Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Confessions of Change: Ya Gotta Have Goals

I made this massive list of goals last year. Massive. I completed every goal. I'm convinced 90 percent of the success is that I knew what I needed to do every day. Oh, there was plenty of complaining, doubt, hemming and hawing, but in the end I completed every goal. Even the ones that were just icing on the cake.

What made the goals achievable? 

Component One: They were written down. This seems rudimentary. Some people have wonderful memories. I'm not one of them. Some people can walk into a grocery and get everything they need and stick to those items. I'm not one of them. (Even if I write down a list.) Some people get no satisfaction when they cross something off on their to-do list. I am totally one of them. 

So, I wrote down my goals. I even went so far as to post them on Romance Divas Goals Thread. Other peeps commented on the thread with encouragement, which was Tony the Tiger GREAT! Yet, giving updates on where I was, what I was doing and how that would get me one step closer to completing my goal was the key. Which leads me to the next step... 

Component Two: BE SPECIFIC. I repeat, BE SPECIFIC! Saying, I'm going to write 1,000 words a day is again Tony the Tiger GREAT! What am I writing 1,000 words on? A blog post, a book, a comment on one of the blog's I follow? Or worse, much worse, the shiny new idea that came to me in the middle of the night. 

A proper goal: Finish the first draft of The One I Want by mid-March or the end of March. Write 1k Monday-Friday until book is complete. 

Or as I put it in my handy, dandy business proposal: 

Overall Goal: Complete full manuscript of The One I Want by mid-march or the end of March.

1.      Complete outline of TOIW by end of January.

2.      Start collage and complete by the end of the first week of February.

3.      First week: aim for first turning point in novel.

4.      Second week: Rinse, repeat, except aim for second turning point.

5.      Rinse, repeat.

6.      Rinse, repeat.

7.      Complete book.

Component Three: The next factor for my success had everything to do with common sense—I sat down and did the hard work. I could have made glitter graphics shoot out of my business proposal every time I added something to the list. (Not a bad idea for next time.) But it would mean nothing if I didn't sit down and get to work. There's no magic bullet for hard work. (Maybe coffee.)You either get it done or you don't. You can choose to sit down and attack one of your goals or choose not to.  

Component Four: I had a deadline for each and every goal. I sometimes finished early. I sometimes had to push back the deadline. Either way I gave myself parameters to get it finished in. 

Component Five: Last but not least, and what I think is one of the most important factor for success, don't curl yourself into a fetal position if you don't achieve a goal. Life happens and that turns the writing turns into shittake. Nothing really happens but you can still hit a brick wall in the story and the writing turns into shittake. About a million other things could happen to waylay those well-planned goals. The thing is none of these goals went up on a mountain top and came back down on stone tablets. The deadlines can be adjusted. You can go back to the second step of the goal. You can take a break and read or watch TV or even shower. If you feel your knees buckling and your spine curling then it's probably best if you took a break. The goals aren't going anywhere. 

The important things is to make goals. It gives you something to focus on and a barometer on what you're doing work wise, especially if a lot of the work has nothing to do with spitting out a word count.

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