Wednesday, December 26

Writing in 2013: Bend don't break

Writing in 2013: Bend don't break

I'm loving Dean Wesley Smith's new series for writers on how to set yourself up for success in 2013.

Over the past couple of weeks, Dean talked about writing basics:
- The difference between a dream and a goal.
- How to create goals that have a chance of fulfilling your dream.

In his latest installment--The New World of Publishing: How To Keep Production Going All Year--Dean talks about how to work through failure to meet a goal.

Everyone Fails

What is failure? Obviously, on one level, it's pretty clear cut. If, for example, you set the goal of completing one short story a week and fail to complete a story one week, you've failed.

Dean points out, though, that sometimes failure isn't a bad thing. If your goal spurs you on to write more than you would have otherwise, it was worth it. For instance, if a writer sets the goal of writing one short story a week but misses a few and only writes 47 that's still pretty great!

Dean gives this example: A couple of years ago he set himself the goal of writing 100 short stories. Life intervened, and he didn't get 100 stories done, but he did get over 30 finished before the end of the year. Not bad!

Would Dean have written that many short stories without his goal of writing 100 stories? Probably not.

Technically, he failed to meet his goal, but working toward that goal still helped him, and that's why we set goals in the first place.

The trick to succeeding: If you see that you're NOT going to be able to meet your goal, don't stop altogether. Just do as much as you can.

What To Do When You Fail

Failure is inevitable. The trick is not to let it stop you. Dean writes,
So here are my suggestions when life derails you and you miss your short-term goal.

1… Don’t even once think about catching up. Can’t happen and will make things worse.

2… Climb back onto your production challenge or weekly page goal as soon as you are able.

3… If life alters so much as to make the original weekly pace impossible, stop and reset a new goal for the year and for each week and then stick to that.

4… Somehow, with help or with some mechanism, remember these suggestions.
Great advice! Now I just have to live it.

Other articles you might like:

- Merry Christmas! Giving Your Stories As Gifts
- Christmas Eve And Lee Child's Jack Reacher
- Writing And Publishing In 2013, How To Survive And Thrive: Part Two

Photo credit: "Little One" by Sukanto Debnath under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.


  1. I find that whenever I am overwhelmed by the discussions on G+, I can read one of DWS's posts, take a deep breath, and realize that my best path is to move forward with my own plans at my own pace. I still have a few days this year to set up my writing goals for the next, and then I'll share them over on G+ so we can help each other keep track of our progress.

    1. Dean's posts are great! And that's it exactly, YOUR own goals at YOUR pace.

      Looking forward to reading your goals for the new year!


Because of the number of bots leaving spam I had to prevent anonymous posting. My apologies. I do appreciate each and every comment.