Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Time Out for Setting Goals

Boy am I bad at this "Leaving the Internet so I can Write" thing. I'm actually posting blog updates more frequently now than before I was "on break"... *sigh*

Anyway, I woke up this morning and found the latest Newsletter from Aliventures. It really helped me out and I wanted to share that with you, my readers. Originally, I was going to just put a sentence or two blurb about it for a mid-month update post on what I've been doing daily... much like what I did last year for Script Frenzy.

However, what started as a simple "this is what happened today" grew in to an actual informative blog post! Since I don't really ever have those, I figured I'd go ahead and make it a blog post all of its own!

Silly Ali Luke and her wonderful ability to just spark something in me! :P

OK, here is my reteaching of what she came up with in the newsletter. Full credit goes to Ali and Aliventures.

First off, make a quick list of five things that make you feel happy/excited/thankful. It is a great way to destress as you focus on all the good in your life right now. Alternatively, you could dance around the house singing "My Favorite Things" from "The Sound of Music"...

Now, these don't even need to be things related to writing, they just need to make you happy.

Here's mine:
  • FINALLY having a job after 6months unemployment
  • Actually getting back in to steady writing
  • My husband's cats actually purring when I pet them! See, the cats are still at my in-laws' house, but we were taking care of them while the in-laws were on vacation for 2 weeks. The one cat doesn't like me touching him at ALL, let alone wanting me to pet him and actually PURRING when doing so! I think I'm making progress!
  • Nice weather finally back! Especially since the first floor of my house is basically one large open space, having the windows wide open with the sun pouring in just FLOODS the room with light! No better motivator for writing/cleaning/working out.
That was a fun little exercise, right? If TinkerBell sprinkled pixie dust on you right now you'd be able to fly off to Neverland, correct? Good! OK, now on to the main exercise of the newsletter. Setting up goals for your writing. Having goals, deadlines, or what-have-you will help you focus, and help make sure that writing isn't pushed off to the side while you work on your remaining laundry list of chores and obligations.

First off, come up with your lifetime End Goal. For me it is actually one of three things:
  1. Become a professional writer that is popular enough to work solely on writing while at home.
  2. Become an accomplished screenwriter either for a successful TV series or for multiple blockbuster movies.
  3. Become a professional film editor that is again established enough to be able to work from home.
As you can see, my true End Goal is to be successful enough to work from home. Probably because I would really love to be a stay-at-home Mom, but still have a professional purpose in life.

OK, now that you have your End Goal, let's look at the three mini-goals you'll need to set. These babies help you really stay on track when heading towards a long-term goal. They also give you a sense of accomplishment as they keep going successfully by.

For example, when I was a high schooler in need of braces, I didn't look at the two-year end goal. Instead, I broke it down to 24 months. Sure, it SOUNDED longer because there were so many of them, but months go by so quickly that the month count ticked away easily. Before I knew it, the two years were over! Setting goals that come and go quickly on your way to a much larger goal much farther away really helps encourage you.

Anyway, Ali's suggestion for manageable small-goals is to look at what you want to accomplish THIS WEEK, and then THIS MONTH, and finally THIS YEAR.

A week from now, what do you want to accomplish? What goal do you want to meet before the month is out? What would you love to be done with before midnight on December 31st? Set these goals for yourself so you know where you're heading, and reset them as they pass.

These are my goals.

By Wednesday, April 11th I want my latest fanfiction chapter done! Preferably, done and published by Easter, but if it is at least done enough to send to ChibiSunnie to do the final beta-reading so that the chapter is up by the 15th; I'll consider this goal met!

Actually complete Script Frenzy this year! By April 30th I want to have a 100page script staring back at me from my computer screen!

I want to be able to finish my fanfiction before I hit the In-Progress-For-Two-Years mark. If I DO surpass two years for this story, I want to at least have the darn thing complete before 2013 ticks in.

If you are truly meticulous, you can break these down even more.
What is your Bucket List to check off BEFORE YOU DIE? What do you want to accomplish in SIX MONTHS? What would you like done before the end of THIS SEASON? What goal do you want to hit before YOUR BIRTHDAY? What is your to-do list for TODAY? Make your list of milestones as broad or as tight as you need to stay on track, just make sure to not overwhelm yourself. Also, make sure your goals are appropriate for the time you allot yourself. Be it writing or losing weight, the key is pacing so you don't burn out and hate attempting for that next goal.

As for me? I'll make two more goals for today before saying goodbye.
  1. Stop making blog posts when I should be working on my fiction!
  2. Either get up to my Script Frenzy word count, or get the next section of the chapter to Chibi for editing.
Now, off to accomplish these goals!