Tuesday, January 27, 2015

My Writerly Goals for 2015

If you’ve hung around this blog for a while you know I’m a huge fan of stating your goals (See my Importance of Avoiding Neck Beards post).

Why is it so important that we document our goals? Because writing down your goals has an almost magical effect. It cements the goal in your mind and you consciously (and sometimes unconsciously) move toward completing that goal. But there’s more to it than ‘magic’.

Documenting your goal makes it real. And real things have value. Your goals have value and meaning and worth. But we can, too often, focus on the daily grind of our lives and pack our goals away for another day.

Stop packing away your goals. Start documenting your dreams today and you may just breathe life into them.

In the spirit of the new year and new beginnings I’m defining my goals for all to see. I believe goals should be four things:

1. Goals should be both personal and professional (meaning don’t sell short your personal life, those goals matter too).

2. Goals should be stated in the affirmative, like ‘I will rescue 8 kittens this year’ and never in the negative, as in, ‘I will not let any kittens go unrescued this year.’

3. Goals should make you stretch (hello, challenge) but should also be realistic (I learned this one the hard way in 2014).

4. And last but not least, goals should be SMART:

Just saying “I want to write more” or "I want to run more" aint gonna cut it. You need to be specific when defining your goals.

Now, I’m thrilled (terrified) to be starting law school in 2015. This means my life, writing time, and fitness time will be in major upheaval this year. Knowing that I can’t control what my life will be like after I start school (in Aug) I decided to shorten my year. Instead of allowing myself 12 full months to accomplish my goals I’m allowing myself 8 (Jan – Aug).

Less time to accomplish goals meant I had to laser focus my goal setting on what’s important to me.

Here are my SMART goals for 2015

Professional: Improving Craft

Take one online writing classes before Aug 2015

Query at least one project before Aug 2015

Complete 2 revisions before Aug 2015

Professional: Idea Generating

Plot NA sequels before Aug 2015

Plot YA sequels before Aug 2015

Plot UF sequels before Aug 2015

Plot any shiny new ideas before Aug 2015

Professional: Efficiency

Define writing time (once law school class schedule is finalized)

Research alternate platforms before Aug 2015

Better integrate social media presence before Aug 2015

Personal: Fitness

Run a 10k before Aug 2015

Run 2 or more 5k’s before Aug 2015

Define law school fitness time (once class schedule is finalized)

Personal: FUN! (Because I’ve heard my 1L year of law school might not be fun)

Go on a Caribbean cruise before Aug 2015

Visit Alaska (one of my bucket list items) before Aug 2015

Go camping or backpacking before Aug 2015 (a local fun thing that we sometimes forget to do because we get ‘too’ busy)

Go tubing/float trip before Aug 2015 (another local fun thing that we sometimes forget to do because we get ‘too’ busy)

Personal: Family

Take at least one highway ride on the bike with Handsome Jack

Visit STL before Aug 2015

Visit FL before Aug 2015

Now these goals are pretty steep goals. But it’s called goal setting for a reason. You don’t want to remain content with the status quo (or else you wouldn’t be setting goals in the first place). Just remember to keep things reasonable. This is actually the 4th edition of my 2015 goal list. Why? Because I had to cut and trim goals to be reasonable.

There is nothing crappier than setting a goal and failing to meet it (in my opinion). Might this be why I gave up on ever finishing NaNoWriMo? Yes, yes it is.

As always, I plan to evaluate my progress often. Since my goal year is shortened (Jan –Aug) I plan to check in around April. If I’m falling short I can make the necessary corrections in an attempt to get back on track. But if my corrections can’t get me on track that’s okay, too. These goals can be restated (like I did in 2014. See my goal restatement post here).

What goals do you have for 2015?

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