Ready, Goal-Set…Write!

The trusty journal itself

There have been distractions aplenty this past week: podcast episodes to catch up with, interesting documentaries to watch, March Madness, housework, and work-work. Honestly, though, when are there not distractions readily available?

I’ve come to the conclusion that, in order to counteract these distractions, I need more structure in my writing life. I think part of the reason I find myself so distracted as of late and so frequently putting off writing in favor of accomplishing other tasks is that I’ve been grouping writing into a category of ‘things I really enjoy doing, but that I can only do once I tick other not-so-enjoyable duties off my list’. Obviously writing is an activity which I greatly enjoy, but for me to think of it just as a hobby and not also as a priority is a mistake. I do not only want to write for enjoyment and catharsis, but I also want to write for ultimate contribution to the literary world. I want to get my words out there for others to read and enjoy and re-read many times over.

To do that, I’m going to need some structure in my process. Structure has helped me to succeed in my writing efforts in the past, so I’m depending on it to carry me into next month and Camp NaNoWriMo (a version of National Novel Writing Month that happens in April as opposed to November). With that being said, I have attempted to lay out some goals for myself for today, the remainder of March, the month of April/Camp NaNoWriMo, and beyond. I’ve deliberately tried to challenge myself, but, at the same time, to keep the goals realistic. It’s not good for me to make my goals so difficult and time-consuming that they’re impossible to complete in a reasonable time period. My doing so will only result in a lack of self-confidence for the next several months, which most certainly will be a killer of further productivity.

As part of my goal-setting, I’m keeping both short-term and long-term goals in mind. While short-term goals are those I’ll be thinking about and pursuing in the near-term, long-term goals are just as important. These are the end game for which accomplishing my short-term goals is building the foundation. I am also writing all of these goals down in my favorite trusty, fancy-schmancy writing/idea/grocery list journal (if you think one of these things is not like the other, food is technically more essential than writing for all of us—also I really just like making lists for all purposes). I find that, by writing my goals down, they are somehow more concrete. Later, I can look at each of my crossed-off goals and feel an even greater sense of accomplishment.

I’m choosing to share my writing goals with you all here because, maybe by doing so, you’ll find the motivation you’re looking for as well—be it writing or some other creation! Maybe goal lists work for you too, or maybe they don’t, but just maybe you’ll come up with some other great way to get the creative juices flowing, by taking a deep dive into my process. Without further ado, here are my current writing-related goals:

For Today (3/24/2019):

  1. Establish a firm project for April Camp NaNoWriMo
  2. Set flexible plans for above NaNo project
  3. Determine next week’s blog topic

For April/Camp NaNoWriMo (4/1 to 4/30/2019):

  1. Set mini goals each week
  2. Complete NaNo project by 4/30/2019

Beyond April/Camp NaNoWriMo (post-4/30):

  1. Decide whether to attend first Writer’s Conference this summer
  2. Decide level of involvement in July Camp NaNoWriMo
  3. After April, continue and finish editing first novel
  4. Attend first book fair/trade show in the fall
  5. Decide level of involvement in November Camp NaNoWriMo
  6. Find beta readers and gather their feedback
  7. Research publishing options
  8. Produce query letters

True, this is quite a lengthy list of goals and may appear daunting to some. I tend to be more rather than less comprehensive in my list-making, because I just really like to visualize on paper everything I’ve been planning out in my mind. What I’ll likely do is put the last half of the list out of sight for the month of April, while I focus primarily on my short-term goals.

For me, I enjoy seeing the forest and the trees simultaneously. You’ll notice that my list includes all aspects of goals related to my writing, not just the writing itself. Editing and polishing, expanding my knowledge through conferences and trade shows, and, ultimately, publishing.

I am hoping that this list of goals will give me the structure that I think I need, in order to regain my productivity as a writer! I would love to hear about the goals you’re currently working on completing and your process for adding more structure to aid your own progress. If you’re a writer yourself, what key components do you feel that I’ve missed in my early writing, editing, or publishing goals?

With April Camp NaNoWriMo looming, you’re destined to have many more upcoming blog posts from me about my writing process and progress. I apologize in advance for the continued focus solely on writing. I promise to jazz it up with other topics where possible, and certainly you can look forward to more diverse topics post-April!

-AW

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