Monday, May 5, 2014

Quarterly Goal Check - How 'bout them goals?

It’s that time of year: the time where we look around and say, “Omg, it’s May already? Where does the time go?” And if you're like me, April just blew by. WTH, April!

But where the time goes is not as relevant as the fact that it’s gone. Which means there are fewer days, weeks, months to complete our 2014 goals. But don’t worry, this is not cause for alarm. Rather, this is an opportunity to pause, take stock of our progress and correct course if needed.

In my case, major course correction is needed. Because sometime, jumping in head first, isn't enough:

That's not failure. That's just the fact. And it's not necessarily the result of setting the bar too high.You may recall my writerly goals for 2014 were steep, but not impossible. I liked that they were 'stretch' goals and would force me out of my comfort zone. What I didn’t account for was life. Specifically, the rest of my life. I have goals other than writing goals *gasps* there, I said it. But I’m thinking you probably do as well. We are not alone. *stands tall* *Raises fist* *looks around* *am alone in house* *sits back down*

Now, it should be said that goals, and what make a goal a 'stretch' goal, is totally subjective. I’m sure some of you are taking a look at my list of goals and thinking ‘pshh, I could do those in my sleep’ (I’m looking at you Priya, you over-achieving-multi-tasking-sunfish). The goals I selected would be manageable if I threw myself at them – all in, like Mr. Polar Bear above– but I’m learning early this year that I can’t be all in, not right now anyway. There is life outside of writing and I kinda forgot that.

So course correction is necessary. Notice how I used the term 'correction', not 'failure', big difference. Part of my correction will be to include my non writerly goals. That way, I can see the full scope of what I want to accomplish this year. Time is fleeting, and if I want to manage it to the best of my ability I need to see everything that is on my plate. So here it goes (Warning, this is a longish post, so hold on tight):

Writerly Goals for 2014:

· Take 2 writing classes in 2014. This is going to be tough because I’m currently enrolled in a non writerly class right now. Change is needed:

o Course Correction: take at least 1 writing class between Aug – Dec 2014

· Attend 1 conference. This goal is already in the books! I am registered for RWA Nationals in TX! Woot!! I have a blast at this con last year and can’t wait to go back.

o Course Correction: None needed.

· Reach 11000 pages views in 2014. The more I think about it the more arbitrary this goal is. My goal in starting this blog was never to get page views. My goal was to provide useful writing resources to people on the path to publication (like me). Page views are irrelevant. I think I got sucked into the idea of this goal because I love numbers. I love measurements and tracking and trending. (Example, I found that posting before 8 am EST works best for me and reposting 2-3 times a day helps expose my content to more viewers.) It was fun to experiment and watch the number of page views increase. Ultimately, though, page views are irrelevant to my mission so I’m going to drop this goal. As fun as it is to track, this goal caused me a lot of unnecessary stress as I tried to juggle my life and my goals. I’m dumping it.

o Course Correction:dumped to make room for other goals more central to my mission

· Reach 750 followers in 2014. I don’t know how to feel about this goal, either. It’s secondary to my mission as a writer and a blogger. I could easily reach this goal (by going out there and following everyone and anyone who will follow me back *bang* goal accomplished) but the truth is, I don’t want junk in my Twitter (sounds kinda dirty when I say it like that, doesn't it?). I believe followers, the good kind, will come for the right reasons. And frankly, the number of followers is irrelevant to my craft, my finished products, and my other writerly goals so I’m going to dump this one. That’s not to say I wont keep networking. I will. Absolutely. I’ve found so many amazing people through twitter. I’m just not going to network with the goal of growing my own following…because that just seems arbitrary.

o Course Correction:dumped to make room for other goals more central to my mission

· Enter 4 contests in 2014. Now, this is a tough one. I learned something during my tour through the contest world last year: contest fatigue is a real thing. Like anything else, too much of a good thing can be bad. 4 contests, especially if they are all featuring the same MS as an entry can be bad. Revision of this goal is necessary:

o Course Correction:enter at least 2 contests. Beware of participating in more than 3 with the same MS. (This is just a personal thing for me. This is not a rule that all querying writers should follow. I just think avoiding overexposure on the contests circuit is a good thing).

