12/17/11

Writing 101 -- Setting Goals -- Monthly, Weekly and Daily

Monthly--

If you’ve read and recorded your Yearly Goals, now you’re ready to break them down into monthly increments. Trying to do all the goals at once is simply mind-numbing. And when your mind goes numb, what happens? You shut down and do nothing, well, except you start to play games on Facebook, or pull out your game console, or find any excuse NOT to work on your goals.

Trust me, I’ve been there. In fact, I was there the latter part of 2011. It happens to all of us, good intentions or not.

For monthly goals, I use a calendar system. I simply looked for Free MS calendar on the Internet and download it. You want a calendar that has enough space for each day to jot down what you did every day.

Okay, I couldn’t find a basic calendar this year, so I had to take last year’s calendar, delete everything and renumber it. It’s basically an Excel worksheet, landscape-style, with one month per page.

Here’s a shrinky-dink version.


January 2012
Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31





If you shrink the font for each cell (Calibri 8), you can add more information in each cell. You aren’t going to be writing your life story in the cell, just jot down what you did that day.  And I try to write down non-writing stuff, too. Why? Because a blank cell doesn’t tell you diddly-squat, but a cell that says: Dr. appt. ran errands, jury duty, felt lousy, read, etc. will tell you more of the story. It helps pinpoint problem areas, expectations or whether you try to set unrealistic goals.

The place to set your goals will be in the blank spaces. I usually select two cells and merge them to allow for enough room to bullet point my goals. Now, I reviewed what I want to accomplish on my yearly goals and pick one or two items that I’d like to accomplish in January. I’ve been doing hard copy edits on TROLL, so now is the time to change it on the computer.
 

January 2012
Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
Goals:
·          Edit TROLL
·          Write FIRE bullet points
·          Judge Golden Heart--rec’d ??


Just because I have only a few goals for the month of January doesn’t mean I won’t accomplish other items, AND I admit that I have a huge amount of work to do on this edit so one goal is reasonable.

I put down books that I’ve read at the end of the month or in the cells. When I accomplish my goal, I’ll mark it DONE and put the date next to it. When I add new goals during the month, I’ll mark them in red.

One of the challenges is to remember to write your daily tasks down. I solved this by drawing a daily Tarot card. Originally, I was given a book on Tarot and cards as research for a mystery novel. I stopped writing that novel, but I continued to draw a card . . . and write it down, plus what I did every day. If you notice, I try not to do writing stuff on the weekends--those are for my family, but sometimes I would jot something down.

I will continue the Tarot trick throughout 2012 because my Young Adult series centers around the minor suits of the Tarot.

Here’s an example of January 2011:
 

