Welcome.

Glad you stopped by. I hope you'll stop by again for Monday Morning Musings, Meet the Author Thursday, Weekend Writing Warriors, and guests whenever they drop in.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

#IWSG: Goal Setting


Happy New Year and Happy Insecure Writers Support Group Day. IWSG is the brainchild of Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! Thanks, Alex, for starting this group and keeping it going. 

Thanks to this month's awesome hosts:  Patricia Lynne, Lisa Buie-Collard, Kim Lajevardi, and Fundy Blue!


Happy 2019. Do you always start a new year with resolutions? Do you look at them at the end of December? My answers? Yes, to the first; no, to the second. So what good are resolutions (goals), if we don’t look at them?

My RWA chapter (Mid-Michigan RWA) has a version of NaNoWriMo. Each month, we set out what we want to accomplish that month. I’m very good at that. Then each week, we (sort of) report our progress—either on our discussion loop or on the monthly database or both. I’m not so good with the follow-through reporting. I accomplish my goals, sometimes even more, but I forget to add them in. When the next month comes around, I think “oops, forgot to report my progress.”


I’ve always been a list-maker. I love checking off each item. What helps is taking a large project (like, I will write three novels this year) and break it down into manageable parts. (BTW, that was my goal for 2018. Didn’t make it.) By manageable parts, I mean list what you have to do to accomplish that goal. How many words/day do you need to write for each book? Factor in all the before-I-start-writing “stuff” (character lists, GMCs, research, world-building, etc.) Estimate how many days you’ll need to review/revise/edit each book. Factor in how long your editor will take to edit the book. If you DIY the formatting, how long will that take? Is three books a manageable goal? Did you factor in marketing? How much time do you need to get the word out that you have a new book? Will you do a blog tour? How much time to you need to dedicate to social media each day?

This sounds so overwhelming I’m scaring myself. LOL

The easiest thing for me is keeping track of word count. I made up a spreadsheet with simple formulas so all I need to do at the end of each daily writing period is enter the ending word count (from the bottom of the Word doc.) I get a feeling of accomplishment when I see that I wrote 500 words or 1,000 or 60. Whatever. It’s progress.

I find setting small goals makes me try to reach them. If I don’t set a goal, I don’t try. I mentioned back in October how we had a flooded basement and everything had to be boxed up and moved out. Before Thanksgiving, all those boxes came back in. My office is still full of boxes. It's so overwhelming I don't even want to look at it. So, my goal of January is to empty five boxes. That's a manageable goal. I'll let you know next month. 

Following up at the end of each month by looking at my list and checking off what I’ve done makes me feel proud. Progress. Moving forward.

But here’s a caveat: don’t measure yourself against another writer. I know authors who publish six books a year. That’s one every other month! I also know writers who are still writing the same book after ten years. (Trying not to judge.) Better to measure against yourself, your previous efforts.


Optional question: What are your favorite and least favorite questions people ask you about your writing?

Where do you get your ideas is a perennial one. Not sure if it’s my favorite or least favorite. It’s getting easier to answer—everywhere. I don’t think they want something so vague. They want a specific, magical answer.

How about you? Are you setting goals?

Happy Writing. See you next month.

Click here to find others on the Insecure Writers Support Group Blog Hop. Or go to IWSG on Facebook to see who’s blogging today.



68 comments:

  1. I like your SMART goals and that you set it for each month -- I'm going to break mine down into manageable lists, too :-) I hope you have a successful 2019.

    Ronel visiting on IWSG day 2019 Goals, Resolutions and Questions

    ReplyDelete
  2. Happy New Year!
    I've got a ten year plan that I'm still working under. Hopefully it will come into being this year. We'll see...
    Wishing you lot of success with unpacking your boxes and a great new year in writing.

    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, a 10-year plan. That is fabulous. Even better that it might come into fruition soon. Thanks for your good wishes.

      Delete
  3. Happy New Year! That's great that you keep track of your word count to track your progress. Hope you get the boxes out of your office this month. Happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Natalie. Hubs will be very happy when I get those boxes emptied. And it's not even his office. LOL Wishing you much success in 2019!

      Delete
  4. I find that it's a fine line between learning from other writers, their process, etc and comparing ourselves to them - and usually feeling like we're falling short! I'm getting a little better at staying on the right side of that line. :)

    Happy New Year to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is hard, Madeline. Keep staying on the right side. :)

      Delete
  5. I like the idea of making lists for your writing goals. I make so many to-do lists all the time that I should probably try something like that to help with my writing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I drove my kids nuts with my lists for them. LOL I did it for myself only they didn't know it. Good luck with those goals.

