Tag Archives: Targets

Goal Setting

According to my local radio, 47% of us forget to floss our teeth daily. 47%? That means more than half the population is lacerating our gums with mint-flavoured string every single morning. I don’t believe it. (Straw poll – leave a comment if you floss every day, proclaiming the fact loud and proud. I’ll send you a bag of sweets to bring you down to my level!) Personally, I discovered a long time ago that if I aim to floss daily, as recommended by my dentist, I just never do it. Maybe once or twice a year, just before an appointment with him.

But here’s the thing (and also the point at which this blog post becomes about writing again, rather than oral hygiene), if I set myself a more achievable goal, like flossing once a week, suddenly I hit the target. I even occasionally over-achieve and do it twice in 7 days! Crazy stuff.

With NaNoWriMo just around the corner, lots of writers are setting themselves ambitious goals right now. 1667 words in a day is actually not as much as it sounds, but doing that every single day, on top of your day job, life and normal writing commitments, for a whole month, is a challenge for many people. Winners of NaNo are right to be proud of themselves. Those who use it as a springboard to kick-start their writing for the rest of the year, even more so.

I enjoy NaNo and I hope to keep doing it for the foreseeable future, but for the rest of the year, I’ve discovered I work much better with achievable goals than crazy ones. When I started this blog, I promised myself one post a week. Now I’m up to three, with occasional daily projects like Voice Week, the 12 Days of Christmas and my recent series on Novel-Planning. And I still enjoy it, I still find topics to write about, and (most amazingly of all) I still find people reading them all!

Starting small works for me – give me a to do list with 5 things on it and I’ll do them all, by lunchtime. Double it to 10 and I’ll achieve 3 across the entire day.

So what I need to do now is work out how to apply this self-knowledge to my long-term writing goals, and in particular to the editing process which a couple of my longer pieces are waiting to undergo. Suggestions are welcome. I’m also interested: how does goal-setting work for you? Do you work better under the pressure of too much to do? Or are you a small-starter like me?

And how many times a week do you floss your teeth?

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Progress Report – insert flag-related-pun here

After last week’s celebrations, I want to try to give you this progress report in as cheerful a light as I can. The truth is, I’m so far from hitting the goals I set myself at the beginning of the year that I can’t even remember what they were. I’m certainly not going to link back to them and run the risk of catching a glimpse of all the things I haven’t done. But that’s OK, because a lot’s changed since I set them, and I’m about to become a homeowner and a Mum, both of which are pretty time-consuming things to achieve, and pretty cool too.

BLOG

I’m still managing to keep up my three-posts-a-week plan here. Whether that will survive the arrival of the baby (33 weeks down, probably somewhere between 5 and 10 to go…) remains to be seen, but I hope you’ll forgive a brief period of radio silence when he arrives. I do intend to get back to this as soon as I can.

There might also be a little radio silence during the house-move in two weeks, until we get internet set up at the new place.

The (still growing) following I’ve gained and the number of blogging friends I’ve made have far exceeded any target I would have dreamed of setting, and I think my writing is benefiting from the process too.

EDITING

Having given Eric a backseat, I’ve now reached the conclusion that he needs a LOT of reworking and a fair bit of rewriting. I’m working on co-creating a small group of writers in Toronto focussed on editing, in the style of NaNoWriMo but with a focus on editing and rewriting instead of first drafts. If that ends up happening (probably sometime in 2013), Eric will be my piece for that. Otherwise, he’ll stay wrapped up for now so that I have enough distance to see the good and the bad when I come to look at the manuscript again.

I’m still working on my Booker’s Seven pieces. The editing process has definitely slowed down, but I think there is some good writing there, and I’m hopeful I can turn at least some of these stories into marketable work.

SUBMISSIONS

Ah yes, on the subject of marketable work. I’ve ground to a bit of a halt on submitting. It is at least partly intentional. I’ve woken up to some limitations in my previous submitting plan, and in the pieces I was trawling around magazines and short-fiction publications. It all needs a bit of a rework, and that’s something I need to focus on when I have the time to do it justice. Until then, there’s very little point continuing a scattergram approach to submissions.

Having said that, some “No thanks, but please consider us again” replies, and the successful publication of two 100 word stories in Readers Digest has proved to me that I can do it, and once I have a chance to put that focus into my portfolio, I believe I will find more success.

NANOWRIMO

With a baby due two days before it starts, I’ve had to withdraw from my organisational role in Toronto’s NaNoWriMo group. That’s a shame, but it wasn’t really open to negotiation! Depending when he arrives, and what happens then, I’ve got a banker of an idea for what I will write in November. I think we can be pretty confident I won’t get 50,000 words written, and depending on his arrival date, I am contented that I may not even get 50 words written, but if I am kicking my heels around waiting for Baby P to put in an appearance, I’m hoping to make a start on Piccolo’s story, as excerpted in Friday Fiction a few weeks ago.

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