January 2011
Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
GOALS:
·          Query FAERIE—rewrote, Q’d 12 agents wk 1
·          Judge GH entries rec’d 1/8/11, read 1/10, results subbed 1/10/11
·          Entered Writer’s Digest contest—1/4, posted on blog 1/18, entered FEB contest on 1/24/11
·          Self publish LOST LEPRECHAUN LOOT—1/20
WANDS—Fire/passion
CUPS—Water/moods/emotion
SWORDS—Air/mentality
PENTACLES--Earth/growth/nature/money
MAJOR ARCANA—Spirituality/higher purpose
1 VI THE LOVERS—values, personal beliefs, moral/ethical crossroads
2 Page of Wands-opportun for passion, experience creativity, courage, inspiration
Cleaned out closets and drawers
3  Five of Cups—feeling bereft, feeling regret, suffering a loss
R in school
T off,  ran errands and spent gift cards
4 Nine of Pentaclesdiscipline, self-reliance,
Wrote two blogs
Wrote 100 word entry to WD contest #31
5  V  THE HIEROPHANT—pursuing knowledge, fitting in, feeling loyalty
Helped Mom with Kindle
Ate lunch with Todd
Read
6  XII THE HANGED MAN—paradox, move forward by standing still, letting go,
Rewrote FAERIE Query, sent 6 queries
Worked out
7  Knight of Pentacles—unwavering, realistic, hardworking,
5 queries for FAERIE
Wrote Mon. blog
8 Ten of Wands—burdens, struggle, uphill battle
Documented and packed 9 trash bags for donations
9  Nine of Wands—down but not out, stamina, perseverance
reading
10 XIX THE SUN—vitality, enlightenment, assurance
Read five historical GH entries
11 Nine of Cups-wish fulfillment, satisfaction
1 query
GIAM recap—2000+ words
Worked out
12  Three of Pentacles—getting the job done, teamwork, planning,
Read The Hobbit
13  Knight of Wands-full of energy & life, cocky, risky
Finished writing Down in the Dregs—WD entry
Read The Hobbit
laundry
14 Nine of Cups-wish fulfillment, satisfaction
Read
Worked out
15  V  THE HIEROPHANT—pursuing knowledge, fitting in, feeling loyalty
Finished reading The Hobbit and Treasure Island
16 Nine of Pentaclesdiscipline, self-reliance,
Laundry
reading
17  Ace of Cups—intimacy, emotional force, spirituality
Rachel off school
Went to aquarium, ate lunch with Todd
18 Queen of Wands—self-assured, cheerful, energetic, confident
Errands—edit Dregs for blog  Laura designed cover for LLL


19  Page of Pentacles—be practical, have an effect, be prosperous
Formatted LLL for Smashwords
20  Two of Swords—stalemate, avoidance, blocked emotions
Snow day-R home

21 Seven of Wands—take a stand, defiance, conviction
Subbed LLL to Amazon
22  King of Pentacles-adept, enterprising, reliable, pursues a goal
Subbed LLL to B & N—nope Smashwords already has it
23  XVII  THE STAR—hope, inspiration, serenity,
24  Five of Swords—self-interest, sacrificing integrity
Read
Dentist—fix tooth fracture
25 King of Pentacles-adept, enterprising, reliable, pursues a goal
Laundry
read
26  X  Wheel of Fortune—destiny, turning point,
ROSE HILL WITH 4TH GRADERS
Read on bus
27  Six of Pentacles—have/have not: power, resources, knowledge,
45 min walk
Brainstormed w/Laura
28  I THE MAGICIAN—action, concentration, power
Research-myth, creatures
40 min walk
29 Queen of Cups—loving, intuitive, psychic, spiritual
Zoo
Yard work—cleaned by pond
30 XIII DEATH—ending, transition, completing a chapter
laundry
31 Four of Wands-celebrating, breaking bonds, excitement
T sick
Grocery shopping
·          Read 8 books




And there you have your monthly goals in a nutshell.

Weekly--

I belong to an online goals group, so I have to come up with weekly goals . . . er, weekly. I’m a fan of bullet points, and I approach this challenge the same way I do monthly goals. I look at my schedule and figure out what I can reasonably accomplish according to my week. Sometimes I accomplish my goals, sometimes I don’t. The key to writing down goals is to be accountable. It also gives you an idea what you can and can’t accomplish in a given week.

I haven’t recapped recently because it’s the end of the year and I have been up to my elbows in making candy.

Here is an example from October:

RECAP:

·                     Finish judging contest entries—DONE and returned
·                     Edit SUGAR one more time—I want to get it up by Nov. 1—WORKING ON IT
·                     Pester Laura about SUGAR cover --DONE
·                     Pull up my big girl panties and read the judge’s comments on one of my contest entries –DONE.

GOALS:
·                     Finish SUGAR edit
·                     Try out various mini-dessert recipes prior to Thanksgiving.  