      Delete
  6. Happy New Year... I like to set up both small goals as well as big goals.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Rachna. Small goals help us complete the big ones. Have a great month.

      Delete
  7. This past year was one of adjusting to and settling into retirement from the day jobs. Also, being president of MMRWA. It all affected my writing but I did accomplish some major goals. I do like to break them down and when I finish/ complete one I’m like, “Yes!” Looking forward to achieving new goals this year. Best wishes to us all.��

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lucy. You've had a lot on your plate this year--esp. with all the changes from RWA that affected the chapter. You've done a great job! That is such a good feeling to say "Yes!" to a completed project. Wishing you much success this year.

      Delete
  8. I made up some new writing rules that I'm going to try to follow in 2019, but I'm not too keen on setting goals this year. It didn't work out too well for me last year, or the year before that, or the year before that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Whatever works for you, James. Sometimes we make our goals unattainable--too far beyond our reach. Best wishes.

      Delete
  9. My goals are to get six books done--but two are in edits, two are a 1/3 done, so only two new writes ;). I was freaking out about trying to get them out though, so I told myself that two will be out for sure--the end of my fantasy series, and the second steampunk. If the others roll over to be released in 2020, that works :).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great attitude, Marie. Life happens, and we can't always control the demands on our time. Good luck with those projects.

      Delete
  10. My goal sounds easy: write something. But making it happen in a household of never-ending chaos is never simple. Good luck to you on all your goals.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Tamara, and good luck to you. Some people can write in chaos. Others thrive in it. I'm not that good with it. Whatever you write is more than you had. Go for it.

      Delete
  11. For the last few, I haven't achieved the goals I've set. It's been a bit hard on the ego, soooooo I'm leaving things loose this year. I deserve it. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You do, Anna. Wishing you an easy-going yet productive new year.

      Delete
  12. I always say to break down goals into small steps. It really does help.

    And you're right, progress is progress.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I love making lists too but hadn't really thought about breaking the list down further into smaller parts. Thanks for the tip! Happy New Year, Diane!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're quite welcome, Julie. I get so overwhelmed by huge projects I don't do them.

      Delete
  14. I love how we all go about our goals differently. I do set goals in January and look at them in December, but I allow myself to tweak and change them over the year. However, it is SO important that we don't compare ourselves to other authors. One of my writing associates wrote 28 stories last year. I wrote 2. For a short time I was absolutely shell shocked. It is what it is, though. :D

    Have a great New Year and good luck with those boxes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I enjoy reading others' approach to goals, too. And I always get new ideas. Tweaking our goals during the year is a great idea. Thanks.

      Delete
  15. I set some high-level writing goals for 2019. Hopefully, I can achieve them. Some are more in my control than others (like writing the books), while some are less in my control (selling more books). You make a really good point about avoiding comparison with others.

    you much joy and happiness in the year ahead.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Ellen. Although I want to sell more books, I know that's out of my control. I'm going to focus on writing the next books plus marketing so people will buy my books. Best wishes for 2019.

      Delete
  16. Yoho, yoho, no writing goals for me... because I'm a retiree. My sole goal is to have a blast! And, I always make that goal!

    I see that you are in mid-Michigan. Where? Most of our relatives live there, so I've set my Americana fiction novels there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a great attitude, PJ. I'm over on the lakeshore, west of Grand Rapids. Although our chapter is Mid-Michigan RWA, we cover all of the lower peninsula except Detroit area. They have their own.

      Delete
  17. I'm a list maker, too. I even found a "game" online that helps with lists, called Habitica. I get gold and XP when I mark off items on my to-do list. And it's easy to keep open in a tab online, so I can mark it off. Good luck with your 2019 goals!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That game sounds fascinating. Have fun tracking your goals.

      Delete
  18. Diane -- You are into lists, and the comments I read suggest that lots of others are too. Goodness I saw one touting 10 year goals. I am 83. My 10 year goal is itself an example of Writer Insecurity.

    As a IWSG newbie I can already see how many different reasons we have for telling the stories we tell. Quite a while back I settled for the self-published paperbacks that line my bookshelf. There are 20 so far. I decided to leave the literary career path to other, more talented and ambitious folks. Fortunately there are writers like you to carry the torch.

    Happy 2019

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gil, welcome to IWSG. I commend you for still writing at your age. I'm not far behind you. LOL I've had fun with self-publishing my books. I have no ambition to write literary novels. I love my variety of sci-fi, suspense, & mysteries. Enjoy the writing.

      Delete
  19. I set goals at the start of each year, then break them down into monthly and weekly goals designed to lead to success. I don't always get across that line, but I still like setting the goals—and making lists to help. I, too, love to check items off.

