Goal planning. I LOVE making goals. Making and completing goals requires a TON of flexibility. Really, flexibility is just as important in setting your goals, as setting your goals. I can’t stress it enough and I apologize for the redundancy, but it’s THAT IMPORTANT. Life happens, and will continue to have it’s highs and lows, most of which are beyond our capability to predict. Any number of the things that can and will happen in life, will get in the way of the goals you make. But, making the goals gives you a clear idea of what you want to do with a set period of time and the commitment to make those things happen.
I set goals for what I want to accomplish within a year. My writing/blog goal calendar year, runs from June of one year to May of the next. I set my goals that way for a few reasons. I don’t want the work that I’m doing and the progress I’m making with my writing, to get caught up in the intensity of New Year’s resolutions. I love celebrating the New Year, but I try to look at the New Year as a time to refocus and rejuvenate my motivation around what is important to me that I am already working on. Also, breaking my goals down this way works best with where writing related events happen in the year, like National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI)conference. I break that year into quarters, and plug in where those large events fall. That gives me an idea of how much time I will have to write and work within those quarters.
Once I’ve mapped out the year ahead, I can start to decide which goals I will work on during which quarters and months of the upcoming year. I make sure that I give myself the time I need to complete a goal. For instance, since I know I will be doing NaNoWriMo the entire month of November, I won’t also make a goal to read a couple of books on writing craft that month. That would be too much for me to try to accomplish in November. I also give myself time to prepare for NaNoWriMo in October. I spend the second half of October coming up with a story idea, working on character profiles or sketching settings of the story, and making a general plan for what I will write for NaNoWriMo. Again, I’ll talk a lot about NaNoWriMo in October and all through November. I make a document with each quarter broken down into months and plug in which goals I will work on where. In my writer’s journal, I break the months down into weeks and decide what I will do each week to work toward the goals I’ve set.
These are things I do when I prepare to map out my goals in a year. I want to take the time to talk about how I decided what goals I would set this year based on the year previously, how I reflect on the past year, the way I’ve set my goal planning document and the planning I do digitally vs on paper in the next post.
What are you working on for goals this year? Do you do it all digitally or on paper too?