In the process of setting my goals for 2015, I realized how much magic there is in writing them down—and I don’t mean just randomly choosing goals and then giving ourselves a due date. That doesn’t work. The magic comes when we dig deep.
Here’s my process in case it helps you:
Tip # 1: Brainstorm and write it down
First, I grab a legal pad and have one page for each of the following areas of my life: business, writing, health, and hobbies. For each category, I write down the goals I want to have accomplished by the end of 2015. And, if necessary, I break the goals down into different categories.
For example, in my writing life, I have prose goals and poetry goals. My prose goals for 2015 are to finish and publish my fantasy novel and then edit and finish my memoir. And then to be writing down ideas for my next book. All great goals. But I need to chunk them down and make them doable.
For my fantasy manuscript, my first goal is to finish my first draft. How many words per day/per week/per month can I realistically do while I work fulltime? Figure it out and set a date. Once my first draft is done, what’s next? Implement my marketing plan while I take time to revise and edit. I continue writing down the next action step in my plan until I can see all the parts to the whole.
Tip # 2: Look forward to events
Look forward to events that can be used as goal dates. For example, the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Conference is in July this year. What would happen if I had my book ready and published in order to market at that event? The idea excites me! It feels good. Can I realistically meet this goal? With hard work and focus, I think it’s doable. Now, I work backwards from this date and plan accordingly. Read more
The new year is here, and it’s natural to think of how we can make a fresh start. Enter New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, researchers* have found resolutions often don’t stick.
The problem with most resolutions are that they’re too general. The top five for 2014 were:
- Lose weight
- Get organized
- Spend less, save more
- Enjoy life to the fullest
- Stay fit and healthy.
You can probably see that without specific tactics, it’s hard to achieve these resolutions.
The numbers people at Statistic Brain reported that 2014 research from University of Scranton, Journal of Clinical Psychology, indicated that only 8% of people who make resolutions achieve them, 49% have infrequent success, and 24% fail each year.
Is there something you want to do better? A habit you want to add to your daily routine? Try adopting tiny habits, a program started by social scientist and part-time Stanford professor BJ Fogg. This is the thinking behind Fogg’s Tiny Habits program:
Instead of large, sweeping goals, consider how adopting small habits over time can result in lasting, automatic behavioral changes. The beauty of habits is that they are automatic and creating more automatic behaviors makes change effortless. Read more
Want to write a novel in the month of July? Well, now you can thanks to Camp NaNoWriMo. Based on November’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), Camp NaNoWriMo provides the online support, tracking tools, and hard deadline to help you write the rough draft of your novel in a month… other than November.
Not ready to write a novel in a month? No problem. You can use the support and deadlines of Camp NaNoWriMo to set other big writing goals–edit a manuscript, finish a first draft or finish a second draft. I even know a man who’s going to use this month to write one new poem a day.
Whatever your writing goals this month, check out the website and see how you can use it to reach your targets.
While you’re at it, check out these past links about how to write a novel in a month:
NaNoWriMo or not, boost your word count
How keeping a writing practice list can increase your NaNoWriMo word count
Sending out a query letter, sharing our writing with a critique group, or even sending a finished manuscript can be scary. The stakes are high: What if we receive negative feedback or are rejected?
It’s easy to get stuck. But doing nothing just breeds more fear, doubt and regret.
What you should know is that for every bad thing that can happen, so can something good. If you’re in a respectful critique group, you’ll hear what’s good about your work, as well as ideas to enhance it. If an agent declines to represent you, you’ll likely receive some bit of feedback that can help you target your proposal differently the next time. Ultimately, you have more information to work with. Read more
As mentioned in my previous blog post, “How to use writing contests to reach your goals,” I’ve been entering contests this year to build up my publication credits. And, it’s starting to pay off.
So far, I’ve earned 8th place for poetry in the 2012 Writer’s Digest Annual Contest and this weekend I received more good news—I’m a finalist in two categories at an upcoming writers’ conference!
Even if I don’t win one of the top spots, being a finalist means I’ll get special recognition and an invite to attend an agent and editor gathering with the other finalists. Before the conference, I’ll be thinking about what I want to get out of the conference and put together my Action Plan.
My hubby and I do this before every seminar we attend for our business–we discuss what we want to take home from the seminar and also what we want to give to others while at the conference and after the conference.
Here’s an example of my writer’s Action Plan: Read more
A big component of setting and achieving our goals is being able to see ourselves already there. In high school, I ran track and set the school mile. In cross-country, I often placed in the top three. One of my secrets was visualization. Before every meet, I’d visualize myself running the race and winning. Mentally, it prepared me for the road or track ahead.
I have big goals in my writing life but, in my hectic schedule, I often forget about the benefits of visualization. Recently, I discovered a great goal-setting app for my iPhone called Aspire Goals. According to Aspire, achieving goals is 80% mental and only 20% actual activity. Read more
I’ve been on a contest kick lately. In my post about using a calendar to keep track of upcoming contests, I mentioned that part of my overall writing plan for 2012 is to submit to more contests and send my work out to be published in literary journals and magazines.
What I’m discovering as I do this is that the mini-deadlines are giving me just what I need to reach my larger goals. For example, I’ve been wanting to compile my first poetry manuscript for the last couple of years, but I just “never got around to it.” So, when my writing partner, Carly, emailed me a contest that she thought I might want to enter, I chose that contest deadline as the deadline to finally compile my manuscript. And I did it. And through that process, I learned so much and became motivated to think about what themes I want to explore in my next book of poetry. Read more