate them though I do, an increased query output would be likely to increase my assignment-landing-rate (which it absolutely did), I set myself a firm goal: 20 queries a month. And for a couple of years, I pretty much made that goal—or got darn close to it. (Not that there wasn’t cheating! I was sometimes perversely pleased to get a rejection, because then I could just send that query out again, rather than write a brand-new one!)


Last year, after landing a second editing gig in February, I wrote not one single query. And the guilt, she was heavy. But I don’t want to let my freelancing fade away, so I discussed with myself—at great length, over much coffee—what sort of query goal to set for this year. This year, when I am devoting myself utterly to pitching my MG (unless it’s YA) fantasy novel. And I have two editing gigs. Plus a life.


I settled on two queries.


As I am not a mathie, I will not attempt to calculate the dramatic percentage decrease in query letters this represents. As a goalie, I find it necessary to boast that I have already met my query goal for this month. And it felt really good, like running up a steep hill: I know it’s good for me, I know I should do it, it’s more painful than outsiders might suspect, and I hate it, but it’s over, and I feel fabulous about it. 

So how's by your goals? 

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