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From the President: A New Year, New Goals

There is always something exciting about beginning a new year. It seems like a fresh start. This year I am starting not only a new year, but also a new position as the president of ACFW. As I reflected on this, I realized I would have to set goals for myself involving ACFW as well as my writing. What a great time, with the New Year, to take a moment and decide what I would focus on and what I would do this year.

Why should I—or you—take the time to set goals? When you do, you have something to work toward. The most productive people know what they are working for. When you’ve set a specific goal, then you can come up with manageable steps to make that goal happen. Like writing a book. When an author thinks about writing a 90,000-word book, taking it chapter by chapter is much easier to handle.

Set realistic goals you can own

Be careful … that your goals are realistic and within your control.

Be careful, though, that your goals are realistic and within your control. If they aren’t, you may get discouraged—and that is not the point of setting goals. Remember, too, that there are goals you have that, alone, you can’t make happen.

For instance, I would love to have the next bestseller, but I don’t control that. I only control what I write. I can set a goal that I will stretch myself with my next book, demand more of myself, but I can’t control what an editor or an agent does.

Take advantage of available help
How can ACFW help you toward your writing goals? First of all, can I encourage you to set a regular writing schedule and stick to it? That one goal will make a huge difference.

In addition, your organization has several programs to help you write. The first one, Novel Track: Writing is offered in January, April, July, and October. It is an email loop for support and encouragement to help you meet your writing goal—that one about writing regularly!

Following that is Novel Track: Editing in February (also May, August, and November). This loop focuses on how to edit the words you wrote the month before. Lastly, Novel Track: Polishing will start in March (then June, September, and December). This part of the Novel Track program concentrates on the little problems that can occur while writing: grammar, over use of certain words, passive vs. active voice. If you participate in the Novel Track program through the year, you can have a completed novel by the end of the year. Look for program details in the Members Only section of our website.

Another way ACFW can help you meet your writing goals in 2011 is through free online classes. Each month (except December) there is a class offered by a qualified writing instructor. Our classes cover a variety of subjects from grammar to deep point of view—and more! Find out more in Members Only and don’t forget to check the courses archive.

A third program available through ACFW is a large Critique Group which gives writers a way to connect with others who want to critique—and have their work critiqued. You can sign up for the orientation—yep, in the Members Only section at the first of each month.

What is stopping you from setting a writing goal—and making it?

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