Friday, December 18, 2015

Setting Writing Goals for 2016: Trust Your Calendar

Winter sunset over the Potomac River in Georgetown in Washington, D.C.

The new year can mark a fresh start. Rely on your calendar to find time to write in 2016. What do you want to accomplish? More importantly, what steps do you need to take to accomplish those goals? Schedule it all in your calendar and make it happen. 

Just as I schedule time to meet paid work deadlines, I schedule regular blocks of time to write, edit and submit writing. Give your projects the time and respect they deserve by focusing on them regularly. Even if your creative writing is unpaid, as it often is, think of it as a job that requires you to literally put in the required hours. 

Start by getting organized in early January. Make a list of your goals and mark deadlines in your calendar. Then, schedule regular time - daily, weekly or monthly - to focus on your project. You know from earlier accomplishments that small steps towards the goal will result in meeting your goal. 

If I didn't make the time, the time simply wouldn't be there. It is easy to avoid writing, as there's always more laundry to do. Of course, sometimes an emergency comes up and it isn't possible to write. Give yourself the space to be flexible as necessary. But if you are putting off your writing for too long, go back to step one and reassess your plan. What needs to be moved to make it possible to write? 

Be reasonable about your schedule. What times of day do you have available to you? Where can you work? When do you have the clearest mind? Some people will go to a writing residency for a month every summer, others write on the weekends and other write in the early or late hours when their children are sleeping. Use your answers to craft a schedule that works best for you. 

If you need feedback on your writing, deadlines and writing prompts, I have time available in 2016 to take on some new writing coach clients. You can read more about my services here. We can work together to address the needs and questions you have. I primarily teach online and have a flexible schedule to work around yours. If you are writing memoir, you might be interested in my weekly memoir writing workshop in February at Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C.

For more new year motivation, here is last year's post on setting writing goals.