Setting goals for the year (couldn’t have done it without you)

Last year was rubbish for me. I met none of my creative goals but floundered around in a fug of worry and self-doubt. (A lot of life happened.) Not a helpful state. Something needed to change. So…

Recently I attended a workshop on setting creative goals given by writer, journalist and writing coach Kaite Welsh. The purpose was to learn how to set goals and start putting some in place.

I do this for work: look at the time I have available, the tasks that need done and figure out whether I can get it all done. I manage my own time and priorities on a daily basis.

For some reason, everything I know about project management and planning goes out of the window when it comes to fiction. It’s as if because it’s personal, the creative stuff exists in a parallell dimension.

Kaite reminded me that it doesn’t. More importantly: creative tasks can be prioritised. She took us through a number of exercises that helped us focus and think about what we wanted to achieve.

After an interesting, fun and reassuring day – never under-estimate the comfort of knowing you’re not the only one with a particular problem – I had not only a head full of enthusiasm for getting things done AND a viable plan. And I have to stick to it, because Kaite will check in with me to see how it’s going towards the end of June. Look! An external deadline. I love those.

To increase the pressure, I’m making the outline of the plan official. Here goes:

  1. Weeks 4 and 5 (this week): read project 4 and write list of research, decision and plot questions that need answers.
  2. Weeks 6 through 8: deal with the research and make decisions.
  3. Mid-Feb to EO June: edit project.
  4. July 1st: Pass to First Reader.

The third point covers a huge chunk. I have part goals within that but that’s more detail that you need. Suffice to say: #iamediting and will continue to do so. (This morning before work I finished the readthrough: now I need to type up and categorise the 26 pages of notes I made before moving on to research.)

Project 4 will be ready for sending to agents and publishers later this year.

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