We’re in December, within a few short (mad) weeks, 2016 will be no more. What did you achieve this year? Did you achieve one or more of your writing goals? Whether you did or not, 2017 is a brand new year.
Writing goals: dreams with deadlines
Everyone creates New Year’s resolutions. Sadly, most of our resolutions never make it past the second week of January. No matter how many or how few goals you achieved in 2016, make “goal setting” a goal for 2017. Here’s why. You’ll achieve more when you set goals.
Let’s look at some quick tips to help.
1. Set a goal to draft more, to write more: conquer the blank computer screen
You’re a writer. Writing is always your primary goal. If procrastination is a challenge for you (it’s certainly one of mine… :-)) set a goal to create more drafts. When you draft a project — even if your “draft” is just a paragraph, you’ve conquered inertia.
In this post on goal setting, I suggested:
“The more drafts you create of anything, the better. You can do something once you’ve started. If your computer screen is blank, it will stay blank.”
Read that post for more on drafting.
By the way, I’m using “drafting” in the sense of planning, rather than writing the first version of something or other. Please don’t plan in your head. Get words onto the screen. (Or paper, if you wish.)
2. Create process goals which lead to achievement goals (make learning part of your process)
A process goal is something like: “write two blog posts a week”, or “write 500 words of my novel every day.” You have control of your process goals.
Achievement goals on the other hand, depend on outside factors. “Sell 100 copies of my ebook on publication day” is an achievement goal. You may have 5,000 people on your mailing list, but you have zero control over how many ebooks you sell on any day… or ever, for that matter. 🙂
You need achievement goals, but you can’t control your results. With process goals on the other hand, the results are up to you.
3. Visualize everything — if you can’t “see” it, you won’t achieve it
Your imagination is powerful. No matter how many goals you set, if you can’t imagine yourself achieving them, you won’t achieve them.
Spend a little time day dreaming every day.
Imagine what would happen if you achieve a goal. Can you imagine it?
Pay attention to yourself. You have an inner guidance system which will help you to achieve your goals.
Let’s say you want to publish a novel. Your goal is: “on June 30, 2017, I publish my novel.”
Now day dream as often as you can each day; just for a few minutes. Write down the results of each session. If you get an impulse to do something — read something, learn something, contact someone… after a day dreaming session, do it. Your intuition is powerful, and it will guide you, if you allow it.
4. Create watch words to say to yourself: they make all the difference
We all chatter to ourselves mentally. Most of that inner chatter is harmless. Some of it is harmful if we constantly obsess about challenges, or other people, or things that annoy us.
Choose a couple of watch words to say to yourself. Your words be be anything at all: write, calm, happy, goals, energy, passion…
Some goal setters choose a word for their year. You can do that, or you can change your word, or words, every week.
My words are usually: write, relax.
Choose two words, and write them on sticky notes. Put the notes where you’ll see them — on your computer monitor, your bathroom mirror, on your car’s dashboard — until you build the habit of saying your watch words silently to yourself as you go through your day.
Try it. Your watch words can help you to achieve your goals.
5. Track! Schedule a weekly goal review session
I ordered the Passion Planner for 2017. I’ve no connection with the company, but I’ve heard good things about the planner, and I need something to help me to brainstorm and track my goals more effectively.
Currently I use Trello, Evernote and a couple of spreadsheets to track and review my goals, and I want to try something different in 2017. The Passion Planner sounds like it will be fun to use.
How you track and review your goals is up to you. That said, reviewing and tracking is essential. Make it fun, so that you look forward to your goal reviews, and enjoy them. I suggest that you review your goals weekly, so that you make sure that you’re doing a little something related to your primary goal every day.
“How many writing goals should I create for 2017?”
When my writing students ask this, I suggest that you create no more than three goals for your writing. If you create more than three, you’ll spread yourself too thin. If you’re working a day job, create just one goal for your writing in 2017.
Onward… 2017 will be here before we know it. 🙂
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