Over the years I've done this, those goals have changed some. They've been shaped by my experiences, and by the things I've done. Sometimes I've succeeded. Sometimes I've failed. Sometimes I've "failed to success", which means I set goals which were high enough that I could not quite make them but still feel good about the overall progress.
When I set my goals for 2015, I was planning to write a TON of serial stories all year long. The problem is, the serials never really took off well. In fact, readers seemed to like the combined versions (where I took four or five episodes and combined them to make a novel) far more than the individual episodes. And then Amazon changed the way Kindle Unlimited worked to make shorter episodes much more difficult to manage. Partway through the year, I could see the writing on the wall. My readers preferred long stories. Novels. It was up to me to tell stories that people want to read.
So the 2015 goals were to see a 20% increase in productivity from the year before. I'd written 150,000 words and published 10 titles in 2014, so I wanted to hit 180,000 words and 12 titles in 2015.
This is where that whole "failed to success" thing comes in. ;)
Because I was mostly writing longer works, I didn't get 12 titles published. I only got 9. I also set a goal to write at least 500 words every day, and I only managed that for about 2/3 of the days in the year.
But I did manage to write 300,000 original words. I completely blew my word count goal out of the water. And I have three completed novels in various stages of editing and publishing, all coming out in early 2016.
It was a great learning experience. The words are what really matters. By trying to set a number of titles as a goal, I was limiting myself to a specific sort of fiction: short serials. The market changed, and my understanding of what readers wanted improved, and I changed my focus to match. If I'd stuck with that goal of twelve titles I wouldn't have been able to adapt my plan as I needed to.
Publishing today is a fast paced business. Adaptability is key. So this year, only one goal:
Write lots. I have stories I am burning to tell. I've learned so much this year, and can't wait to apply it to everything I will be writing in the year ahead.
Write 600,000 words. That's the new goal for 2016.
Hey, I might fall short. Who knows? Maybe I will "fail to success" again, and "only" get 500,000... But I'll be pretty happy with trying my best to get all 600,000 out.
It's going to be another awesome year. See you out there!