    Happy 2019!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's so encouraging, M.J. I need to break down my goals the way you did. Best wishes as you check off your accomplishments

      Delete
  20. I never set myself any writing goals - maybe because I anticipate breaking them, which would be disappointing - but I respect people who do. I think goals add structure somehow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's okay, Olga. We all approach life in different ways. Like writing, what works for some, doesn't for others. Good luck.

      Delete
  21. Six books a year is insane, although I know writers who can do that. I'm closer to the "one book in ten years" kind of writer, although I hope to improve upon that over time. Have a great 2019!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure I could stick with one story over 10 years. I have so many ideas I have to move on. No two writers are the same. Whatever works for you. I hope you have a great year, too.

      Delete
  22. That's the best way to tackle goals. Set little ones that are manageable. When you hit those, it feels like you're making progress.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Phew, that overwhelmed me, too! lol I plan to self-publish a book in the middle of this year, and I'd like to do another at the end, but I haven't even started that book lol. I'm working on two others anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I'm a list maker, and it's so gratifying to put that check mark at the head of the item. I'm too good at doing that when it comes to writing, however. That always seems to be a messy process with notes and doodles and often scribbles I can't read. Happy 2019, Diane.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I try to stay organized with my notes. Unfortunately, I have some that I read and say "what?" Wishing you a great new year, Lee.

      Delete
  25. I plan to track wordcount in a spreadsheet this year as well. Happy 2019!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's great, Sandra. I like the feeling of pride it gives.

      Delete
  26. I haven't made any resolutions, but I have set myself some goals – and some of those include writing.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I set projects more than goals. I like promising myself something I'll do every day (a 365 day project) and something I'll do every week (52 week project). Often these kind of are resolutions, because I'm doing something I think is going to bring me joy or improve my health and wellbeing. But yes! Many people go NUTS on the goal setting and analysis. I wonder how they manage to do the extra work when the tracking is so much work! @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good point, Samantha. I make tracking my word count easy. But I'm not obsessive about tracking my goals. Something that reminds me of what I should do.

      Delete
  28. Hi, Diane! Your suggestive list scared me too! LOL! I make lots of lists, but then I get tangled up in lists, and I get discouraged when I can't check off all the items or even the majority of them. I can overwhelm myself.

    Once my school nurse told me that she stopped the feeling of being overwhelmed in her complicated and responsible job by accomplishing one item on her list a day. Then if she accomplished that, she counted it a good day and patted herself on the back. Now lots of days she accomplished more than one thing, but if she didn't, that one thing was enough. Most days I'm pretty good at following her advice, and I feel less overwhelmed and frustrated.

    In 2018 I made huge progress on my most important goal of improving my health and fitness. I didn't quite reach my ultimate goal, but I'm very close. That's okay; I'll reach it this year. It trumps everything, including writing; because if you don't have good health and fitness, it makes everything else more difficult to achieve.

    Wishing you all the best in 2019!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Louise. I love your common sense approach. You are so right about health & fitness. Wishing you the best, too.

      Delete
  29. Hi Diane, long time no see. I'm stopping by to say have a healthy and prosperous New Year to you and yours.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Stephen. Good to see you! I hope you have a great 2019.

      Delete
  30. I love making lists as well, especially when things feel overwhelming at the beginning.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Big projects can be daunting. Breaking them down into smaller segments makes it look easier.

      Delete
  31. Thanks bunches for stopping by my blog.
    I try to set loose goals so I have a focus but don't overwhelm myself. I also like to make lists.
    All the best in 2019.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Overwhelming goals lead to ignoring them. I like your idea of loose goals. Good luck!

      Delete
  32. I think that measuring yourself against another writer is the quickest route to despondency.
    When it comes to getting the words down, I've discovered that short bursts of prompt-based writing, on a regular basis, work well for me.
    Each writer should find what works well for him/her and then run with it!
    Happy New Year, Diane!
    Writer In Transit

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comments, Michelle. Finding what works is so important. Not what others say/do.

      Delete
  33. I'm making more and more lists nowadays. It does really help! Have a terrific 2019!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Happy New Year, Diane! I'm a huge goal setter. I make tons of lists, and track my word count.

    I even make resolutions every year and then track how I did in December. I check them throughout the year too. Sometimes I do better than others.

    Wishing you success in 2019!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My plan this year is to track my goals each month then adjust accordingly. Thanks for stopping by.

      Delete

Love getting your comments. BTW, your comment won't show up until you refresh the page. Isn't that a pain? Thanks for stopping by.