Happy New Year! I hope you had a lovely holiday that included some rest, treats, and time with loved ones.
Now is the moment to shake off the holiday cookies, keep the joy and settle into your writing spot. You can be your own administrative assistant who organizes and encourages you to meet your goals. Here are some tips:
LIST YOUR LONG TERM GOALSWhat are you working towards? When do you want to accomplish those goals? Do you want to write, edit and submit an essay? Write a full manuscript and submit it to agents? Start a writing practice by journaling every day? Write your goals down. Give yourself a final deadline. Know that you can and will reach that deadline step by step.
LIST YOUR SHORT TERM GOALSIf you sit down to work on your long term goals and only see, "write my book!' written in cursive at the top of the page, you are more likely to finish your laundry than start working on your book. Break down the large project into small chunks with deadlines. For example, maybe you want to complete some research this month and finish the outline and the opening chapter by the following the month.
List the actual steps that it will take to reach your goals. Read this post for some tips on what to short term goals to include.
SCHEDULE YOUR WRITING TIMEAt the start of last year, I wrote about trusting your calendar. If you schedule the time you have to write, you will be more likely to leave those hours free and focused on writing.
END YOUR WRITING TIME WELLDedicate the last ten minutes of each writing session making a very short term to-do list. Do you need to research a city? Does a particular scene need more dialogue? Is there a contest you want to submit work to? This list will help you to use shorter periods of time more effectively and to better jump into your writing project.
PERIODICALLY CHECK-INThe beginning of a new year is a natural fresh beginning. I recommend checking-in to see how you are progressing every three months. Here are some tips on how to do a self-evaluation of your writing process.
SAY, "NO" SOMETIMESMany writers are balancing a day job - or juggle a few day jobs - and a personal life with a writing life. You will need to say, "no" to things. This piece, "How to Say No to Taking on More Work" offers some great times. One friend recommends keeping a list of all the things you say, "no" to during the year to review at the end of the year.
WHERE TO KEEP YOUR LIST?I'm a big fan of using my computer's calendar program to block off time to write. I also regularly update a word processing document titled, "Writing To Do List" which lists both the large and small goals.
I haven't tried it yet, but I'm interested in the Bullet Journal, which helps you to prioritize and see the different categories your (overall) to-do list might include.
If you are looking for individualized help setting goals and meeting them, I am accepting a few new clients this February. You can read more about my writing coach services here. Email me to discuss our first appointment (chloemiller(at)gmail(dot)com.