posted on January 4, 2024 by Anna Grace

New Years Goals

Happy New Year! I hope 2024 is off to a swinging start. Did you set any goals on January 1?

Throughout my life I’ve had a shaky relationship with New Year’s Resolutions. I don’t love putting pressure on myself to make major changes in the dead of winter. On the other hand, setting goals and taking action toward them in January, when a lot of other people are doing the same, has obvious benefits.

It’s hard to believe, but on January 23, 2024, I will accomplish a goal I set on January 1, 2019.  While five years may seem like a long time to make good on a promise to myself, it was worth the wait.

Also, that’s less than 20 days away!!!

When I woke up that cold January morning in 2019, I set the intention of publishing a five-book series with a major publishing house. The first book in what would become Love, Oregon was already written, and I’d set up the main character with four flawed, loveable siblings that could certainly carry their own novels. That first draft of A Rancher Worth Remembering was far from perfect, and the series outline would go through numerous revisions, but  Love, Oregon had a name, and my intention to see all five books through to publication.

Obviously, this wasn’t a spur of the moment, champagne-inspired resolution. Being a romance novelist had been a goal since my teens. I got my first rejection letter from Harlequin in the 1990s, back when I was obsessively checking my physical mailbox for news, rather than my gmail account. By the time I made my 2019 resolution, I’d written several full length novels, and racked up rejections from editors and agents across the country. The response was always the same theme; we love your writing, but are unable to accept your manuscript for publication at this time.


Clearly, my strategy for getting published wasn’t working. I was spinning my wheels, spending my energy on the wrong projects, submitting to the wrong people. I was all action, no strategy. The time had come to change my tack. But while all that rejection was hard, making a change turned out to be even harder.

My 2019 goal was met not with a burst of energy and frenzied determination, but with consistent, small, strategic, and often scary steps in the right direction.

  • Attending my first writers’ conferences, where I was certain all the other writers could see I was a fraud.
  • Learning about trends and conventions in the romance industry, and coming to grips with the fact that my work wasn’t in alignment with either.
  • Pitching agents at online events, so nervous I could barely remember what my book was about.
  • Finding my forever critique partners, and learning to accept and build on their criticism.
  • Sending a query letter to my dream agency, then holding my breath as they asked for 50 pages, 100 pages, the full manuscript, then requested a meeting.
  • And finally watching my new agent send A Rancher Worth Remembering off to Harlequin, and knowing I’d done everything I could to create a book that would fit with the publisher’s needs, while remaining true to my voice and vision.

Needless to say, I’ve learned a lot over the last five years. To celebrate achieving my goal, I’m teaching an online class called Breaking into Category Romance. The Contemporary Romance Writers will host on January 13. The class goes over the basics of category romance, and explains how it can be a good entry point for authors who dream of a traditional, or self-published career. I summarize my painful mistakes so other authors can learn from them, skip to the head of the line, and create books publishers can’t wait to get their hands on.

If you’ve ever thought of writing for a Harlequin line, or another romance publisher, I’d love for you to join us on the 13th!

Click here to learn more: Breaking into Category Romance

With my writing career off and running, my New Year’s goals for 2024 aren’t quite so ambitious. I have four novels coming out this year (!) so any resolutions I make have to fit in around my writing career and work in education. “Keep my car clean,” a small, but as-of-yet unattainable goal tops the list, followed by “eat more whole grains.” I know in the future I’ll set big goals again, maybe on January 1 and maybe in the middle of June if the fancy strikes me. But the key to success will be the same: small consistent steps in the right direction.

Do you have New Year’s goals this year? I’d love to hear your plans, big or small.

Thank you to Writerspace for having me, and to all the readers who popped in. Comment below and be entered to win a copy of the first novel in my Love, Oregon series, A Rancher Worth Remembering. I’ll pick a winner on January 23!

Anna Grace

Anna Grace

Anna Grace justifies her espresso addiction by writing fun, modern romance novels in the early morning hours. Once the sun comes up you can find her teaching high school history, or outside with her adventure loving husband. Anna is a mediocre rock-climber, award-winning author, mom of two fun kids, and snack enthusiast. She lives rurally in Oregon, and travels to big cities whenever she gets the chance. Anna loves connecting with readers, you can find her on social media and at her website

Anna Grace Contest

Anna Grace is giving away copies of A RANCHER WORTH REMEMBERING and THE FIREFIGHTER'S RESCUE, the first two books in the Love, Oregon Series, along with a $10 Starbucks gift card, to one winner.

Enter Here

5 thoughts on “New Years Goals”

  1. Colleen C. says:

    I am just looking forward to reading as much as I can… 😀

  2. Rose Peck says:

    Hi Anna! I wondered what you’ve been up to and am happy to read this update! Congratulations on all your successes!
    I usually do a formal vision board or list of goals for new years, but haven’t don’t it yet.
    My only goal right now is: speak up even when I feel unsure or insecure.
    Happy 2024!

    1. Anna Grace says:

      Hi Rose! Great to hear from you 💕
      I love the idea of a vision board, and Yes! Here’s to speaking up and speaking out!
      I hope you’re doing well. Happy New Year!!

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