I've talked about setting goals before, but every time a new year rolls around, I find myself taking inventory of the year before and feeling more motivated to organize myself so I can achieve the success that I'm longing for in the year to come. So here's a quick look inside my mind at some of the thoughts I've been having.
If 2010 wasn't successful year for you, remember that the year 2011 is completely open and full of possibilities. You have to approach it with that mindset that it doesn't matter how many rejections you faced or the criticisms you had to endure--you are a writer and you have something to offer! It may be a matter of examing what you tried in 2010 that didn't work and revising it to discover what could work. Writing is an industry, not just an art form, and so as each year passes, you have to refigure how what you write fits into that. So take some time to examine the trends, to look at the current market and then look at your work in a new way so you can determine how it fits into that trend or market. If vampire-mania is waning, then figure out how your paranormal writing can set a new trend. If the market is innundated with historical fiction about cowboys, then think how you can put a different twist on something you've already written to make it fresh. Your own "slush" pile could be full of great ideas that just were started at the wrong time. If it's been awhile since you looked at old manuscripts, go back and look at them with a new eye and you may find a jewel hiding in the dust.
It's even more important to stay focused if you had success in 2010 because you have a momentum going that you worked hard to get and which will vanish if you don't use it. Think of it as a springboard to even great success! The contacts you made, the things you learned, the projects you began are all part of the tools that you'll use to build with this next year. If you left them sitting around, unnoticed and unused, they'll get rusty or lost and you'll find yourself struggling to finish projects that you'd like to do. So dust off those files from last year and update that marketing schedule, set new deadlines for submissions and decide now that you will be successful!