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Rated: E · Letter/Memo · Personal · #2289571
A letter to myself setting goals for 2023.
My Letter for 2023

Dear Me,

We need to discuss the matter of goals. Yes, I know you never set goals but this is important.

Consider for a moment the reason you prefer to live life without a plan. Is it because you want to feel free to change direction whenever you feel like it? Or is that just a reaction to the way life treats you, a rationalisation of what actually happens? Perhaps you think that a goal is just an invitation to failure? But you know the old saying: whoever never failed at something, never did anything.

Maybe you’ve never really thought about your dislike of goal-setting. But I have a pressing reason for introducing the subject. If there’s a time for setting a goal or two, it happens to be now.

It’s all about short story writing, you see. I know that you’ve been worried for months now about the dearth of stories lately. And with good reason. Let’s have a look at some statistics from previous years.

Stories Written and Posted in the Portfolio

2019 and Earlier 17
2020 56
2021 47
2022 21
2023 so far 01

A whole month passed and only one short story written (and not the best you’ve ever written, at that). At that rate you’ll manage 12 this year if you’re lucky. I don’t have to tell you how pathetic that is.

Oh, I know, I’ve heard all the excuses. I’m fully aware that you’ve been devoured by the Great Poetry Monster for over a year now. That accounts for the sudden drop in story output last year, of course. But you can’t allow poetry to keep on hogging all the creative juices like this. You need to get control of the whole thing and introduce some balance again.

We both know that writing prose is important to us. There is no way you could ever just let it go with lame excuses that you’re getting too old, or that you’ll be content with just poetry. So it’s time to sit up and do something about the situation.

This is where the subject of goals comes up. Everyone (and I mean everyone) seems to agree that setting goals is the way to achieve them. Provided that they’re realistic, of course. So let us consider what sort of number we’re going to demand of ourselves.

We already know that 12 is way below what would satisfy us. And 50 is probably a bit too optimistic. Let’s set the bar somewhere about halfway between the two. Thirty-six is eminently doable. That’s only about three per month, for pete’s sake. You ought to be able to do that. And yes, I realise that you’re going to have to do a little more than that to make up for January’s paltry offering. You’ll get over it.

So we have a goal of at least 36 short stories for 2023. Where is the inspiration for these to come from? You’re just going to have to cut down on the poetry a bit. Not all the way, mind you. I don’t want to wind up the year by you bemoaning the fact that you can’t write poetry anymore. Keep it going but at a less obsessive rate.

That can be another goal, in fact, to keep the poetry flowing but at a reduced rate. We could set a minimum number, perhaps. One a day for Express It In Eight is pushing things a bit anyway. Plus the folder is getting perilously close to the maximum allowed and I don’t want to start a new one. Let’s say the allowance for that is 100 from now.

Then Lilli’s Promptly Poetry Challenge is going to need 20 more this year. Which would bring the total up to 120. And I’ll allow you ten spontaneously generated ones. That’s 130 which surely must be a reasonable figure.

There’s just one more goal that I must insist upon. This goals thing must be taken seriously. It’s not a matter of new year’s resolutions that can be made one day and forgotten the next. Writing this has fixed it in your mind and you won’t be able to ignore it as the year progresses. If it pressurises you a bit that’s good. You know that you respond pretty well to pressure. Some of your best pieces have been written at the last moment.

Don’t take this as a reason to relax until December, however. That list we’ve created is onerous enough to require constant attention and effort. And you know you’ll be happier when (I don’t say “if” please note) you can look back on a successful year due entirely to your own determination.

So here are the goals we’re agreed on:

1. Write at least 36 short stories in 2023.
2. Reduce poetry writing to a maximum of 130 for the year.
3. Be serious about these goals and keep returning to them.

Now I’ll sign it for both of us. You can add your real name when you achieve all three of the goals.


Word count: 841
For Dear Me Official WDC Contest, January 2023
Prompt: Write a letter to yourself and tell you what your goals are for 2023!

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