• Writing & Reading Goals 2020: Quarter-Pole Check-In

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in ABCs of Writing     Comments 35 comments

    Discussion questions: One-quarter of the way through 2020, are you one-quarter of the way toward achieving your 2020 writing and reading goals? If you left yours in the comments of this New Year’s post, take a minute to revisit and assess. If you didn’t, feel free to talk more generally. Are you happy with your writing so far this year, quantity and/or quality? Have you changed your approach in any way? Should you? Let’s talk about it in the comments.


    I’m not sure how it’s possible that more than three months has passed since we discussed our writing and reading goals for 2020. A quarter of the way through the year, I look down my list of goals, and…

    Well, I’m not exactly killing it. But I’m not doing terribly, either.

    Here are the goals I set out, and how I’m doing so far:

    “In 2020, I want to get better as a writer,” I wrote. I want to find a way to be more dedicated to writing.”

    Whether I’ve improved or not, I’m not ready to say. As for dedication, I started the year writing fiction almost daily, for the first time in a couple of years. A really strong groove. Now it’s been more than three weeks since I’ve touched it. I’m confident it’s just a lull, rather than an indication of flagging dedication.


    “I want to publish fiction in 2020,” I wrote. I’ve got a story that’s thisclose to being ready to go. Who knows if I’ll publish it in 2020, but if I start sending it around, I’ll consider this a win. Publishing, in a lot of ways, is out of our hands. But submitting our work isn’t.


    “And I want to help keep my writing group together.” I’ll get back to you on this one…


    “For reading, I want to knock off a few more titles from the Modern Library’s top 100 list.” I read William Kennedy’s Ironweed in February, and it’s excellent. I’m now more than halfway through a reread of Under the Volcano, and it’s even better the second time. Next up might be Death Comes for the Archbishop.


    That’s it for me. Now it’s your turn? As a writer and a reader, how is 2020 going for you so far?


    WriteByNight co-founder David Duhr is fiction editor at the Texas Observer and co-host of the Yak Babies podcast. He writes about books for the Dallas Morning News, Electric Literature, Publishing Perspectives, and others.

    WriteByNight is a writers’ service dedicated to helping you achieve your creative potential and literary goals. We work with writers of all experience levels working in all genres, nationwide and worldwide. If you have a 2020 writing project you’d like a little help with, take a look at our book coachingprivate instruction and writer’s block counseling services. If you have a manuscript that’s ready for some editorial care, check out our various critiquing, editorial, and proofing servicesJoin our mailing list and get a FREE writer’s diagnostic, “Common problems and SOLUTIONS for the struggling writer.”

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    Jennifer PommerPatricia T. CollamerSilke ChambersDavid DuhrSilke Recent comment authors
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    Hi Dave. Overall, I think I’m writing better. I did a major revision sweep of my novel and I think I greatly improved scenes that I haven’t touched in a year. Re: my 3 main goals from the NY post, I am making progress and how I want to proceed is shaping up. Statuses are: 1. I will finish drafting my Post Apocalypse novel to a point where it can be read and critiqued as a work, and compile a final plan for finishing it. status: I am 1 scene away from accomplishing this. I did set a goal date… Read more »


    My book “Mariah: Blood of the New Moon” launched on Jan 15th as planned. Not that there weren’t a few glitches. I’m good in that it went international and I sold around 150 books within a week. I’m still working on that marketing thing so I’m not complaining. What I did worked. I did make it through the editing class and learned a method that I need to perfect for going from the big picture down to the words. I’m working on the book I want out in Nov. I’m working on my marketing plan for it (I don’t have… Read more »

    John Liebling
    John Liebling

    Making good headway. Not sure if it is a milestone or millstone? May 24 I’ll be 62. My time frame is sometime between my birthday and the end of Sept of 2020 I’ll contact Justine and see if I can work with Nick Courtright and his Atmosphere Press. My Novel has improved a lot over the last couple of years.


    Elissa Malcohn
    Elissa Malcohn

    This will be a long post. My writing goals for this year included “conducting an experiment that will involve daily creative output….My methods remain pretty much the same except for the experiment, which I’m doing just for the sake of seeing what happens.” So far I am having a blast with what I have titled 366. The impetus for 366 is a comment from David (thanks, David!), who wrote, “I’ve always had this really stupid fantasy of finding a book that’s exactly 365 pages and then reading only one page per day for the entire year, just to see how… Read more »

    david lemke
    david lemke

    My reading goal is always 50 since I joined Goodreads. I’m at 3 books read this year, so far behind but I read multiple books at a time, so not as far behind as it looks. Because I’m working on four novels right now, I don’t plan on finishing any this year, though I may get a first draft done of at least one. “2084” has 45000 words, “The Cat Complains” has 25000, “Cult of Devay” has 50000. “Our Alien Hero” Quill Norman, has 7000, and what might be a novella “Vermin” has 5000 I’ve been having Photoshop problems with… Read more »


    I submitted my YA short story, A Surprise for Bess, to a contest last month. I hope to publish my YA novel, Like an Owl Among the Ruins this summer.

    Patricia T. Collamer
    Patricia T. Collamer

    Thanks for this site! Top goal for me in 2020 is to write. I began last Nov. 1-2 hours every early morning and have not stopped. I take 2 mornings off to read. I am determined to continue until my NF project is finished. My plan is to pursue a more traditional publishing path this time and learn a lot in that process. I believe what I am writing can truly help someone out there.

    Jennifer Pommer
    Jennifer Pommer

    I hadn’t made any 2020 writing goals earlier this year, but I did have some general ones. Although I haven’t done as much writing as I have wanted, I can say I am being more consistent in my writing so I am writing more in my journal and have started to write down more of the story lines I think of. I like the idea from the 2020 New Year’s posting to pay oneself for writing. I might try that.

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