Friday, October 29, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ready, Set, Goals

Hopefully, my posts have your thinking of goals to set not only for the remaining two months of the year but 2011 as well. It doesn't matter what kind of goals you set for yourself as long as they are attainable and move your writing career forward.

But it is important to write them down and be accountantable. It's easy to think on January 1st that this is the year I write that novel only to realize ten months have passed by and you have maybe a page or two written. However if you'd set monthly goals, chances are the rough draft would be complete!

In December, I'll post my 2010 goals and tell you how I did meeting them. Then I'll share my 2011 goals with you. Until then, keep considering yours!

Word Count Wednesday

I know, I'm a day late...I have 4000 words so far for October. I have happy to report that I should have the first three chapters of my WIP polished along with the chapter by chapter synopsis by the end of October...and hopefully submitted!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day to Day Goal Keeping

I discussed last week that I was considering setting weekly or daily goals next year. If I do this I will definately need the aid of a calendar, whether paper or online. I am not big on to-do list's and that is what the use of a calendar for my writing goals feels like to me but I am willing to give it a try to see if it helps produce steady word count.

I'm going to try this daily goal keeping next month during NaNoWriMo. I need at least 31,500 words to complete the rough draft of my current WIP. So my goal will be 1050 words per day to accomplish this task.

I'll keep you posted on how it's working for me as the month of November progresses!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Recording Goals

It's important when you set your writing goals to WRITE them down somewhere. Again, what works for one writer will not work for another.

I use a spiral bound journal to write down the goals I want to accomplish for the month. In addition, I jot down my acceptances, submissions, rejections and 'other' happenings in my writing career as the month progresses. At the end of the month, I recap my progress.

Did I complete all or any of my goals? If not why?
How many rejections did I garner? How many acceptances? Did I turn the rejections back into submissions?
Did I answer a manuscript call? Get a notice about a work for hire project I applied for? Did I receive a conference notification? Am I able to go to it?

By recaping the goals I can see if something did or didn't work for me. If I was working on a non-fiction piece for children, I might have miscalculated the time it'd take to research the topic thoroughly before I could write the article or perhaps I ran across a different angle to persue for the article. This lets me know that the next time I'm working on a project like this, I need to adjust the number of goals for that month.

I can also tell if I'm making forward movement in my writing career during this process.

Whatever way you chose to record your monthly goals they need to be visable each and everyday as a constant reminder to you that your writing is important!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Daily Goals

The only time I've set daily goals is when I've participated in a book in month. Then I knew how many words I wanted to reach by the end of the month and divided that number by the number of days in the month.

Next year, I am considering setting daily writing goals. I think I'll get more writing produced, which I hope means more completed projects.

There are a few ways to set daily goals, word count, pages completed or time spent.

Setting a word count daily goal appeals to me more than trying to crank out x number of pages or allotting myself two hours and producing very few words. However, I am willing to try the other two options, who knows they may work better for me, especially with a day job.

Goal setting is about trial and error, so don't get down in the dumps if you set a word count goal of 1000 words per day and end up only getting 700 words per day...that's still pretty good!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Word Count Wednesday

Not much but some improvement...word count is 3590.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Weekly Goals

After you set your monthly goals, you can break those down into weekly goals. I have never done this but am considering it for 2011. I think it will help keep me on track better when life throws me a curve or I just feel tired or unmotivated.

If you've set four monthly goals, perhaps you want to concentrate one week for each goal set. Or maybe you want to work on the most important (to you) goal. Or if one of your goals is easier, like polish and submit a manuscript, that might be the one you work on the first week to get it finished and have that sense of accomplishment. Remember not all of your monthly goals have to be "hard". It's nice to have an easy one that you can get out of the way so you can check one goal off and move on to the next.

This is where your own unique preference comes in because what works for me might not work for you. Believe me I am more motivated when I can check a goal off within the first week of the month as being complete no matter how easy it is. But maybe for you, it's better to complete the harder task then reward yourself with the easier one at the end of the month.

Either way you will get to the end result, completeing a monthly and making forward movement in your writing career.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Types of Goals

Before I continue on to setting weekly goals, I thought I'd rewind a little to yearly goals. There are two main types (IMHO) of setting yearly goals.

Output

Monetary

Output goals are the kinds of goals I use. I decide by mid-December based on the writing year I'm having just what I want to change or see as output by a year from then. So I the goals I set are based on write the first book in a series, research and write a children's non-fiction book, apply for work for hire jobs and/or answer manuscript calls. It's easy to set output goals because you can base them around your writing time. If you only allot 20 hours per week to write, then you know that setting a goal to have three 90,000 word manuscripts complete and submitted is not attainable.

