Last Movie Watched: Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
Latest Song on The Ipod: Desensitized by Invertigo
Every month when my writing group meet, we’ve gotten into the habit of setting writing goals. We check what’s been done that current month, then set our goals for the next one. We may not achieve all we’ve set out to do but it does ensure we get at least something done. And every December we devote some time to goal setting for the following year.
I never used to set goals. “I can’t tie myself down to a list,” was one excuse. “I can’t be bothered,” or “I’ll never meet them anyway,” were two more. But if you want to achieve something – writing a book, plotting a series, saving up for that holiday – then you need to have a plan.
So, how to set your goals. By following the SMART rule:
Specific: “I will complete my next historical manuscript by October.”
Measurable: “I will write x amount of words a week.”
Attainable: “I will get published this year” is NOT in your hands, so committing to this is a fast track to failure. Instead, focus on what you can control – your word count, where and when you submit your book, spending x hours on your writing.
Realistic: saying “I’ll write a chapter a day, every day” may seem like a noble goal, but if you have kids, a partner, sick relatives, a full-time job, etc, you may be overstretching. I write during school hours and after the gym, so realistically, my writing time is from 10.30-2.30pm, Monday to Friday. I have done midnight stretches when I’m on an editing deadline but I really hate doing that so I’m aiming to plan a bit better this year. 😀 I also like to use a weekly page goal, so I don’t beat myself up if life intervenes and stops me from writing every day.
Timely: give yourself a time frame or limit to aim for – by next week, next month, before conference.
While I make my goals for primarily writing-related things, you can apply it to almost anything – “I will exercise at least 3 times a week and cut down to one cup of coffee a day.” “I will tackle one drawer a day and have my wardrobe spring cleaned by the end of the month.”
Another important aspect of goal setting is to WRITE IT DOWN – on a list above the computer, in a diary, Outlook, wall calendar. Or, if you’re like me, all of them 😀 If I can’t see it, I forget about it. You can also enlist your partner/parent/writing group to keep you on track. But ensure you pose limits on their well-meaning, “have you written/gone to the gym/drunk your coffee today?” Because there’s nothing worse than someone who nags you about stuff you know you should be doing 😛
- I’ll complete two books by the end of school term 3 (October)
- I’ll finish a new proposal and begin querying agents by June
- I will post to my blog at least every two weeks
- I will design and develop two new promotional products for RWA’s conference (August)
- I’ll attend RWA’s national conference in August
- I’ll enrol in Theresa Meyer’s “Developing your Author Brand” on-line workshop (Feb)
- I’ll visit Harlequin’s Sydney office (Jan) and become more familiar with their roles and responsibilities
Craft Education (developing/strengthening skills)
- I will seek out online courses and/or workshops to develop my world-building skills
- I’ll begin a series of weekly blog posts on writing a book in three months (also listed under Outreach)
- I’ll read at least two new-to-me authors
Outreach (helping others)
- I will judge for at least one RWAust contest
- I will read for RWAmerica’s RITA contest
- I’ll begin a series of weekly blog posts on writing a book in three months
Whew! So there you have it. My goals for this year. Feel free to use my headings to set your own goals, and even make a mission statement about what you want to achieve this year. I’d love to hear yours!