Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ready, Set, Goals!

By Rich

Though the date on your 50 Shades of Days calendar says the end of January, it's not too late to put together a list of goals for 2013. I'm sorry, you say you have a list? Let me see it...hmmm, produce three novels by the end of the year; get an average of 250 million hits on your blog; hire a vampire to suck the life energy out of Amanda Hocking.

Okay, let's get serious - there are no vampires currently for hire. Believe me, I checked. Plus, these goals are a bit of a stretch. Well, I guess it could be done if you had a constant supply of Red Bull being fed to you intravenously. Of course, your brain would melt through your ears when it was all done, but it would be well worth it when you saw your novel proudly displayed in the front of the bookstore before incomprehension and drooling set in.

Authors tend to think in ginormous terms when it comes to their annual goals. A week later, they decide their goals are unreachable and spend the rest of the year looking for cute squirrel videos on YouTube. Don't fret, because I have a few guidelines to help you set up responsible and achievable goals.

Think small - Maybe completion of three, 100 thousand word novels about a young hamster granted magical powers by the ancient Roman gods is a bit too ambitious. Instead, concentrate your goal on completing the initial draft of the first book in this series. Also, think about a regular schedule of blog posts to increase your audience at a gradual pace.

Go monthly - There's every chance you'll forget some of the goals you set in January until November pushes its way into December. Think of your goals in quarterly or bi-annual chunks rather than the entire 365 day range. This will make them seem more attainable and give you the chance to carve out the allotted time for completion.

Reward yourself - After you've completed one or a number of goals, take a moment to treat yourself. And by treating yourself I'm not talking about something you normally do. Place a notation beside each goal of a unique reward you'll want to give yourself for completing it. Maybe a night on the town, dinner at a place you never go to, or eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. Whatever you choose, refresh yourself before tackling your next writing task.

Do you have a list of writing goals for 2013? Let us know.


Jenny said...

I have had a running list of writing goals since the band A Flock of Seagulls was popular. The goals change a little from year to year. Not as much as one might think. It's kind of my version of the movie Groundhog Day.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I love giving myself rewards for completed tasks, but I need to find something less fattening than ice cream, chocolates, and scones.

Cupcake Murphy said...

I take time on Sunday evening and write down what I aim to accomplish in the upcoming week. I also ask myself "How can I create more momentum for myself today/this week/right now?"

Lynn said...

I like your idea of taking the year in shorter chunks. Like, in the next ten minutes I will...

Jane Louise Boursaw said...

Good thoughts. I'm just trying to get through January at the moment.

Jennifer Willis said...

Great advice! I try to set goals that can be broken down into smaller steps. It helps to make the goal more realistic and attainable -- and less intimidating.

I also strive to make each of these smaller action items measurable by adding details and attaching deadlines. For instance, the more general goal of "increase blog traffic" might become "attract XXXX hits per month by DATE" or "attract XXX new subscribers by DATE."

For me at least, it's also important not to be too ambitious. When the bar is set too high -- or I've simply scheduled too much to achieve in not enough time -- it's easy to take failure to heart and to give up. I've learned to scale back my plans a bit to give myself more breathing room. This helps me to get more done and to use that satisfaction as motivation to tackle what comes next.

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