Here’s a tip for making writing goals in 2015: don’t focus on accolades and publications. Instead, focus on output.

As a writer, you have no control over what people think of your work. That means you have no control over whether an editor accepts your submission or whether a judge awards you a prize or a grant. What you do have control over is the amount you write, the amount you submit, and the quality of your work. This is what I mean by output.

For me, the switch to becoming a happy writer occurred when I began focusing on output.

Instead of saying, I will get into X publication this year, I said, I will submit to X publication Y number of times.

Instead of saying, I will win this contest, I said, I will submit my best work to this contest.

Instead of saying, I will finish my book, I said, I will work on my book X number of hours a day until it’s finished.

This attitude has made all the difference in my peace and productivity as a writer. Sometimes when you try to do something, you fail. But at least this way, I know I’m trying. I’m holding true to what I said I would do, and I’m showing up every day to do it. I’m covering my end of the bargain.

All you can do is write good work and put it in front of people. The rest is up to them.

And I’m okay with that.

Happy New Year!

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