Once the first part of the goal planning process (Reflect: Goal Planning Process Step 1) is done, it’s time to move onto step two. This second step is where I brainstorm and begin to break down everything I want to accomplish with my new goals.
Brainstorming is a process in which someone gets all of their thoughts about a particular subject out of their mind and into some sort of documentation. I do this both on paper and digitally. Leading up to the time I’m getting ready to set new goals, usually when I’m working on a set of current goals, I start to think about what I’ll be working on next. As ideas come to me about what I’ll be working on next, whether those ideas are around a project coming up and how I want to create a certain act of that project or research I want to do based around a quality I want a character to have, I will write those ideas out in whichever paper journal I’m currently working in. Then, when I reach this brainstorming process for my new goals, I track down all of those notes and have them ready as I go. If I think of a solid idea that doesn’t require much digging in this step, like an act in a story where I need to add information about a character based on a revelation from a previous draft, I will usually write that down directly into the digital document I’m working in for this goal setting. If it’s an idea I need to tease out a bit, like a new character who introduced themself in a previous draft and I’m unsure how they will interact with a character in the current cast, I will usually write that in my paper journal. That allows me to write notes, ask questions, and work through my thoughts in whatever convoluted, often topsy-turvy way my brain needs to so I can reach a way to phrase that thought that will make sense to me when I look back at it. Once I’ve reached that somewhat more understandable way of phrasing the goal I want to work on, I write that in my digital document. I find that doing both allows my brain to fire on all cylinders as it were and then I’m not hindered by trying to force myself to do things one way.
Once I’ve finished brainstorming, I can start to look at just how much of what I’ve written out can be accomplished in the amount of time I have available. I base this on the quarter I’m in for my writing year, which I plan from June of one year to May of the next. I know exactly what I’m doing June through August with a general idea of what I want to accomplish the rest of the year. This step is where I look at everything from my brainstorming activity, plus what I’d sketched out for my year, and make the list of goals I’m going to stick too. I find that there are overlaps, but there are also things that have come up that I want to add and things I thought I’d do that are no longer going to be done for one reason or another. Having that rough idea for the year helps give me perimeters based on any long term goals I’m trying to reach. Combining what’s come up with what I already had planned is then a little easier because I’ve already laid out a framework for where I’m going. When I’m done this step, I’ve got a detailed list of what my goals are going to be and I’m ready to move to the next step.
In case you haven’t been told today, you are more than enough.
A word on this series. Goal planning is a process and this series of blogs is a look at what mine is. It’s a process I’ve created based on countless articles, motivational speeches, goal planning systems (both paper and digital), etc. and advice from writers, authors, friends, motivational speakers, mentors, etc. given or read across all kinds of platforms such as social media, in books, etc. over decades of being a student, writer, human, etc.