The New Year is all about setting goals!
Are you one of those people who set a list of goals you want to accomplish in the New Year then by January 1st you realize you have nothing driving you to accomplish these goals? I mean, you have 365 days to accomplish this list, right? So, why not do it tomorrow?
Is your story something you want to create in 2018 but you have this mindset? Before setting your list of goals, write down your first goal as “I am going to change my 2017 mindset.”
Now, I want you to think about this – Are we promised 365 days? Are we promised tomorrow? – Everyone knows that the answer to this question is – No, we are not promised tomorrow, so we need to enjoy today. Setting a personal goal should be one that ignites a spark inside of you, making you want to achieve your goal. If you set a personal goal that stresses your time and pushes you too far past your limits you may end up resenting your goal and going back to your 2017 mindset of “I’ll just do it tomorrow.” or you may achieve your goal and feel relieved to be done with it but, wouldn’t you rather achieve your goal and instead of feeling like, “FINALLY! I was so sick of trying to accomplish that goal.” wouldn’t you rather your first thought be, “Hey, I did this. I am proud of myself.” – This is how you should feel when you achieve your goals! – everyone has their own way of achieving their goals. Make yours unique and fit for you.
Two years ago, I decided I was going to make writing a priority in my life. This meant that for one full year, 2015 to be exact. I told myself I was going to write 8 hours a day. I didn’t have a regular job that demanded hours of my time and I had just gotten out of an abusive relationship, I needed writing more than I needed anything else. So I told myself I was going to make writing my new job. It was my personal goal that I wanted to achieve. I would write 10,000 words one day and the next I wrote 20,000. In this one year, dedicating 8 hours a day to writing I wrote 8 novels ranging from 50,000 – 80,000 words, that I am still editing and releasing to date. This is not a realistic goal for everyone, writers with a full time job may only be able to dedicate 20 minutes a day or an hour, which is just as good as someone who writes 8 hours a day. The goal as a writer is to write, everyday, no matter the word count.
2016, I told myself I was going to start publishing my novels, this was never my goal – to become a published writer – My goal was to write for myself, write to heal. It was my therapy, but I felt almost like I was holding these characters captive by only keeping them to myself, I wanted to give a new breath of life to them and let other people read their stories. I started with “Devils Fall”, the first novel of 5 in the Devils Curse Novels. This was not my first novel that I had written, nor was it the first novel I had intended to publish but it was ready. I spent most of 2016 writing the 2nd and 3rd novels in the series and editing “Devils Fall” I published “Devils Fall” on Nov. 7th, 2016. I told myself this was going to be my first series to publish and that in 2017, my goal was to publish atleast 5 novels (I felt it could be an unrealistic goal but I stuck to it.) In 2017, I released the 2nd and 3rd novels in the devils curse novels, “Devils Dream” in May and “Devils Mark” in July – oddly, I found along the way that I enjoy writing poetry so I wrote 26 poems and released them in 2- 13 poem chapbooks in June. I wanted to release my fourth novel, “Devils Ascension” after I released my psychological thriller, “Sleepwalker” in October but life had other plans and it wasn’t about to take my goals into consideration. I have health issues that I didn’t know about until Feb. 2017. I had written half of “Sleepwalker” and was a week away from finishing it when I was admitted into the hospital with sepsis and ofcourse it had gone systemic and had taken a drastic toll on me to the point that I could not write or even think of what to write. I had a hard time even remembering the names of my own characters. I didn’t reach my deadline of Oct. 31st but this was a blessing in disguise. The novel that I had planned to be a short story and a stand-alone had taken a life of its own. I gave it time and changed minor details, it was no longer a Halloween short story but a full length novel that dug deep into the back story of my main character. It went from a spooky haunted house to a young womans life story.. I released my fourth novel this year on Dec. 26th, 2017. I did not reach my goal of 5 novels but instead published four novels and 2 chapbooks. With my health I did not think I would accomplish my 2017 goals at all (without my moms help editing, I probably would not have.) but you have to look at writing as a priority or in the back of your mind you will continue to tell yourself, “I’ll do it tomorrow.” When you think this thought, tell yourself: “NO! I will do this today.” Even if you only write one page a day, you will reach your goal.
I am going to be obnoxious and number crunch some word counts for you to prove you can do this! Look at it this way – You have 365 days in one year. If you write one page a day – this is usually 250-300 words – by Dec. 31st you will have written 365 pages and 91,250 words. If you write 150 words a day and reach your goal by Dec. 31st and your novel will be 54,750 words! Novels range from 50,000 to 300,000 words. Now, if you want to write a short story, these range from 1,500 to 30,000 words. Novellas range from 30,000 to 50,000 words. a chapbook of poems is usually no longer than 40 pages and a children’s book can range from 1,000 – 12,000 word depending on the age range and type of childrens book you are planning to write.
Think about your time you have in a day. Do you have atleast 30 minutes a day to set aside for writing? Could you wake up 30 minutes earlier than usual to write for 30 minutes before going to work or starting your day? Do you stop at Starbucks and wait in line for 20 minutes? How about you go to McDonald’s, order a frappucino and sit down for 20 minutes to write on your laptop instead. Can you bring a tablet or laptop with you to work? during your lunch break write, but remember to eat!
If your goal is to write, you should write something everyday. Make writing a priority in your life.
If you watch television for two hours a night, ask yourself “Do I really need to watch this show right now or can I stream it later tonight after I write for an hour?”
When setting your goal for this year think of the S.M.A.R.T. goals you want to set –
S. Specific. Set a specific goal
M. Measureable. Decide how you will know when you have met your goal. (i.e if your goal is to write 10 pages a day for the next 30 days, this is your measureable goal.)
A. Attainable. Think, “How am I going to achieve my goal?” – (i.e Plot out your story, write an outline, how will you achieve your goal? what is your process?)
R. Relevant. Relevance keeps you focused and prevents you from getting sidetracked. (i.e Set aside what is distracting you from achieving your daily goal during your time you have set aside for writing.)
T. Time-Bound. This is your personal deadline for your goals. Set multiple deadlines for your goals. If you want to finish a chapter in 30 days then that is your goal for your chapter. Think of your time and how it relates to your goals.
I know life is busy and your career, health, family and yourself are your main priorities but all you need is 30 minutes set out of your day to write what you want to write. Do it for you so when you reach the end of 2018, you can say, “I reached my goal this year and I am proud of myself.”
Wishing all of you a Happy, Healthy and Productive 2018!
“If you don’t see the book you want on the shelf, write it.” – Beverly Cleary