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What’s Your Biggest Writing Goal for 2020?

Previously I’ve talked about writing a novel, tracking daily word count, and wanting to be taken seriously. I think that on a higher level, my biggest writing goal for 2020 is to become a better writer. All of my other goals are either in support of that, or are an outgrowth of it.

This is comparable to my non-writing goal to increase my fluency in Finnish. It’s been less a matter of desire, and more about opportunity. My personal and professional life are in English, so there is no pressing need to improve my language skills. For writing, it’s hack work and technical writing with tight deadlines. I have neither the time nor the necessity to spend time developing the craft.

Writing daily helps with this. Reading more literary work definitely contributes. Ideally I will be able to make time in the coming year to take some online courses and participate in workshops. I’m certain that other things I can do will become clear to me as I learn to recognize my own flaws, as well as my strength. It’s a process, and one that I want to approach mindfully.

What’s Your Biggest Writing Goal for 2020?

Okay reader, it’s your turn. Tell me about your writing goals in the comments below! You don’t have to be a participant in The Merry Writer game to play along here!


The Merry Writer is a writer’s game on Twitter run by Ari Meghlen (@arimeghlen) and Rachel Poli (@RPoli3). Each day there’s a new question, and each month there’s a new theme. In these posts I expand upon the answers that I’ve posted on my Twitter.

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Journal

What Non-Writing Goal Do You Want to Accomplish in 2020?

The one non-writing goal that I have for the coming year is to improve my Finnish language skills. I have been here for over five years and my vocabulary and grammar are still terribly basic. There are reasons for this, and I think they’re valid, but that doesn’t change anything.

Finnish is hard. I still struggle to pronounce vowel sounds that don’t exist in American English. The words are long, because (and I’m oversimplifying this) proper nouns with adjectives and modifiers get jammed together into compound words. So you don’t say, for example, “strawberry jam”. In Finnish it’s “strawberryjam”, mansikkahillo.

Which is fine, except when the pieces of the compound words can possibly be other words. For example, aamupalaverihuone means “morning meeting room”, where the office team gathers at the start of the day. Aaamu = morning, palaveri = meeting, huone = room. But hold on, if you break it differently aamupala = breakfast, veri = blood, so it could also mean “breakfast blood room”. Because the emphasis is always on the first syllable and letters are only pronounced one way, morning meeting room and breakfast blood room are pronounced the same way. You have to go by context, because clearly, breakfast blood room makes no sense, but when your vocabulary is limited it’s confusing.

What Non-Writing Goal Do You Want to Accomplish in 2020?

My real excuses are that I work from home, so I’m not immersed in the language. Nearly everyone I know is an English-speaking expat. Almost all service people, from bankers to repairmen to grocery clerks, speak English. So it’s been the lack of opportunity to practice. That’s why as soon as registration opens up, I’m going back to taking classes in January. This time around Katie is going to take the classes with me, and we’re going to make more of an effort to speak Finnish at home for extra practice.


Okay reader, even if you’re not a writer you can share this one. You don’t have to be a participant in The Merry Writer game to play along here!

The Merry Writer is a writer’s game on Twitter run by Ari Meghlen (@arimeghlen) and Rachel Poli (@RPoli3). Each day there’s a new question, and each month there’s a new theme. In these posts I expand upon the answers that I’ve posted on my Twitter.

Categories
Journal

What’s Your Writing Resolution for 2020?

In the past I’ve spoken at length about why I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions. Declaring that you’re going to do a thing isn’t an effective plan for getting it done. I will bang the gong for SMART goals until the day I die. In the spirit of the question, though, I will talk about what I am committed to doing differently in the coming year. This is the closest I have to a writing resolution for 2020.

What’s Your Writing Resolution for 2020?

I’m going back to tracking daily word count. It’s something that I’ve gone back and forth with in the past few years, because I see pros and cons. On the downside is that fact that sometimes it gives me an excuse to do the bare minimum. If I have a block of time and a word count goal, I will tend to goof off when I hit the goal rather than writing the entire time. There’s also what I consider a corollary of the infinite monkeys theory: word count made up of relative gibberish that you’re just going to cut or rewrite is just as good as carefully crafted words, because it’s all about the number. That’s activity, not productivity.

For me, going back to work count is about content. With multiple projects going on, it allows me to see that it’s achievable. If I have a target of 300 words per day on one project, 600 words per day on another, and 2400 words per day on a third, then it’s clear what I have to do. I know how to allocate my time, and I know that I can’t goof off. It helps me to focus without feeling overwhelmed.


How would you answer this question, reader?

Do you have questions you’d like to ask me? Leave them in the comments below, and I might answer them in a future post! Thanks for participating!