Sunday Style: Reign It In

At the beginning of the year, I set out some very specific writing goals for myself. I broke them into quarterly action items (oh, so corporate, I know) so that they would be more achievable.

March 31 marks the end of the first quarter for this calendar year. I had ten goals for the last three months around writing in terms of word count, online presence and the business side (tracking payment, etc.). In looking over my list tonight, I have some, ahem, places to focus this month. So far this quarter I have met three out of ten goals…that leaves seven.

Why am I lagging in meeting some of these goals?

  • I’ve made strides in areas I didn’t capture in my original goals, but I have to admit that I’m also getting a little distracted by those new interests. I need to make sure to follow my original intention before I get too carried away elsewhere. However, I am going to add a section to my goal sheet where I can track “other items” as they come along so that a) I can remember progress and b) evaluate how often I am getting off track.
  • I’m wondering if some of my goals were the right ones. For example, I planned to send two letters of introduction (LOI) to two different publications. Those publications don’t include essays in their format, so I wonder if I’m actually a good fit for them. Are the topics they cover of interest to me as a writer, or just as a reader? I need to evaluate and possibly find other publications which might be better fits and send the LOI to them.
  • I’m finding that when it comes to my major fiction project, I’m waffling. What do I really want to do? I have several ideas in my head — some of them YA, some of them adult, all of them different stories. All of them started in some way or another — outlines, pages, chapters. I need to pick one story, commit and go. Go. Go. Go. (My goal in this area was 20,000 words, that makes 18,181 to go before the end of the quarter.)

I’ve been reviewing my list periodically over the last three months. But what I’ve learned tonight is that it helps me to be a little public about my goals (not too public, mind you, but a little). It’s an added level of accountability, kind of like a performance review at work, that can really motivate me to get some stuff done. Look for a final report on March 31.

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2 Responses to Sunday Style: Reign It In

  1. Jesaka Long says:

    Hey Liz, I break my goals down by quarters, too! Guess some habits are just hard to break. But I like doing it that way because it helps give me a view of where I’m at in relation to my yearly goals and lets me shift as needed, based on what’s actually happening. Can’t wait for your final report!

  2. Liz says:

    You are so right, Jesaka. Having something to review by quarter not only makes goals seem more achievable but allows us to revise/shift as we necessary. I’m off to get those 20,000 words :)!

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