2022 in the Rear View Mirror: Episode 344
2022 in the Rear View Mirror: Episode 344
Sarina knocks it out of the park. Jess and KJ...

We make a point of setting goals every year—and, even more importantly, actually looking back to see whether we achieved them, and why. We’ve talked a lot in past years about the importance of setting the right kind of goals (you can get a short PDF on goal-setting and a worksheet below)—by which we mean goals you can control. You can’t sell your book to a publisher—that’s not a goal within your control. Get an agent, make a best-seller list, same. But you can finish the book, get help with the query, revise, edit, spend X time, write X words, write the proposal—without anyone else having to make a choice that fulfills your dreams.

Goal Setting Pdf
101KB ∙ PDF file
#amwriting Writer Goals Worksheet
132KB ∙ PDF file

We try to make our goals mostly dreams we can fulfill ourselves, and then add in the big, out-of-control payoffs in sort of a different section.

But even given that, we make mistakes. My goals last year were weirdly TOO specific (a more usual problem is that they be too vague) and as it turned out, in several cases although I still wanted to achieve the overarching goal, the specific goal I set didn’t interest me any more. This year I plan to give myself a little more leeway.

Jess’s WOTY (word of the year) last year was Evaluate. Mine was Play. Sarina’s was WIP. Jess and Sarina nailed theirs. I… kind of forgot mine. But looking back, I lived up to it. I traveled more for fun than I have in many many years—partly because post-Covid and older kids, but still, it would have been easy to just go no, that’s TOO MUCH WORK. But I didn’t, I got out there, and I have the memories of the camel ride, the vintage shopping trip, the hike outside San Fransisco, the baths in Asturias, the road trip down the East Coast, the heat in Austin and the crowds watching the World Cup in the plaza in Marrakech to prove it. Thinking of it all makes me think of the new rule form fave guest Laura Vanderkam’s Tranquility By Tuesday: Effortful before Effortless. Sometimes “Play” is also kind of hard work. But it’s worth it.

I’m sending out a discussion thread for next year’s WOTYs. You’ll get a preview of mine there (I’m already living by it) and hear from Jess and Sarina on the next episode! Or come chat—details below.

Links from the Pod

Gifts for Writers

Epic (short story by Sarina and Elle Kennedy)

Jezebel’s Creepy Stories for Halloween

Rachael Herron’s 90 Days to Done Masterclass

@katherineroystudio’s reel on how picture books are made


Sarina: Every Last Fear, Alex Finlay

Jess: Desert Star, Michael Connelly

KJ: A Letter to Three Witches, Elizabeth Bass

HEY NOVELISTS—Did you finish NaNoWriMo? Would you like to know what to do next with that pile of words you worked so hard to create? 

Here’s a group of Author Accelerator certified book coaches dedicated to walking you through the process of finishing your draft or tackling revision—and they have put together a host of free resources to get you started.

Check out  www.nanonowwhat.com to learn more about these fantastic book coaches and how they can get you from NaNo success to a draft that’s ready to pitch or publish.

Want to BE one of those book coaches? Our partners at Author Accelerator have super-fun BONUSES for anyone who signs up book coach training before the end of 2022. Learn more at bookcoaches.com to find out if 2023 will be the year you launch a book coaching business or level up the one you already have.



Entertaining, actionable advice on craft, productivity and creativity for writers and journalists in all genres, with hosts Jessica Lahey, KJ Dell'Antonia and Sarina Bowen.