Keeping It Real(istic) by Sydney Salter

When I first started writing, I set goals that were actually aspirations. Once I planned to finish a manuscript, sell that  manuscript, and win a major award--all within that particular calendar year. Obviously, I didn't understand how publishing works. Nor did I understand how goals work.

Now I know how to set realistic goals that are in my control. I can write a story, but I cannot make it my goal to sell that story to a major publisher. I can control submissions, but not the outcome of those submissions. 

Since no one is waiting for these unsold stories, I've learned how to make myself accountable. I keep a desk journal and record my weekly plans and daily achievements. I love the planner by Ink & Volt. You create yearly goals, monthly goals, weekly goals -- and there are prompts for reflection. I treat myself to a reward when I meet a goal, like a box of Legacy Chocolates

So did I meet my goals for 2023? Mostly.

I wrote the first draft that I wanted to write. I read a lot more (but not two presidential biographies).  I revised three manuscripts. I submitted and submitted, and I'm still waiting to hear about a few requests. I attended conferences and workshops, some more useful than others. I sent "just because" cards to my grown daughters. And I started swimming, and I loved it more than I ever imagined. I read a lot of poetry, but I didn't write any. 

Next week I'll be planning my goals for 2024. I aim to have ambitious but manageable writing goals. I will stretch myself, but also allow myself flexibility. I have asked my daughter to choose and wrap four small gifts for me to open when I meet my four big goals for the year. 

Wishing you a happy, productive and realistic 2024! The new year is full of possibilities! 


  1. Still, she perseveres comes to mind when reading this.

  2. I am totally doing your style of goal keeping in 2024.


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