Monetary goals, of course, revolve around your writing income. Do you want to double the income you made in 2010...then your goals must be set accordingly. Perhaps you'll want to write a monthly column for dependable income while you query magazines or submit your book manuscripts. Another way to handle montetary goals is decided how much per day it takes to reach the yearly writing salary figure. If you want to earn $36,500.00 in 2011 from your writing, then each day you must produce something to earn at least $100 per day. Maybe that is cranking out four devotionals or querying a magazine article. Now just because you write something doesn't mean it will sell but if you are trying to reach the $36,500.00 you MUST produce something that MAY pay $100 per day. This is a good type of goal to set while you work a day job since editors/publishers response times are slow. BUT slow response times doesn't mean that this method doesn't work, it just means that you might not see a "wind fall" of writing income until a few months later.

A couple of options while you plan for next year.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Setting Monthly Goals

Although setting goals is as unique as our writing voice, I suggest setting several monthly goals. This ensures that you have another goal that creates forward movement in your writing career if you get "stuck" with a certain plot point or have to wait for research material to arrive from inter-library loan.

But don't be so strict with your monthly goals that if a writing opportunity arises with a short deadline that your turn it down. Last spring I interrupted my set goals to answer a manuscript call from an editor who needed short craft ideas. I did this because I've written for this publisher before, I enjoy writing short craft ideas and this call had a four week turn around time, so I couldn't put it off until the month.

I set anywhere from three to six monthly goals because this works best for me since I also work a full time job. If you have more hours to devote to your writing, you may want to increase the number of monthly goals you set.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Word Count Wednesday

October word count is 2265....

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Write Those Goals Down

Once you determine your yearly and monthly goals, write them down. Anywhere...a journal....a notebook....a Post it...a Word document....a spreadsheet....

Writing them down makes it more of a commitment. I use a journal to write down and recap my monthly and yearly goals. I've found this works very well for me and keeps them in the forefront of my mind. However, everywriter is different, so you may need to post them where they are a constant reminder...beside your monitor...on your refrigerator...you get the idea.

You may have to try several options to find out the one that works best for you.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Monthly Goals

Once you establish yourlofty yearly goals, it's time to break them down into monthly goals.

So if you plan to write a novel in 2011, you need to consider what you'd need to do each month to reach that goal. Maybe you want to crack ten new magazine markets, consider the steps you need to take to make that happen and start setting those goals each month. Perhaps you want to double your writing income, that may mean producing magazine articles as well as book proposals.

Remember the objective of monthly goals is to break the large tasks down, making them more achievable.

Want to write a novel in a year. Use January as the month to plot your book, February to start chapter one OR set a word count goal, say 1000 words per day.

Research five new magazines during the month of January and start writing and submitting in the following months, then start over in June in an effort to crack ten new magazine markets.

Are you writing a non-fiction book? Turn your research tacics into a how to article and submit it to writing magazines.

Now, do those lofty goals seem so overwhelming?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Considering Goals

Now, I realize we do still have three months to go before it's time to set new yearly goals and if you're like me, you're still working on THIS years goals but it pays to consider just what you didn't accomplish this year and would like to next year. OR if something in your writing life changed, this year and that will determine some of the goals for next year.

Here's what I'm considering for my goals:

Finish book two in my quilt themed romance novel series
Begin & finish book three in my quilt themed romance novel series
Continue to look for an agent for my adult writing
Continue to market the middle grade children's book manuscript

Those may or may not change when it comes time to set them as my 2011 writing goals. Why? Because I the middle grade manuscript is making the rounds...maybe it will sell before then? I'm also hoping to have the rough draft of book two completed by the end of this year...we'll see....

But all of these goals that I'm considering will move my writing career forward which is what you should be thinking about as you are considering your goals.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Word Count Wednesday

It's a new month...and I have ZERO words to report. I was busy proofing my galley's but will get back to "production" soon.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Yearly Goals

In my opinion yearly goals should be LOFTY! Something to STRIVE for. So when you're thinking about your yearly goals set the bar high.

Yet, make them realistic. You can't set a lofty goal like have my novel published by September 2011 because THAT is not in your control. However, you can set the yearly goal of have my novel written, polished and ready to submit to agents or publishers by September 2011.

You can't say sign a contract with an agent by June 2011 but your goal can be to solicit your work to agents.

As you contemplate your goals for 2011, remember to reach for the stars in order to move your career forward but don't set yourself up for disappointment set goals that are in YOUR control.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Yearly Goals Reviewed

Thursday I mentioned that the end of the quarter was a good time to review your yearly goals. It's also a good time to start considering what you want to get accomplished next year with your writing career. It's must easier to succeed in this business if you have a plan.

So I looked over my yearly goals and out of six, I've completed two. Now, that doesn't sound like much does it? But I set those goals before I knew that my inspirational romance manuscript that was submitted would be accepted. So, as with anything in life, my goals are subject to change. One goal that I set was to finish a different inspirational romance that I'd started, however with the acceptance of Lily of the Field, I must adjust that goal as to completion of the next book in the series, Jobs Tears.

I've decided to talk this month about goals. Goals are something to strive for and are not intended to weigh you down or be self defeating if you can't quite reach them. They are a way of getting a plan in place to help you succeed in your writing career. Be thinking.....