A new year means new beginnings. Many people start exercise programs or make lists of things they wish to accomplish in the next months. Several people will record the names of books and authors they read in 2015. Others will chart the numbers of miles they run, new recipes they want try or numbers of jig saw puzzles they work. If you are reading this, you are probably a writer and have thought about your ongoing or upcoming works.
Ø Since January 1st has passed, begin your path toward your goals on a Monday. This is a psychological benchmark that helps you focus and feel energized.
Ø Make a plan. Good intentions are not enough. Actual plans prevent procrastination.
Ø Do not have a back up plan. “Plan B” weakens your resolve to work hard on Plan A. Think though what you want to accomplish and how you going to do it. The more details the better.
Ø Build in a strong incentive. Monetary rewards have shown great success. StickK.com is a web site that will take your money and donate it to a cause of your choice if you fail. Make a pact with a spouse or friend who also has set some type of a goal. The person who does not complete his or her desired goal treats the other to an agreed upon pay-out. It could be dinner out, a weekend trip, a pre-set number of doing a chore for the one person or whatever you can find that will be the impetus for you to work hard on your own goal.
Ø Place benchmarks throughout your main plan. These can be small or short goals. Reaching each one is a reinforcement and reward for accomplishing a portion of your goal and encouragement for reaching for the next mark.
Ø Experts tell us to conserve our willpower. We do not have an unending supply of it. Do not attempt to work on several major goals in a given time. For instance, you should not try to loss 35 pounds, learn a new language and write a novel in the same span of time. All will fail because you will have spent your willpower.
For writers, an evaluation of our writing achievements from the previous year is a good beginning to setting our writing goals for the future. Ask yourself these questions.
# What did I write this past year? How many stories did I actually finish? How many did I start? How many did I discard as rubbish? (These efforts should not be discounted as we always learn from our efforts.)
# Did I enter any contests? Did I “podium” in any of them? Would I enter any of the same contests again? Do I want to find other contests to enter?
# Did I take any writing classes and what was my goal and outcome of those classes? Would I take more classes from that source? Why or why not? What other classes are offered, at what time, the topics, the cost, the time and the place?
# Did I do what I set out to do writing-wise last year?
# Am I proud of my writing(s)? Why and why not?
Writers are always challenged. Each day presents us with opportunities. It is up to us to decide what we are going to do with them. Good luck in your writing for this year! Good luck to Jenny in all she does!