01/02/2014 11:23 am ET Updated Mar 04, 2014

Set Goals, Not Resolutions: First Year in Print

It's that time again when social media is flooded with personal reflections of the year, and the resolutions that will occur in the following year.

This year, as I did last year, I am setting goals, not making resolutions. I advise you to do the same.

At the end of 2012, I set the modest goal of getting published in any sort of way in 2013. I was in the final stretch of my undergraduate studies at that point, and that spring my goal was achieved.

When I say I accomplished what I set out to do, I don't mean that I was successful with writing, and to this day I am still not where I want to be, but I reached that little goal in the form of a series of book and entertainment reviews for my university's newspaper.

By the end of the spring semester I was published a dozen times. I was feeling optimistic about the future mainly because of my determination to turn little successes into motivation for larger achievements.

My fiction workshop professor told me that my short story was good, but the ending was not quite right, advising me to tweak it radically in order to create a quality piece of short fiction.

In order to please, I submitted the story with edits for my final portfolio, but decided to submit it for publication in its original form to various outlets.

Summer came, along with multiple rejections. At that point, I had numerous rejections for different stories as well but I was determined that this one would make it to publication.

In June, I received an email that "Without Faith and Love" would be published in Cigale Literary Magazine in its summer issue.

Another little victory for my writing in 2013.

While all of this was happening, I was at work on a novel, then another, while feeling the anxiety of the lull after publication.

I went back to writing short pieces by fall after having an interesting experience with a rather famous novelist that prompted me to write an opinionated story about young writers.

In the final weeks of 2013, I edited my third novel, and began the process of sending out query letters which are still currently awaiting responses.

My goals for 2013 were reached and passed. For 2014, I am laying out a larger goal, one that I have been working towards for the past few years, getting one of my novels accepted for publication.

I am starting the process of writing another book while still working on the ones that have yet to find an audience. Of course, I still consider myself to be an aspiring writer, and will in all likelihood, be one for some time, but the goal is to make a career out of it.

Each year, I have taken a small step forward towards that dream. If you take yourself seriously as a writer, then little victories become large triumphs on the path to a writing career. I know I have a long road ahead of me, but 2014 is a new year, one that was built from what I learned and achieved in 2013. I'm getting closer.

Set goals, not resolutions. Writing is hard, and writing in hopes for any amount of success is a crazy thing to believe in. But crazy things happen all the time, right?