My RWA chapter is stressing setting goals for the upcoming year.
I’m all about goal setting. It gets you off your duff and in front of the keyboard.
Lately, though, my goal has been getting through one day at a time as my husband recovers from a broken hip. That isn’t to say that I don’t intend to finish my historical novel as soon as my time is my own again.
We set goals all the time, but do we think about ways to accomplish what we have vowed to do?
When we face an exam, we get out the text books and class notes and study.
When we apply for a job, we make sure we are dressed appropriately, have our credentials in hand, and remember our manners.
So saying, “My goal is to finish my book by January 3o” isn’t exactly all there is to it. It’s how you plan to reach that goal that counts.
Have you carved out time in your day to write? A definite time period that your family understands is your time and no interruptions?
Do you have your tools at hand? You should at least have a dictionary and thesaurus. Don’t depend on Word Check for spelling. It doesn’t know the difference between there and their. Oh, and coffee. And chocolate. And music, if you like setting the mood.
Do you know your genre? This is a tough one for me, having published a trilogy involving shape shifters, alternate history, and time travel. My other books are pretty straightforward women’s fiction and I hope, when this crisis is over, a historical.
Do you know your audience? Obviously my women’s fiction audience is a given, but my trilogy got put under new adult. Which I hadn’t considered at all when writing it. Thank goodness my publisher is smarter than I am.
Then, when you start writing, set smaller goals: first chapter, first 100 pages, first … well, you name it. Reward yourself for each milestone accomplished with something you really want such as the latest book by your favorite author, a trip to a spa, or some other treat.
When you get going, you won’t need rewards. I read a study once where children were given M&Ms each time they hit a goal. Before long they were striving to hit the goals for their own satisfaction. The M&Ms were forgotten.
So it is with us. The more we write, the more we understand that hitting the goal is its own reward.
But chocolate is still a nice way to recognize our accomplishments.