Tuesday, April 8, 2014

G is for Goals

G is for Goals*
Goals are a wonderful thing. Whether you are a creative free-spirit or an obsessive go-getter, April is a good time to evaluate your goals.

If you're on track to achieving your writing and illustrating dreams so far . . . share your secrets below.

But if you have fallen behind in some areas, it's time to pick yourself up and move forward.

Here are some of my strategies for consistent progress.
Easy as 1 - 2- 3.

1. Gain confidence by recording positive accomplishments. Grab a journal or use a calendar. Mark the date, and any progress you have made today. Remember, stay positive.
       List items like completing a draft, sketching milestones, entering a contest, faithful blogging, positive critique feedback, submitting a query.
       Don't worry if your draft was stinky, your sketching felt stiff, you didn't win the contest or secure a contract.
       Gathering tiny successes can lead to a renewed sense of confidence and lay the groundwork for bigger successes.

Goals, planner, and lists galore

2. Gauge your progress with lists, calendars, spreadsheets - whichever tool you need to get you from start to finish. I am a list-making fool, so I go a bit overboard. Maybe a few of my ideas will work for you.

  • Dayplanner: Large events go on the monthly page, and breakdowns get written on each day. I record the project deadline, then work backwards, recording mini-deadlines to keep each project manageable (and on track).
  • Deadline List: I have a separate list posted right in front of my nose which lists pending events and dates. It is a constant reminder that I am working toward something.
  • Spreadsheets: I have one for work that is currently subbed out and one for the status of my projects. This way I can tell at a glance if I need to get writing, revising, or submitting. The goal is to have some work in each category at all times.
               The Submissions Spreadsheet has a column each for the title, date sent, client, editor's name and email, expected response date, outcome, and a section for notes.
               The Manuscript Spreadsheet has columns after each title. It charts if the work is still in revision, ready to be dummied, or out on submission. This form lists if a ms has been critiqued, and by whom. I have plans to update this information to a different type of system. Stay tuned.

Marcie Atkins has some useful forms which may help you get organized. Here is another sub form you might like.

3. Generate ideas for new work. Sometimes we spend so much time perfecting the old manuscripts and subbing them out, we forget to create fresh pieces.
       There are plenty of ways to do this.
You might feel like you are getting side-tracked, but sometimes new projects give us a fresh perspective on old ones. Just don't forget to finish what you start.

What are your creative plans for 2014? Are you making progress? What holds you back? What moves you forward? I'd love to hear your successes, setbacks, and where you're headed from here.

* Follow the A to Z Challenge.

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