My Annual Writing Goals for 2024 (Plus Learning From Last Year’s Goals)

11 Jan 2024 | Writing

Title image: My Annual Writing Goals for 2024 (Plus Learning From Last Year's Goals)

We’re a week and a half into 2024, and chances are, you’ve been thinking about how this year might look in terms of your writing. Maybe 2023 didn’t work out how you’d hoped: you wanted to hit a weekly word count goal or finish a big writing project, but life got in the way. Or perhaps you had vague intentions or hopes around writing, but you never quite managed to take action on them.

Over the past couple of decades, I’ve had some good writing years when I published novels, started major projects, took on clients, and more … and I’ve had considerably less good writing years where I barely wrote anything! Whatever your 2023 looked like, I hope you’re able to start 2024 with a sense of optimism for your next 12 months.

For me, 2023 was a slightly mixed bag in terms of writing progress. I pushed really hard to reach my income goal with my freelance writing, which I was thrilled with, and I built some stronger habits and routines along the way. When it came to my 2023 fiction goals, I didn’t achieve everything I’d hoped for, but I was broadly happy with the progress I made, and I definitely learnt some useful things to carry forward into 2024 … I’ll be talking about those as I go through my goals for the year ahead.

My Writing Goals for 2024

In 2024, I’ve got a bunch of goals – I’ll stick to just the writing-related ones here! 

Several of these goals build on progress I made in 2023, and you may well find that’s the case with your own goals too. Even if you didn’t achieve what you set out to do last year, you’ll have learnt something along the way that can help you as you move towards your goals this year.

Goal #1: Write 250+ Words Per Day

As I wrote last year, I don’t think it’s necessary to write daily. But I think it’s a good routine for at least some of us. Last year, I felt that I preferred two or three longer weekly sessions rather than daily writing … after experimenting with the 250 words/day goal last year, I think daily writing is working well for me at this point in my life.

So this year, I’m repeating that goal. I’ve tweaked it a little though, based on what I learnt in 2023 about myself and about how best this goal works for me!

What I Learnt from 2023

In 2023, my initial goal was to “write/edit 250+ words/day” and then it morphed into something more like “work on writing stuff for 15 minutes” when I was brainstorming or fine-tuning on various projects. And … that was the point where this goal started to fall apart!

A word-based goal suits me best. I like to see the words add up, plus I love the process of drafting new material – and I’ve realised that my fiction-writing goals are very much about enjoyment for me. I don’t want them to just be another task on the to-do list.

So in 2024, my daily writing goal is simply to write 250+ words of fiction. That means either drafting completely fresh material, or rewriting scenes from a blank page, not editing words that already exist.

I’ll need to do other things, like brainstorming and editing, as well to reach my other writing goals … but those will be in addition to the 250+ words/day goal.

Goal #2: Finish and Publish Reaper

In 2023, I was aiming to finish and publish the novel I was working on, provisionally titled Reaper. This year, I’m still aiming to finish and publish the novel – though I’m a lot closer to being done with it!

I’m aiming to finish and publish the novel by the end of June: I think that will be enough time to incorporate the various changes I want to make, without rushing, but also without spreading it over such a long period of time that I lose momentum.

What I Learnt in 2023

I’ve known for a long time that writing a novel is a messy process … and this novel has been no exception! It took me longer than I expected to get the novel ready for my editor (I went through a fourth draft, not just the third draft I’d planned), then my editor had some great big-picture feedback. 

A couple of big factors also massively curtailed my writing/editing time in the final quarter of 2024: we had a lot of bedtime struggles with my 10-year-old, and my husband’s work schedule meant he was away from home more than normal.

There was nothing I could do about my 10-year-old’s sleeping or my husband’s work … but another time, I think I’d double my estimated “time to finish” on a big project like this, to allow for (a) the messiness/unpredictability of the writing process and (b) the chance of life stuff getting in the way.

Goal #3: Write Four Short Stories

In 2023, I wrote and submitted two short stories (around 1,600 words) and one flash piece to competitions. One of the short stories was shortlisted and the other won third prize, which was a great confidence boost! (The flash piece was near the end of 2024 so I haven’t heard about that competition yet.) I had fun writing these pieces, too – experimenting with different styles and viewpoints than I’d normally use.

This year, I’m aiming to slightly increase my short story output and write four short stories over the course of the year. 

What I Learnt in 2023

I think my biggest takeaway from 2023 is that I really enjoy working on short stories! It’s easier to keep plugging away on a novel, where I’m progressing with the same characters, plot, and style … but it was a lot of fun to work on the short stories and really satisfying to finish them and send them off to competitions.

Goal #4: Write Weekly Posts and Newsletters

I was more consistent in blogging on Aliventures in 2023 than I’ve often been in the past … but there were still times when I didn’t get weekly posts or newsletters out (May, June, and July were patchy, then I took an unplanned break in October, as you can see from the archive of posts).

This year, my goal is to write weekly posts and newsletters, with the exception of a planned summer break and winter break. 

What I Learnt in 2023

In November 2023, I had a slowish patch with my freelancing, so I used the time to get ahead with Aliventures blog posts and newsletters. This was a huge help! It made it much easier to get those pieces published during the very busy weeks in December when I was racing to do as much freelance work as possible and hit my income goal.

So in 2024, I’m making an effort to get ahead again with posts and newsletters: I’ve got my content calendar planned out until the end of March (with a couple of free slots for reader suggestions!) and I’ve already outlined most of those blog posts and newsletters too. Here’s a quick peek at what I’ve got planned for the next two months:

Screenshot of a spreadsheet titled Aliventures Content Calendar 2024 (Blog Posts & Newsletters), with columns for day, date, title, type, and status (published, drafted, or planned).

As well as these writing goals, I’ve got a few other goals for Aliventures and my freelance writing that are more business-related than writing-related … but I wanted to keep this post focused on my goals that are actually to do with writing.

How about you? What are your writing goals for the year? Is there anything you’re sticking with or doing differently this year based on how things went in 2023? Do pop a comment below to share, or feel free to email me (ali@aliventures.com) – I’d love to hear about your goals.

About

I’m Ali Luke, and I live in Leeds in the UK with my husband and two children.

Aliventures is where I help you master the art, craft and business of writing.

My Novels

My contemporary fantasy trilogy is available from Amazon. The books follow on from one another, so read Lycopolis first.

You can buy them all from Amazon, or read them FREE in Kindle Unlimited.

4 Comments

  1. Lynsey

    Hi Ali. I’d love to try writing short stories and submitting them to competitions. Are there any competitions you would suggest? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Ali

      Hi Lynsey! I really like the contests Writing Magazine runs — just so you know, they’re generally 1,500-1,700 words and there’s an entry fee. You can read their previous winners online so that can give you a good idea of the type of thing their judges like (though I’ve seen them publish quite varied stories).

      https://www.writers-online.co.uk/writing-competitions

      Best of luck with your short stories!

      Reply
  2. Deline Tan

    Hi Ali,
    Good to hear about your goals for the New Year. For me, it’s writing a novel for 12 months, and hope to publish it in December.
    I’ve just finished writing a novel December last year and hope to publish it this year.
    Thanks for the Publishing course that I took from you last year but I have to forego freelance writing as I realise that I’m called to be an evangelist rather than a full time writer.
    I wish you well for your writing goals for this year. May you thrive to be successsful and fruitful.

    Reply
    • Ali

      Best of luck with your novel, Deline! That’s a powerful calling — I hope it bears wonderful fruit in your life and the lives of others.

      Reply

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