Establishing Goals: 3 Strategies for Following through with a Resolution

Hello everyone!

At the beginning of a new year, it is customary to make one or more resolutions for the upcoming year.  I have never accomplished anything by just making a resolution.  Consequently, I stopped making resolutions years ago.  Instead, I set achievable goals for the upcoming year.

In my mind, there is a difference between a resolution and a goal.  Merriam-Webster.com lists many definitions for resolution, but the one that best fits my way of viewing it is 1c: “the act of determining.”  My definition of a goal is the second one given by Merriam-Webster.com: “the end toward which effort is directed.”  For me, a resolution is something I mean to do while a goal is something I work to accomplish.  I might resolve to finish writing my novel, but until I make it a goal, I will never bring that desire to fruition.

My writing goal for 2018 is to finish editing The Four Crystals so that it will be ready for target audience beta readers at the start of 2019.  When I look at all the editing that is required, this is a very daunting task.  In order to achieve my writing goal for 2018, I am applying three strategies.  I hope they will help you as well.

  1. puzzle 13Break the Task into Smaller Tasks: Henry Ford said, “Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.” Generally, when I feel overwhelmed by the size of a project, I try to avoid it.  To prevent myself from procrastinating my way through 2018, I decided to take Henry Ford’s advice.  I broke my overarching goal of editing The Four Crystals in 2018 into pieces that I could accomplish on a weekly basis.  My smaller, less daunting goal is to edit one chapter a week.

 

  1. checklist 1Track Your Progress: This gives you a visual of your progress. It can be very encouraging.  It can also help you to get back on track if you lose sight of your goal.  For just that purpose, I created a template for the entire year.  Every week, I either write “yes” or “no” in the box that says “Accomplished Goal.”  If I edited an entire chapter, I write the chapter number below the “yes.”  If I fail to meet my weekly goal one week, that is okay.  Maybe I was sick or I was working on a short story and did not have enough time to edit an entire chapter.  There is nothing wrong with failing to meet my goal for one week.  If, however, I notice that I have not accomplished my weekly writing goal for two weeks in a row or that I am only meeting it every other week, I know I have to give myself a kick in the pants and apply more self-discipline.
  1. whisper 5Have an Accountability Partner: I have never been good at holding myself accountable. If I make a plan that only affects me, there is a strong chance that I will change the plan if I don’t feel like doing it.  To make sure that I actually accomplish my 2018 writing goal, I shared my writing goal with one of my writing groups and asked them to check on me every time we meet.  Peer pressure is a wonderful thing when used appropriately.

What are your writing goals for 2018?  If you’re willing to share them with me, I would love to read about them.  You can tell me your wring goals in the comments below or via my “Contact” page.

toasting 1Here’s to a productive year of writing!  I hope that these strategies help you to meet your own writing goals for the new year!

Happy writing!

Katie

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True Confessions of an Amateur Blogger: What NOT to Do

Hello everyone!  Happy New Year!

As the second anniversary of my writer’s blog approaches (January 10th), I reflect back on what I have learned about blogging over the past two years.

My very first blog post was truly terrible.  At the time, I did not read blogs and had no clue what I was doing.  Everyone said that to be a writer, you needed to have an online presence, so I was going to have one.  I was going to use my blog to show people that I was reliable and professional.  Someone who was devoted to writing.  The only thing my 2016 blog posts showed was that I had no idea how to be a blogger.

Tip #1: Read extensively in your genre before starting a project.

boring 11 (4)My very first post was published on January 10, 2016.  Its title was so specific, who wouldn’t want to read it?  “First Writing Prompt for 2016.”  No visuals, no tags, no reason to click on it.  And, no one did.  My second blog post, also published on January 10, 2016, was titled “Writing Article for the New Year.”  It did as well as my first post.

Tip #2: Have an interesting title.

Tip #3: Have a featured image in the header.  It might inspire someone to click on your post.

The end of March/beginning of April 2016 was when I started making my titles more interesting.  Still, no one visited my blog.  I didn’t know what I was doing wrong or why no one wanted to read what I wrote.

In October 2016, I started regularly adding images to bodies of my blog posts, still no one outside of my family followed my blog.  And no one ever liked my posts.  It was so depressing.  I would carefully form my blog posts and then, to the best of my knowledge, no one ever read them.  I cannot begin to describe how badly I wanted to stop blogging.  But I didn’t stop.  Instead, I tried to figure out why my blog had been a graveyard for all of 2016.  And there were lots of good reasons.cricket 1From November 2016 through February 2017, I put images in the headers or bodies of my blog posts.  In March 2017, I got frustrated with how time consuming it was and stopped, only to give myself a good kick in the pants in April 2017 and start using images consistently.  In May 2017, I made it my personal goal never to publish a post without having a featured image in the header, and with the exception of “Inspiring Lines” (October 22, 2017), I have met that goal.

“Marketing Children’s Picture Books,” published on February 25, 2017, was the first blog post someone liked, and not just one, but two bloggers liked it.  I was over the moon.

What were some things that I did right in that particular blog post?

–        There was a featured image in the header.

–        The title was clear, but not boring.

–        There were multiple tags.

Tip #4: Use tags.  You have a better chance of coming up in the search engines.

url1Even though “Marketing Children’s Picture Books” got the most positive response I had ever gotten from a blog post, there was something I found visually displeasing about it: the web addresses.

That’s right.  I did not link back to the resources I wanted to share with my readers.  Instead, I stuck the web address into the blog post.  It looked bad.

You might be wondering why I did that if I didn’t like how it looked.  The truth is, I didn’t know how to insert a link, and I didn’t google how to do it.  I didn’t figure out how to insert a link until May 7, 2017 when I published “How to Create a Successful Blog.”

Tip #5: Link things.  Do not put the web address in the post.

Tip #6: Take time to learn about a medium before using it.

Tip #7: If you do not know how to do something, ask someone or search it online.

I hope this post has given you a good laugh.  If you’re new to blogging or are considering starting a blog, let my mistakes and past blog posts serve as an example of what not to do.

blog 4If you’re where I was at the start of 2017, posting without any followers, likes, or comments, don’t give up.  Getting started takes time, so use it to figure out how to make your blog better and more accessible to your target readership.  You have something worth saying.

Happy writing and happy New Year!

Katie

Tip Summary:

Tip #1: Read extensively in your genre before starting a project.

Tip #2: Have an interesting title.

Tip #3: Have a featured image in the header.

Tip #4: Use tags.

Tip #5: Link things.  Do not put the web address in the post.

Tip #6: Take time to learn about a medium before using it.

Tip #7: If you do not know how to do something, ask someone or search it online.