Chip MacGregor

January 5, 2015

What will you do in the New Year?


Welcome to 2015, everyone. I know it’s already the 5th (Twelfthnight, if you’re into the old traditions), so you’ve enjoyed your Twelve Days of Christmas, you’ve opened presents, seen old friends and family, and toasted in the new year. Now it’s time to think hard about what you’re going to accomplish over the next twelve months.

I know what New Year’s resolutions can be like: a weight that you carry around for a few days, then let slip. Everyone who works in a gym will tell you that the first two weeks of a new year are always busy, then things start to get back to normal. You see, most people start the year with an idea that they want to do something different — exercise more, eat less, write more, drink less, contact old friends more, waste time on Facebook less… I’m the same way. I figure the start of a new year is a good time to clean the slate, pick some new goals, and get my life in focus.

The problem is that most of us tend to overestimate what we can do in one year (even if we underestimate what we could do in five, if we were to stay focused on our goals). So instead of setting some huge, life-changing goal for yourself in January, what if you had two or three big goals you wanted to get done over the course of the year? In other words, if you could accomplish just three things in 2015, what would they be? Would you finally complete that novel? Or run it by an good editor? Start that next book? Would you launch your new website? Or maybe you’re not going to start something — maybe this year you’re going to stop some things, in order to free up your time and focus on writing. Maybe this is the year you find a writing space, set aside a two-hour block of time each day, and free yourself from those other responsibilities that keep you from doing what you most want to do.

I’d love to hear what your goals are for 2015. If you could accomplish three things this year, what would they be? 

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  • Erin Bartels says:

    1. Sign with an agent.
    2. Sign a publishing contract.
    3. Finally master bar chords on the guitar despite my janky fingers.

  • Chip, I like that you posed this question. It makes me think about it. By posting my goals here, I hope to hold myself accountable. Next year at this time, I hope to come back here and discover whether I’ve managed to meet the goals I’m setting now.

    1. Find work as a freelance copyeditor.

    2. Launch my next book project. I want to write a recipe book with vignettes of who or what in my life inspired the recipes. This will include stories of my life inside and outside the Amish culture. Together these stories will give a sketch of my life experiences so far.

    3. Find a literary agent (and possibly a publisher) for this book project.

    I find that being able to clarify my dreams goes a long way towards realizing them. Thank you for offering us that opportunity.

    Happy New Year!

  • Kristen Joy Wilks says:

    Steadily keep writing new manuscripts. I started writing seriously 14 years ago and spent most of my time on a single ms. that I’ve been revising…forever. Then I wrote something new and managed to sell it. I still want to spend some time revising the old mss. I’ve had around forever, but I want to push myself to keep trying new things too.

  • sarahbates says:

    Relentlessly pursue publishing in literary magazines is my singular goal. I’m in the home stretch of a historical novel that will publish this year and in first draft of a contemporary novel. Writing and submitting short stories are about all I can manage. Whew!

  • Shauna Viele says:

    A 2 hour block of time each day. Right. I work 12 hour shifts; add to that an hour for commute time, and in the evening my family insists on waiting for me to get home before eating dinner (and frequently need me to help fix it!) By the time he dishes are done, it’s time for bed.

  • Robin Patchen says:

    In terms of goals, one of the best things I’ve ever done, Chip, was answer all those questions you sent me back in August, 2013. Some of the things I wrote in that document felt like pipe dreams at the time, but now, 17 months later, I find I’ve accomplished quite a few of those goals, and I’m on the road to accomplishing more. So thank you for helping me define my goals and reach them.

    This year, my top three work-related goals are 1-to finish the manuscript I’m working on now and write another one. 2-to self-publish a book and a promotional novella (both of which are already written). And 3-to continue to build my freelance editing business.

  • You are spot on about January. This happened to me in the past because I never defined the motivations/reasons for my goals, and I never brought closure to disappointments from prior goals which I had set. So this year, I spent time determining my personal motivations behind my goals. And I got honest with myself about prior let downs. I plan to regularly review my goals and the motivations behind them so I can persist during the rough spots. Happy New Year, Chip!

  • I’m keeping things simple this year, too. Three writing-related plans: 1) finish Book 2 in my contemporary romance series before the end of April and begin Book 3 in June; 2) create a newsletter and build a subscriber list; 3) increase online presence, particularly with my website and on Goodreads.
    This gives me another chance to say thanks to you and Amanda for the marketing seminar you held last August. It was the impetus I needed to rejuvenate my website and be consistent with blog posts. Thank you!

  • cynthiahickey says:

    I don’t make resolutions (always break them) :). This year, I made a list of what I wanted to do in order of importance. I’ll work my way down the list, one thing at a time

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