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.
- Break 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.
- Track 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.
- Have 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.
Here’s to a productive year of writing! I hope that these strategies help you to meet your own writing goals for the new year!