Goals. When you put them on paper and stick to the plan good things happen. I exceeded my writing goals in 2009 and I hope to do so again this year. I have three finished short stories that I'll be submitting to journals over the course of the year. But the big fish in 2010 is writing and finishing a novel.
I've never had a goal to write and finish a novel. Thus far in my writing life I've focused on short stories. Not this year. I'm dedicating January and February to research. Reading novels and stories similar to what I want to write and researching late 1800's London and the wild American west. Oh, and outlining the story so I have a road map. In March I plan to start writing the novel and hopefully by August I'll have a working rough draft. I'll spend the rest of the year revising and hopefully by January 2011 I'll have a manuscript to send to agents