• Miles O'Neal

Milestones vs Goals


Milemarker for Interstate 580 in western USA, with mountains (goals) in the background

I'm on author Dan Koboldt's email list. His new year's eve email included the nugget below based on something Tobias Buckell (another author) recently said. It's important in life, in publishing, and in creating.

Milestones versus Goals

Around this time of year, many people look back at what they accomplished, or set goals for what they'd like to do in the year ahead. If you're one of those people, I recommend you read "Writers and Pellets", a wonderful essay by Caribbean-born sci-fi author Tobias Buckell.

In it, he stresses the importance of milestones versus goals. Milestones -- things like signing an agent, selling a book, or winning an award -- are generally things that are decided by external forces that we don't control. The issue is that writers, artists, and creators often obsess over why we fail to reach a certain milestone, when it's generally not something we had control over in the first place.

In contrast, goals are things that we do control. Things like finishing a revision, engaging more with the community, or starting a new book. Those are three goals I've set for myself in the coming year.

I'm not one for new year resolutions; I tend to deal with life as it comes, making adjustments (both big and small) as necessary. That said, I do have goals and I recognize milestones. One of my goals is to get to the point where I can make my living writing. Sub-goals for this are mostly marketing-related and include:

  1. developing an overall marketing plan (in progress);

  2. coming up with and sticking to a blog schedule (first pass in place for at least a month and a half);

  3. continue learning about marketing and analytics (in progress);

  4. determine what to out-source to effectively manage costs (contingent upon the overall plan).

Other goals include getting audiobooks made for each book in the series. Another is a surprise that's been on hold until I can find the right supplier. Note that my first goal (making a living from writing) is not entirely in my control, but I have enough control that it qualifies, so long as I don't let others define my path to it.

Milestones last year include:

  1. getting reviewed by a blogger;

  2. getting interviewed by that blogger;

  3. making the Amazon best seller list, however briefly;

  4. finishing The Dragon Lord Chronicles!

What are your goals this year? What are your milestones from last year?

Copyright 2019 Miles O'Neal, Round Rock, TX Illustration from Nevada DOT site, assumed public domain

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