• Jason Haskins

5 writing goals for the year 2020


Welcome to 2020. (No Barbara Walters meme needed because I didn't use her actual intro tag).


A bit of a slow start in getting around to the normal "first of the year" post. Arriving late not because of laziness or procrastination, which I still have an overabundance. No, I am simply a little behind because the last month or so I have moved with more intention; taken care to examine the small moments of life and write when the mood strikes me.


And write with vigor and, hopefully, an iota of passion.


Not that I didn't carry these attributes before. It's just a little something I've been careful to pay more attention to as of late. Comes with age, I suppose, and making a full realization of the finite time one has to explore, to connect, to live. All have always circled the peripheral of my mind, but stuff that is becoming more clear with each passing day. (And a bit muddier, too, but that's the contrast that usually collides in life.)


Writing, however, is a constant presence in my life. Whether it's in the form of a novella, a fantasy novel, a play, sports articles, or my own private journals, writing is something I try to sit down and do every day. It could be five minutes of jumbled thoughts. It could be free writing for an hour.


This past year was a good one, on the writing front. The first reading of my newest full-length play, Half Past Midnight, had a staged reading with Alley Repertory Theater in May. Work continues on this play, with a rewrite being about halfway complete. I hope to have another reading by summer and, from there, submit the play out into the world (though I have submitted the first version to a couple of places already).


In November, I self-published a novella, Of Snow Forts and Santa. This story is perfect for late-elementary and middle school students, but I have heard plenty of wonderful things about the story from adults as well. My hope is that people of all ages can enjoy and so far that has been the case (of which I am very appreciative).


I also continue to write for two sports websites, Bronco Nation News and Chowder and Champions.


While I am generally happy with these things, I am constantly in search of more opportunities and in continuing my progress in this chosen field. That being said, here are five writing goals I'd like to accomplish in 2020.


1) Keep Writing


A very obvious goal. The attempt is to do it daily, but I try not to beat myself up if I don't. There is a little scolding of myself if I miss day, especially if it's due to laziness, but for the most part I've learned it isn't the end of the world if I don't write. I have a routine set in place but as we all know life can throw curveballs now and again. I am hoping to reach 300k words this year after nearing 250,000 in 2019. The middle of October brought a change to life so writing took a backseat and I didn't quite get to where I wanted to be.


I use a website called WriteTrack to log my daily word count, something that has helped the past couple of years. I begin with a monthly word count goal and then adjust it as the year progresses, using a monthly average to set the following months' goal.


2) Finish a new draft of a novel


I currently have three novels I am working on, two of which have been "in-process" for many years now. The first is Palm Trees and Paradise and I've been working on this since NanoWriMo of 2008, maybe. There are times I work on this novel for weeks at a time, but I don't think I've looked at it since last spring. It's about 75 percent finished and 2020 might be the year the first draft is complete.


The second novel, Through the End of Time, I've been working on for roughly the same amount of time. Pieces of it began as far back as the year 2000. This novel is also about 75 percent complete and is book one of a two-book series. I feel closer to finishing this one than the first and the first ten chapters were submitted a few years back to a writing contest, of which I won an honorable mention. A little something to keep me pushing forward with it.


The third novel is The Dragon Slayer, the second book in "The Magic of Crieo" series. This one is probably the top priority as I know a few people out there are waiting so they can find out the continuation of The Blue Gem. If I can complete a draft and get it edited in 2020, an early 2021 release is entirely plausible.


3) Attend 3 writing workshops/conferences/festivals/retreats


Straight forward on this one. I failed in 2019 to attend any but I am always on the lookout. I may even try to get out of town for one in 2020.


4) Agent/Publisher/Editor (or all three)


I love the ability to self-publish. I am more than thankful to have this option available.


But I'd also love to have a second set of eyes; a publisher or editor who accepts a manuscript (or play). I've veered away from this option in recent years, of submitting to these places and people, but it's something I aim to get back to in 2020. Hopefully, with more of my work now available for perusal, I can make that happen.


5) Read more


This goal leads to more in-depth and, hopefully, inclusive writing. While I've always enjoyed reading, probably won a few free pizzas in my day, I feel I don't do enough of it. I've set a goal to read 40 books this year. I made it to 32 this past year -- including plays -- and 40 is doable. The main thing for me in 2020 is diversify my interests. I'd like to read more books, especially those not by dead white males (I do enjoy the classics). So send me your suggestions for books by women, books by authors of different races and cultures, and/or whatever your favorite book is from the past year, from any genre.


Thanks for stopping by this first week of January 2020.


Be bold. Be kind.


Twitter: @jasonrh_78

Instagram: Jason Haskins



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