August: When to abandon a goal?

At the beginning of 2023 I set myself quite a few writing and freelance goals.

Having last month reviewed my income for the first half of the year as well as the 2022/2023 financial year in Australia, I thought this month it would be good to look back on my goals and how they’re tracking so far.

What I discovered is, sometimes the best thing for your life and your family is to just let go of a goal.

My 2023 goals

I don’t think I ever fully shared my goals for 2023 on this blog, so lets take a look at them now.

  • Submit 10 works (short stories and nonfiction) to childrens magazines
  • Submit 50 short stories to journals and magazines
  • Submit/pitch 30 nonfiction articles
  • Send 15 letters of introduction to publishers, institutions, agencies and corporate clients

Most of these goals were designed to lead to publication in various areas and commissions for freelance projects, but as I noted in my goal setting post, it’s important to set goals that are within your control. I can’t control if an editor decides to publish my story, but I can control if I submit or pitch to them.

How am I tracking

So, more than halfway through the year, how I am I going?

  • 6/10 works submitted to childrens magazines
  • 23/50 short stories submitted
  • 6/30 articles submitted or pitched
  • 9/15 LOIs sent

Not too shabby actually. Except for the pitches that’s why we’re do a review.

And it’s not all about hitting targets. Is hitting these targets yielding the desired results in my business?

  • Of the 6 short stories and nonfiction articles submitted to childrens magazines, 0 have been picked up for publication.
  • Of the 23 short stories I’ve submitted, 1 has been shortlisted and published.
  • Of the 6 articles pitched, 0 have been commissioned
  • Of the 9 LOIs sent, 3 have lead to commissions

Looking at those results I can see that, while the effort has been made, the rewards have not been what I might have hoped.

The LOIs have proved the most fruitful leading to some amazing projects including the commission of three childrens school readers by a major education publisher. Breaking into the education market was actually a goal I had down for next year. So that has been a major win.

In terms of short stories, I know that I am not in the position to keep submitting this year. While I could feasibly still hit those targets my currently written stories need more work before it would be worthwhile submitting. On top of that, with baby on the way and some new goals demanding my attention, for the remainder of this year I’m going to have to redirect my energy. And this goes for pitching as well.

Letting go of goals

So at this point in the year I’ve decided I’ve done enough. Now it’s time to step back, to rest and restore before baby and to focus on some new art projects that have come up that weren’t even on my radar at the start of the year.

That doesn’t mean I won’t be setting new goals for 2024. I already have some exciting leads about client work. And I’ve been spending a lot of down time on planning where to put my energy over the next few months.

I have lots of big dreams and big plans and I’d love to hear about yours as well.

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