Setting Goals

Nancy J. Cohen
As we begin the new year, it’s time to set our writing goals for 2014. Although this is a popular topic, here’s my take on it. I divide things into two categories: Creative and Business Goals.


Under the Creative category, put your writing projects. Which story do you want to start? What book do you need to finish? Do you want to try something new and different? Have you started writing the synopsis for your WIP yet? Which projects have priority?

In the Business category, put down everything you need to do to bring those above projects to market. What steps do you need to take? How will you publicize your work? What new venture might you try that you haven’t done before (i.e. chats, podcasts, trailers, audio)?Or do you plan to accept the risks and lengthy learning process of self-publishing for the first time?


Here are my goals for 2014. Whatever I don’t finish this year will get put off until 2015. I envision finishing my current WIP, doing the edits for my next romance, and then taking some time off to launch my self-publishing work. Then I can think about what to write next.

Finish Peril by Ponytail, #12 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries.
Do the edits for Warrior Lord, #3 in the Drift Lords series, when I get them from my editor.
Proofread the galleys until this project is done and in production.
Complete edits on my original mystery that I’m hoping to self-publish.

Implement marketing plan for Hanging By A Hair, #11 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries due out in April.
Complete legal preparation for self-publishing enterprise.
Hire book cover designer and ebook formatter.
Self-Publish my writing instructional booklet in time for SleuthFest. Order postcards.
Consider print and audio versions of above.
Design marketing plan for Warrior Lord once I get a pub date.
Begin prep work for publishing my father’s book, a true adventure of his 1929 hitchhiking journey across the U.S. It’s one of those things on my bucket list.

What goals have you set for 2014? Are you trying anything different for the first time?


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9 thoughts on “Setting Goals

  1. My only real goal is to wrestle my WIP in progress to the mat by late spring. Have decided that writing the best book I have ever attempted is my priority this year. Everything else will just have to fall in place. Maybe this is foolish but my instincts are telling me it’s the right path.

  2. I am trying something new, something we’ve never discussed here at The Kill Zone. After a beta trial, I will do a post about it to let everyone know how it worked! (How’s that for building suspense, lol!)

    • I find that I get more done when I divide up my goals that way. These days, we’re running a business as much as we are writing. But it also depends on one’s publishing situation.

  3. I am trying to make it realistic. I want to say that I intend to be published (if I decide to self-publish, I go back and forth on whether to try traditional or self) by the end of the year. I have been trying to plot my first novel for months, and I keep hitting dead ends. So, I am reading JSB’s Plot and Structure hoping for the help I need. It is helping, a lot. So, my realistic goal is to finish the first draft by year’s end. Then, I will worry about publishing. I need to write the darn book first! 🙂

    • Maybe you need to write a synopsis first so you don’t keep getting stuck on the plot. And join your professional writing organizations so you can get help. I’d worry about how you are going to publish the work later, after it’s written.

  4. I am one chapter away from completing my first novel, a YA about a 2 brothers who discover a 400-year-old pirate sleeping under a bush in a city park. He wakes up to battle his nemesis only to discover that he must choose between saving the boys and their mom or defeat his foe once and for all. My goal is to complete the revisions and find a publisher — both exciting and nerve-wracking.

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