Here's Day 2 of the #writerlyresolutions challenge! The prompt: to share one goal from 2017 that I did NOT achieve and what I learned from not achieving it.
Back in December 2016, I decided that if I was going to get an agent by June, that'd give me plenty of time to secure a book deal by the end of the year. Easy, right? If you get one, you get the other? I have to laugh at the sheer gall required to claim that I would get a book deal on my very first book, on the very first round of submissions, and within six months.
As it stands, my agent submitted my novel to seven editors in September. By October, we'd heard from three of them - all rejections, but with constructive feedback. As of this post, we're still waiting to hear back from the other four editors. My agent will nudge them after the new year and we'll see how that goes.
But, again, I did learn something from setting this goal, even if I didn't achieve it.
1. There's a difference between a goal and a hope. "Get a book deal by the end of the year" isn't a goal. There's very little I can do to make it happen. The book's already been written. I can't submit to editors directly - my agent does that. When and how quickly an editor reads the book and responds is completely out of my control. Instead of a goal, this is a hope. It's wishful thinking. An actual goal might be to go through two rounds of submissions with revisions in between each round - and actually, that is one of my goals for 2018. I can revise my novel at the beginning of the year, have my agent submit it to a new round of editors in the spring, revise in the summer, and submit again in the fall. This works as a goal because it is concrete and achievable. By achieving this goal, I increase my chances of realizing my hope - to get a book deal.
2. Sometimes not achieving a goal creates the space for new, exciting ideas to emerge that wouldn't have been possible otherwise. By not getting a book deal right away, I've had the time and space to consider different ways to revise my novel for a second round of submissions. Because I'm less attached to the book as it currently stands, I'm much more open to new ideas. I've got some ideas that I can already tell will make the book a better novel. If or when it finally does get published, it will be a more compelling story for the changes I'll be making.
That's it for this goal. But if you're curious about what other 2017 goals I had and whether or not I achieved them, R.R. Campbell and I discussed this and more during a podcast* to be released December 29! I'll post the link on this blog.
How about you, dear reader? What goals did you set for yourself last year that you DIDN'T achieve? Did you gain anything from not achieving them?
*The podcast is now available for a listen HERE.