Writing Goals for 2023
By Lindsay Zier-Vogel
I love the clean slate of a new year—the new, unsullied notebooks, the expanse of the year stretching out full of potential, and how everything feels possible. As I was thinking about what I wanted for the year, the first thing I thought was, “BOOK DEALS! Plural!” And then I had to remind myself that, as I learned in 2022, that tying my writerly identity to publishing wins is not healthy and that I have much more control over writing and writing-adjacent tasks, than I do publishing. And so, I cracked open a brand-new notebook and started making a list of writing (NOT publishing) goals for the year.
Here are a few of my 2023 goals:
Creating a reading list
I’m in the early stages of a new novel, and decided that my first task for the new year would be finding all the dance-related books and putting them on hold at the library. I haven’t read any of them yet, but even having a list of books to explore felt like a huge step in the right direction.
Write a list of potential grants
January is a perfect time to see what grants are available and write them in your calendar so deadlines don’t sneak up on you. (Note: The Marion Hebb Research Grant is due in February, and the Canada Council’s Research & Creation grant is due the first week of April!) And if you’re looking for where to start, I’ve written a few grant tips here and here!
Starting a newsletter
My writing pal, and fellow Open Book Columnist Vikki Vansickle kicked off the year with a brand-new newsletter, with a giveaway for her upcoming book, and inspired me to get my newsletter back off the ground. With Twitter in a sort of nebulous free fall, a newsletter can be a great way to connect and build your audience, and is a great writing outlet!
Researching residency opportunities
My life with small kiddos isn’t particularly conducive to writing residencies, but a writing friend applies to six residencies a year, and though it means a bunch of rejections, there’s also the potential for acceptances. (And, she’s writing in the backwoods of Maine right now!)
This is my least favourite writerly task, but I also know I’ll feel a thousand times more accomplished when I’ve updated my website with updates from last year, and anything new that’s coming up.
Updating your artistic CV and bio
The start of the year is a great time to gather up all of your 2022 publishing wins and update your artistic CV, and bio. This way, when there are grants, or applications, or you’ve got work to submit, you’ve already got one piece out of the way.
I’ve decided that 2023 is the year to invest in some professional development. There are PD grants with the Canada Council, and there are also amazing workshops available through the Flying Books School of Reading and Writing, The Writer’s Union of Canada, and The Fold’s Webinar Academy (Note: Webinars are free at The Fold! I’m facilitating a grant writing workshop in March!)
Find a collaborator
January can feel so dark and lonely, and one thing I’ve just started is starting up a poetry exchange with a friend. It’s low stakes—a once a week sharing of a poem to read and a poem we write (more draft of a poem, or sketch towards a poem, but poem-ish nonetheless). It’s keeping the doldrums of the winter at bay, and reminding me of the joy of language play.
Join a writing group
Do you have a manuscript-in-process? Are you starting a new project? Are you turning your NaNoWriMo project? A new year is a great time to join a writing group! (Here are some tips!)
None of the above
Also, don’t forget that doing absolutely none of the above, and burrowing under blankets and waiting until the sun returns is also a perfect way to start the new year…!
If you liked this column, check out Vikki VanSickle's tips on how to Shake Up Your Writing Routine in 2023! And the work of our other fantastic contributors.
The views expressed by Open Book columnists are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book.
Lindsay Zier-Vogel is a Toronto-based writer, arts educator and the creator of the internationally acclaimed Love Lettering Project. After studying contemporary dance, she received her MA in Creative Writing from the University of Toronto. Her writing has been widely published in Canada and the U.K. Since 2001, she has been teaching creative writing workshops in schools and communities. Her hand-bound books are housed in the permanent collection at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library in Toronto. As the creator of the Love Lettering Project, Lindsay has asked people all over the world to write love letters to their communities and hide them for strangers to find, spreading place-based love. Lindsay also writes children’s books. Because of The Love Lettering Project, CBC Radio has deemed Lindsay a “national treasure.” Letters to Amelia is her first book.