2021 was an interesting year. I achieved some goals and failed spectacularly at others, but all in all, when the year ended I was pleased to find that I’d failed forward!

A large part of that forward motion is due to my yearly review in late December and the goals I put in place for the coming year. Stretch goals, not easy ones. Goals I’ll have to work to achieve, but goals that will carry me forward even if I fail to meet all of them. And I’m realistic enough to know that some of them won’t be met.

An important part of this process is recognizing what is and is not a goal. I’m not talking about resolutions. Everyone makes those in early January … and most people have forgotten what they were by February or March. I’m talking about really, truly GOALS.

I like to use S.M.A.R.T. goals, which are, by definition:

  • Specific: Goals need to be specific, not some loose, vague, impossible to quantify statement. “I will write better this year″ is not a specific goal. “I will write 2,000 words a day” qualifies.
  • Measurable: Goals need to be measurable. Again, a concrete goal is far better than an amorphous wish. You need to know whether or not you achieved it! “I will write for 45 minutes a day” is a measurable goal.
  • Achievable: Goals need to be reasonable and achievable. Don’t set yourself up for failure by shooting for the moon. “I will complete the first draft of my 90,000 word novel in 6 months″ is much more achievable than “I will write a 90,000 word novel in January.” Also, as I mentioned above, make sure your goals are within your control. “I will write the first draft of my novel” is achievable and within your control. “I will become a NY Times bestselling author” is not.
  • Realistic: Goals need to be realistic. Evaluate your time and your lifestyle. Be honest with yourself. Set goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, and realistic for who you are and how you live.
  • Time-Bound: Goals need to have a time frame. Lots of people dream of writing a novel…someday. But without a deadline, a time pressure, there’s no reason to do anything today. Put a date on your goal and then get started on it today. When you reach the specified date, you’ll know whether or not you accomplished your goal.

One of my goals for 2021 was to publish 18 new titles. I write under two names for two very different audiences: Debbie Mumford writes speculative fiction, often with romantic elements, for grown-ups, and Deb Logan writes contemporary fantasy and science fiction for middle grade and teen readers, so my actual goal read something like this: “During 2021 I will publish one title a month as Debbie Mumford and one title every other month as Deb Logan.“

That qualified as a SMART goal. It was specific – one title (short story, novella, novel, collection) for Debbie every single month and one for Deb every other month; it was measurable – at the end of the month, I knew whether or not I’d accomplished the task; it was achievable – I had a backlog of published stories where the rights had reverted to me plus a selection of new work that I was ready to release into the wild; it was realistic – I knew I could create the covers and run the manuscripts through Vellum (my formatting tool of choice) in a timely fashion; and it was time-bound – everything would happen during the 2021 calendar year.

I almost achieved that goal. The final breakdown for 2021 was 15 short stories (10 of Debbie’s + 5 of Deb’s), plus 2 anthology collections (both Debbie & Deb) which were also released in print and large print editions. Only a total of 17 titles, but I’m fine with that number!

Where I fell down, rather spectacularly, was in my production goals. I intended to write three novels and at least eleven short stories in 2021. This goal met all the SMART tests, but as I didn’t write any novels, the goal failed. I did write 14 short stories, and sold five to anthologies, so again, not a total loss.

One thing that I didn’t have a specific goal in mind for was to run a Kickstarter campaign. I did so with a goal of earning enough money to buy a batch of 100 ISBNs so that I could begin to move my major titles under my own publishing company (rather than continuing to use free ISBNs from distributors like KDP and D2D). My campaign funded! I bought the ISBNs and have begun the process of moving my titles to WDM Publishing. Goal accomplished!

So what’s in store for 2022? Recognizing that life happens (and boy, has Covid made that fact crystal clear!), I’m keeping my options open. But I will publish and I will write!

How about you? Have you mapped out your intended journey for 2022? I hope your destination will be grand and glorious. I’m sure I won’t end up exactly where I’m planning to go, but I’m positive the journey will be amazing!

About Debbie

Debbie Mumford specializes in fantasy and paranormal romance. She loves mythology and is especially fond of Celtic and Native American lore. She writes about faeries, dragons, and other fantasy creatures for adults as herself, and for tweens and young adults as Deb Logan.
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