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Two Reasons To Update Your Writing Goals On Your Birthday

by Jennifer on September 22, 2010

By Jennifer Blanchard

Today marks my 27th year on this planet. And it also marks an important day in my year—birthday goals day.

On my birthday last year, I suggested that instead of setting New Year’s goals, which are more easily tossed to the wind, we should set annual birthday goals.

Setting your goals for the year on your birthday works well for a couple reasons:

  1. It’s More Personal–Trying to set realistic goals for your life at a time of year when everyone and their mother is obsessing about making changes for the “New Year” is like setting yourself up for failure. Most people give up their New Years resolutions before February.

    Setting your goals on your birthday, however, removes the “chaos” factor.

  2. It’s Not About “Resolving” Anything–When you set New Year’s resolutions, it’s like you’re saying you’re not good enough as you are. Like there’s something about you that needs to be resolved.

    But when you set birthday goals, you’re focusing on improving yourself with each year that you celebrate. It’s not about “resolving” anything. It’s about knowing you’re already fabulous exactly how you are, but wanting to keep learning and growing.

My Writing Goals From 2009
In reviewing my birthday writing goals from last year, here is what I was aiming to achieve:

  • Finish writing my first novel, Celebrity Soulmate
  • Publish Celebrity Soulmate
  • Start and finish writing novel number 2
  • Finish and launch writing productivity eBook
  • Continue writing and growing Procrastinating Writers

Now, to see how I did. Drum roll please…

  • Finish writing Celebrity Soulmate—Fail. I didn’t write this novel. I didn’t even attempt to write it. I did, however, discover that I was, in fact, trying to squeeze two stories into one novel. So I separated them out and am now working through planning the first novel, which is temporarily being called “Friends Or Fate.” I’ll get back to “Celebrity Soulmate” once I’m finished.
  • Publish Celebrity Soulmate—Fail. Without writing it, it’s kind of hard to publish it. Originally, I was planning on self-publishing. I am still debating that one, but mostly I’m removing my focus from publishing and putting it back on writing. For now.
  • Start and finish writing novel number 2—Fail. I did start planning the second novel I had in mind, but I’m nowhere near ready to write it. I am still on my journey from pantser to planner. But I am learning a lot, and I know that what I’m currently working on is actually going to result in a novel I can publish.
  • Finish and launch writing productivity ebook—SUCCESS!! In March of this year, I launched Butt-In-Chair: A no-excuses writing productivity guide. This is one of my proudest accomplishments to date. And the book actually did really well.
  • Continue writing and growing Procrastinating Writers—SUCCESS!! Last year on my birthday, this blog had less than 300 subscribers. Today, it has 668. Traffic increases every single day and the weekly kick-start newsletter has a whopping 399 subscribers (last year it had less than 50). All in all, I’d say it’s been a very successful year for Procrastinating Writers.

While I didn’t accomplish everything I set for myself on my birthday last year, I did accomplish two very big goals. And each step you take in the right direction is a win in my book.

My Writing Goals for 2010
What would this post be if I didn’t share what my 2010 birthday writing goals are. So here goes:

  1. Write my novel “Friends Or Fate.”
  2. Polish “Friends Or Fate” up and get it ready to send to agents/publishers (or to publish myself, if that’s the decision I finally come to).
  3. Offer my second-annual “30 Days of NaNo Tips for Procrastinating Writers”—Last year this wasn’t even on my goals list, and yet I still managed to make it happen. And it was so successful and well-received that I’m repeating it again this year.
  4. Launch my super-secret writing project in January 2011 with blogger, Suzannah Freeman of WriteItSideways—More details on this project are coming in November, so stay tuned.
  5. Continue writing and growing Procrastinating Writers–This goal had to stay on the list because this blog means so much to me. And I have big plans to expand it and offer more free content, as well as a coaching program for anyone who is interested. More details to come.

Looks like I’ve got the next 365 days of my life planned out. How about you? What are your writing goals? And what are your thoughts about birthday goals versus New Years resolutions?

About the Author: Jennifer Blanchard is founder of Procrastinating Writers. For more great writing tips, articles and information, follow her on Twitter.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kim September 22, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Happy birthday! Thanks for this great idea. My birthday is in two weeks; I’m definitely doing this and making it a yearly tradition.

2 Meghan S. September 22, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Happy Birthday! And congrats on the writing achievments you’ve made! I’m looking forward to hearing about this super-secret writing project you’re working on 🙂

3 Alanna Klapp September 22, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Happy Birthday, Jen, and I think setting birthday goals is a great idea. I dread New Year’s resolutions. I’m also looking forward to hearing about the super-secret writing project! Best of luck with your goals in the coming year! 🙂

4 Brittany September 23, 2010 at 5:36 pm

Happy birthday! 🙂

5 andrew toynbee September 28, 2010 at 7:36 am

Felicitations!
Only 27 and with so much already achieved…if only I’d been so dedicated at your age.

But then I was still using slates and living in a mud hut back then.

Wistful nostalgic sigh.

6 Krista October 4, 2010 at 3:02 pm

Great ideas in this. I think I will set the halfway to my birthday goals today and see where I am next year.

and, hope you had a very Happy Birthday!

7 Monica October 12, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Happy Birthday Jennifer! Congrats on achieving those goals. It must feel good. Since my birthday is many months away, I’m looking more to the new year to make some new goals. I’ve been meaning to work on them, so this will give me an added push!

I’m looking forward to those Nano tips! They were very helpful last year. I think I’ll need them more this yr!

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