· 3 blogs a week for 21 weeks. This is cray cray and again, completely secondary to my mission. It’s another fun number I can quantify, track, and report but it’s irrelevant to my greater goal of improving as a writer. I got sucked into the whole counting/tracking thing when I had a lot of free time on my hands (during my sabbatical from corporate America, i.e. the great lay-off of 2013). Naturally, I spent that time writing, blogging, and tracking. I don’t have that kind of time or access anymore. I want to spend my words on my stories as much as possible. That’s not to say I wont be blogging. Remember, my mission in starting this whole thing was to get resources to those seeking them. So yeah, I’m going to continue blogging. Just going to scale this goal back a bit.

o Course Correction:blog at least once a week for 21 weeks. Still in line with my mission to bring resources to folks but flexible enough to fit around my life.

· Write 200k words in 2014. I don’t even know what to think about this goal right now. My word counts are low so far – for a number of reasons. But a high word count goal IS in step with my overall writerly goal to improve craft. I think I’m going to keep this goal just to see where I land. There’s no shame in falling short – only in not trying.

o Course Correction: None at this time.

· Finish 2 MS’s in 2014. One down, one to go.

o Course Correction: None at this time.

· 40 books read. Again, this is an insane goal for me considering everything else that is going on in my life. But, I don’t want to discount it because reading is in line with my overall goal of improving as a writer. I think I’m going to keep this one….even though I’m way behind and my TBR pile is huge.

o Course Correction: None at this time.

Running and Fitness Goals for 2014:

· Register for the Dopey Challenge. I hinted about this goal in my March recap post. And if you follow me on Twitter I’m sure you’ve seen my tweets. The Dopey Challenge is a runDisney race featuring a 5k, 10k, Half, and Full Marathon over 4 days. And I’m just dopey enough to try it.

· Train for Dopey challenge. Races like this require A LOT of training and I want to be seriously prepared for this race. Luckily, in true Disney fashion, the folks at runDisney have though of everything. They have a training plan posted online that begins in July. Swing back by the blog from time to time to read my updates on training as part of my run-write series.

· Run a Half during training for time (must be done before Oct). Most of the races I run my only goal is to finish strong. But Disney’s new corral placement system requires proof of time. Since I took so much time off from racing last year I don’t have any certified times ready to submit so I need a race. Should be interesting.

· Switch to water as my primary beverage on July 1. I’m full on addicted to soda. I drink three cans at work. I drink at least one at home at night and I drink coffee in the morning. All of that amounts to a ton of caffeine and very little water. My old friend the-over-caffeinated eye twitch has come back. And if I’m serious about training for this race I need to seriously reconsider my nutrition and hydration. First step, break up with Coke Zero. (*kisses ice-cold can of delicious Coke Zero* Though we may part, I will always carry a special place for you in my heart).

Personal Life Goals for 2014:

· Take class to learn the skills needed to defeat the soul destroying exam scheduled for June. This goal is currently underway. My class meets Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday (and then there’s homework on top of that). It’s a big lift considering I’m also working full time, married, and writing.

· Crush soul destroying exam scheduled in June. (*fingers crossed* this goal is on track.)

· Spend more time on the motorcycle with the hubby. Riding on the back terrifies me but I think if I can get over the fear it might actually be fun. This goal is a little vague because we are at the mercy of the weather and my fear. I’d love to say ‘go for a ride with the hubs once a month during the summer’ but I don’t know if that is realistic at all. We shall see.

· Go tubing/beach/kayak/backpacking at least once each this summer. LOL. Okay, so I love being outside. I love the water and the forest. And between the Day Job (DJ) and class and writing I don’t get much time outside doing anything other than running. This goal is made more tough because it requires vacation days. Being new at the DJ I don’t have a ton of vacation days. Between family vacations and the Dopey Challenge most of the days I do have are already spent. But I love being outdoors so this is an important one – and fun.

That’s where I am. Correcting my course to make sure I’m true to myself, my goals, and my commitments. Changing goals (or dumping them altogether) doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It’s the smart thing to do to ensure you succeed at what matters most.

Where are you on your goals for the year?

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