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I’ve found I work best to self-imposed goals. They have to be attainable, but they also have to require some effort to achieve.

I didn’t take part in Nanowrimo – I know there is no way my other time commitments could allow me to write 50,000 words in a month. But I did privately try for a half-nano. I aimed to get my work-in-progress up to 25,000 by the end of November. I had started it at the end of October and wanted to get it well underway quickly.

I didn’t quite manage it – November ended with my word count around 23,000 but that’s not bad. I’m now trying to get to around 30,000 by Christmas. That’s a third of a novel, in 2 months. Which should mean I can complete it by end April. No, let’s say end May, as I have a couple of week’s holiday at Easter in which I won’t get any writing done.

Then I’ll allow myself until the end of September to edit and polish the novel. Come October, a year after beginning it, it should be ready for submission to agents. This timescale, if I achieve it, will be substantially quicker than the last novel which took about 16 months to get to the submission-ready stage.

In October, I’m also planning on running the Bournemouth half-marathon. Eek! Much training required, as well as much writing!

It’ll soon be New Year, and as always I will set myself a series of writing and fitness resolutions. And I’ll publish them here. If you make resolutions, do tell people about them. That way, you’ll be constantly asked how you’re getting on with them, and it helps motivate you to continue. Well, it works for me.

Do goals and deadlines work for you? Do you have any tips for setting them? Now’s a good time to think about this, so in January you can set yourself some brilliant goals and make 2014 the year it happens for you!