I have a single writing goal, and it's been the same each year for several years: To receive an average of one acceptance per week over the course of the year.
Some years I achieve or exceed my goal, some years I don't.
Some years I alter my approach, in part to see what impact a new approach might have on my ability to write and sell, and sometimes simply as a reaction to changes in the marketplace. For example, last year I saw the demise or scaling back of several publications where I had previously placed multiple short stories, publications I could count on for several acceptances over the course of any given year.
Last year I made three changes:
1. I targeted one high-paying publication to which I had never sold anything and wrote several stories targeted specifically for that publication. The result: 12 rejections. (One of those stories sold this year, without revision, to a much lower-paying publication.)
2. I targeted a genre in which I had only a handful of sales over the previous 30+ years. The result: Nine acceptances, two rejections, and one editor who likes my stuff so much he asked to include my name as a probable contributor in an anthology proposal he's currently pitching.
3. I wrote and submitted more to a group of publications where I'm a long-established contributor. The result: 23 acceptances, 17 rejections.
(Of course, several stories that I submitted last year under points 2 and 3 above have not yet generated responses.)
One other thing I started doing late last year and hope to continue this year is an attempt to write and sell at least one short story tied to each month of the year. As I mentioned in a previous post, I've often done well with Christmas and Valentine's Day stories, but there are many other holidays and events throughout the year that might generate story ideas and story themes.
So far I've had three January stories published (all tied to New Year's) and two February stories published (both tied to Valentine's Day). I've placed three March stories (two tied to St. Patrick's Day, the other tied to Spring Break), and I've submitted two more Spring Break stories. I've also submitted two April stories (both tied to Easter) and two May stories (one tied to Mother's Day, the other to Memorial Day). This is an interesting challenge and it's going to be fun to see if I can actually do it.
Beyond that, I plan to use my uncommitted writing time for fiction and don't anticipate actively seeking additional editing, non-fiction, advertising or public relations assignments because my current clients keep me busy with these kinds of projects.
In the end, though, while my approach may have shifted a bit, my goal remains the same as each previous year: 52 acceptances.
I have two already; only 50 to go!