And here is the week AFTER this posting:

RECAP:

·                     Finish SUGAR edit—DONE
·                     Wrote blurb for SUGAR
·                     Try out various mini-dessert recipes prior to Thanksgiving. –DONE. Plus did some serious cookie baking last week. Made six kinds for two Halloween parties (Lemony Goblin Brains, Minty Fairy Farts, Werewolf Poop, Choco-spider Guts, Cinnamon Toadstools and Spicy Witch’s Cackle), AND I made Cinnamon Rolls for the family along with regular household crap.

GOALS:

·                     Format and publish SUGAR—I meant to format this last weekend, but obligations got in the way.
·                     Have an idea for NaNo—I need to write book 4 in the Goblin’s Apprentice series. Thought about it on my walks. November is always a busy, busy month for me, but maybe I need a tight goal to try to get back in the ballgame.
·                     Oh, crap!—I forgot that I have to give a presentation to our local RWA chapter about writing through the hard times. Guess I’ll be busy doing that this week!

Daily--

I usually don’t write daily goals, but when I need to keep my thoughts organized, I do write down a bullet point list of things I need to accomplish on a sticky note. I don’t have any examples to show you because I throw the notes away when I’m finished, BUT I do record it on the appropriate day on my monthly calendar.

Here is a week taken randomly from February 2011:



6  Ten of Wands—burdens, struggle, uphill battle
Editing GNOME pg 31
laundry
7 Queen of Cups—loving, intuitive, psychic, spiritual
Edit GNOME to pg 58
Read 1 contest entry
SCHOOL OUT-SNOW
8  Ace of Swords—a challenge, fortitude, justice
Finish GNOME edit pg 75 send to Meg
Read 1 contest entry
SCHOOL OUT-SNOW
9 0 THE FOOL-unlimited potential, life is good, keep your faith, follow your heart
Did GIAM recap
1 contest entry
SCHOOL OUT-SNOW
10  Eight of Cups-deeper meaning, weariness, moving on
Returned Winter Rose entries
Wrote WD prompt story
SCHOOL OUT-SNOW
11 Nine of Pentaclesdiscipline, self-reliance, take matters into own hands.
R and Grace hung out
SCHOOL OUT-SNOW
12  Two of Wands-personal power, boldness, originality
Errands
Followed R while sold Girl Scout cookies

I enlarged it so it would be easier to see. School was cancelled, which meant I had the kiddo home. Hubby was home for a couple of days. I still managed to get a few things accomplished. I should have put on this--that I shoveled the driveway.

When I’m writing new words, I keep track of my word count, but when I edit I edit to a particular page. It works for me.

You need to find what works for you.  

Good luck and set those goals!

3 comments:

Jody Werner said...

God bless you. I would no sooner spend the time to get myself this organized than pound spikes into my brain :) If I make a detailed plan, I get so stressed when I get OFF plan that I am less productive than if I'd had NO plan at all.

My life works best when I do what is imminent when it becomes imminent, and not worry about it until that. I never do anything until the last possible second anyway, so I've learned to stop worrying about it in advance. It doesn't get done any sooner if I worry about it, and time spent worrying is basically wasted minutes of my life.

So, I could spend the entire sunny afternoon organizing my goals, or I could spend it riding my horse. Guess which one I'm gonna do? :)

magolla said...

Lordy, Jods--I don't want to be responsible for you pounding spikes in your head!
I'm a Virgo and we WUV lists! So I needed to update my stuff for the New Year and this was a perfect way to share my knowledge.

Have fun riding your big boy . . . er, horse, instead of compiling a list that will drive you insane.

Jody Werner said...

The concept of organization generally makes me crazy. Life NEVER goes according to plan any way - at least not any plans I've ever made - so making a detailed plan hasn't ever worked. I do occasionally make lists, because I tend for forget stuff if I don't, and it helps me sleep if I know I'm not going to forget something because I've written it down.

Of course, I've lost a lot of lists, thus kinda defeating the purpose.

But my to-do lists rarely include a timeline, because I always reserve the right to drop what I'm doing to, say, ride my horse, take a nap, or write/draw something when the muse is nagging at me.