Photo by Emma Rose
Spring is a week old, and I am revitalized. In the Pacific Northwest of the U.S., nestled against the Cascade Mountains, blooming flowers and birds harkening to afternoon sunshine lift my spirits, and with it, my drive to write and produce. Spring beginnings is also a great time to look back at the New Year writing goals, to analyze what you are doing to improve skills, and checking off accomplishments that will catapult you to the next level.
Is your writing production where you want it, or too many days you did not even try? How did you justify not writing? Life presses on us from multiple directions, but looking back, did you invent excuses not to write? We all do that on occasion; what we don’t want is to make not writing the norm rather than the exception.
If on track, checking items off your list, progressing as you had planned, Great; keep at it even though spring sunshine tantalizes you to venture outside. Certainly go for those walks, enjoy the sounds and life blossoming all around you, but don’t let those things take time away from your writing; I write in the early AM so as not to impede enjoying life’s blessings.
Lists for Every Occasion
I am a habitual list-maker, and making lists has long been a part of my routine. Whether a list of clients to contact, products to order, or stops during a shopping trip, I always have some sort of numbered list in my note pad. By-the-way, my note pad is really a note pad, you know, paper with a cardboard cover.
My writing lists are many and varied depending on the topic. For instance, one list may be geared to my novel-in-progress (study Phoenician culture, visit a museum with early antiquities), while a general list may include write 1,000 words a day, finish a short story a month, or research markets for the mystery short story recently completed.
My lists include items I know I will not accomplish. Why? When writing lists, shoot for the moon and you will likely hit the top of the mountain; aim for the mountain and the goals will be entrenched beside you as if your legs are stuck in waist deep mud. Aim high and accomplishments will fall in line.
There is a difference between goals that are beyond your control (publish a bestseller) and things you can control (finish the novel by September). Write both down, surely, because writing down ideas and goals makes those items real and tangible—as a writer, words not written down are only hopes and dreams, and in essence, delusion. Don’t be self-deluded. Write.
Perusing my goals from the first of the year, I noticed several things:
- Every day since the beginning of the year, I have accomplished something to do with my passion, whether writing, studying writing, researching, or reading.
- Well on my way to reaching my Submission Circle goal of completing 6-8 stories and sending them to potential markets. During the first quarter, I have completed (revised or written) 5 stories that require a final re-read before sending each to the first magazine on their individual list. (This included researching the possible markets for each).
- Completed a couple online courses and/or challenges.
- Reviewing my novel, The Returning, after some worthwhile feedback; however, I have not done much writing on the second novel of The Veil Trilogy.
- Fought off the Black Funk more times than I like to admit.
- Blogged every week and watched the responses (and followers) grow. For this, I thank all of you.
- Developed ideas for two non-fiction books I would like to complete this year and share with my blogging family. More on this as I progress.
- Read two novels and currently reading a How-To book on developing well-rounded characters.
- Following several blogs on the art of writing and marketing one’s work.
- Made a few decisions concerning the future and moving to enact them.
- Have not become a bestselling novelist . . . Sigh.
All-in-all, content with 2016’s progress: checking off items and replacing them with new ideas and goals. Take a moment to review your list from three months ago, and don’t be too hard on yourself if static goals greet you. Today is a new day, so go find time to write down those thoughts whirling through your head because only you can accomplish your dreams.
See you on the next page,
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