Goals Clothesline

Honest Goal Assessment

Hello everyone!

As a writer, and as a person in general, it is important to self-evaluate to see what we are doing well and where we need to improve.  One way I do this is by setting goals and then reviewing them to see how well I met them.

This year, I had three writing related goals:

  1. Complete the re-write of The Four Crystals.
  2. Write at least the first book in my chapter book mystery series.
  3. Stack of BooksRead 50 books.

When I created my goals for 2019, I thought they were achievable.  And, for the most part, they were.

Goal #3: I’ve read or listened to over 70 books.

Goal #2: I got Book 1 of my chapter book mystery series to a polished state and completed a rough draft of Book 2.

Goal #1: Although I made progress, I will not complete the re-write of The Four Crystals this year.

Archery TargetMeeting two out of three goals is not bad, and I have to remind myself of that, but my failure to complete my number one goal bothered me.  When I reflected over why I had failed to achieve what seemed like a perfectly reasonable goal at the beginning of 2019, I came up with the following list of reasons I had not succeeded.

  1. I was in a musical during the summer, and between my day job and rehearsals, I did not have time to write.
  2. Instead of treating the re-write like the creation of a new rough draft, I attempted to create a first draft, which is a little more polished and takes more time to write.  (My definition of a rough draft is the same as Allison K. Williams’ vomit draft, and my first draft is a hybrid between her story and character drafts.  See “Optimal Editing.”)
  3. I am part of two writer’s groups and teach a weekly German class, so some of my free time is devoted to participating in and preparing for those activities.

Once I gave myself that reality check, I had to decide what to do with my discoveries so that I would meet my future goals.

  1. Summer Musical: I enjoy acting.  Theater has been a big part of my life, but at this stage, writing has become more important to me than performing.  I decided that unless a local theater was putting on one of my dream shows, I would take a break from acting until at least autumn 2020.
  2. Binder with Marked-up ManuscriptRough Draft versus First Draft: Although writing a first draft instead of a rough draft would not be time efficient for a new project, it is the right choice for The Four Crystals.  I have a very clear idea of what I want the story to be, and I need to see whether or not my vision for the book is working.  A rough draft would not help me to determine that, but a first draft would.  I need to adjust my timeline for the re-write.
  3. Writer’s Groups and Teaching: Being involved in writer’s groups exposes me to genres I would not choose to read on my own, which benefits me as a writer.  The feedback I get from the groups is beneficial and helps me to hone my craft.  At this point, I think that staying active in both groups is the right choice.  As for teaching, I made a commitment for the 2019-20 school year, but come 2020-21, I need to consider if offering a weekly language class is in the best interest of my writing career.

What I took away from my goal evaluation is that I still have room for improvement when it comes to time management and that I need to be even more selective when committing to different activities.  At least my 2019 goals were more realistic than the ones I set for 2018.  I am learning and improving!

As 2019 comes to a close, I highly encourage you to look over your own goals for 2019 and determined what worked, what didn’t, and why.  Then, apply what you learned when creating your 2020 goals.

Happy writing!

Katie

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