Yep, I thought I'd be cool and title this post "a goal unwritten is just a wish" and find out who said it, but Google and Wikiquote yielded no answers until I realized it's a proverb, not a quote, and proverbs < quotes. Alas.
Either way, the sentiment is correct, and it's especially true for writers. If you'll forgive me another overused canyon metaphor, you and story are one one side of the gulch and publication, riches, renown, and literary immortality are on the other side. Waaaaay on the other side.
So, like good metaphorical mountaineers, we lay down some ropes between the sides and start building ourselves a bridge. However, those ropes snap, and they snap a lot. Sometimes it's rejected query letters, sometimes it's a bad critique, or, like the publishing horror story Miri was telling me the other day, it's having the company who bought your manuscript go under. Canyons are dangerous and falling rock is everywhere.
This is the part of the post where I should be saying something cheesy and inspirational, but actually, after that, I've kind of forgetten what brilliant, moving point I was going to make. So I'll wrap this up.
We can't decide how many rocks fall on our heads, but we can decide how many lines we cast to the other side. That means setting goals. Building a sturdy bridge doesn't happen by accident--it requires planning.
My goals this New Year are pretty modest--fifteen minutes of writing or revision each day, and sending out fifteen query letters by next New Years' Eve--but they're goals all the same. How about you? Got any goals this year?
Holly Lisle's post on goal-setting.