This sparkly, brand-spanking-new year is just begging for some bright, shimmery writing goals. With goals we will soar. We will fly! We will publish all our lovely books!
We will crash and burn if we neglect to take a moment to root our new goals in our current progress. For success it is paramount to build a bridge between last year’s product and this year’s dream. How do we construct this bridge?
St Francis of Assisi said, "Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
Ask yourself, from where you are right now, what is necessary to move forward. Towards the end of December, I pulled out my yearly goals and checked off the tasks accomplished. I reflected on what worked, and what didn’t. I took a moment to acknowledge and celebrate the big-ticket items – a novel revised, a synopsis written, a second draft of a new novel completed. I contemplated the items that didn’t get checked off. What will these projects look like in the new year? Are they still a priority?
Asking these questions helped me determine what is necessary for me to move forward. These immediate tasks include final revisions on a YA novel; deep revisions, even possible rewrites on two picture book manuscripts after input from critique groups; and revisions on a middle grade manuscript.
Once I have finished these tasks, what will be possible? What is the practical next step? I could submit the picture books and the YA novel. So, another goal is to come up with submission plans for those manuscripts.
Now that you have dreamed necessary, practical and are-you-kidding-me?, it’s time to fit those goals into the year. I use a goals calendar.
- Cross off days that will be unavailable for writing. This visual representation of your possible writing time gives you a clear scope of the year and helps you plan projects in the right season. I have learned I cannot plot and draft in the summer when my kids are home, and that the fall and spring are better for more intense projects. Also keep family vacations and business responsibilities in mind. If you have a book coming out in the fall, you will mostly likely not be drafting during that time.
- Tightly plot out the first 6 months of the calendar. Pencil in the last half of the year, because life is unpredictable.
- Revaluate after 6 months and adjust your calendar accordingly. Again, ask yourself what is necessary to move forward? What is possible in your time constraint and with your resources? And what about those impossible dreams? Plan for them. Chase them!
- I reward myself with a smiley face sticker on my calendar when I have accomplished a task. It is motivating to see all those smiles
Yes, we will soar. We will fly! And we will do the impossible.