Today is my one year blog-iversary! I feel like trumpets should be sounding, confetti should be flying, and someone should be pouring the champagne. Why? Because I hit my writing goals last year. Every last one of them, including starting and maintaining this blog.
How? Great question since I procrastinate. I fear failure. I loathe imperfection. I spent a few months prepping my website (hellooooo learning curve) and preparing a few blog posts in order to go live January 1, 2018. On that date in my planner, I wrote, “Do not be afraid!” I knew I would chicken out if I didn’t have that reminder. Taking my writing public and opening myself for critique and criticism was a huge challenge and risk for me. But here I am–still alive.
If this sounds like you, trust me when I say if I could do it, you can too. Here is the short version of the steps I took. If you’d like a free goal-setting worksheet, click here!
Give yourself some quiet time and space to think.
Maybe the local coffee shop has enough background noise for you to concentrate. Maybe you send the kids to grandma’s for a few hours so you have silence in your own home. Whatever your brand of thinking space, make room for it. You need to genuinely consider your dreams here, and that won’t come easily if you’re trying to multitask. I set aside an hour but found I needed only about 20 minutes to be honest with myself.
What are your wants and dreams?
Don’t be bashful–be honest. If you could have/do/be anything, what would it be? Write it all down. Silence that inner critic that tells you it’s impossible or stupid or too far out of reach. Then, take each dream and ask yourself how you could make it happen. What are the baby steps you’d have to take to start down that path? Write it all down and create a timeline for yourself.
Then, be honest with yourself. One of my dreams is to get a literary agent. I have zero control over that in some ways, but I can write and edit and edit some more. I can polish my work and give it to beta readers and re-work it some more. I can research the industry and find out how to write a kick-butt query letter. I can do more research and find out which agents would be the best match for me and for my writing.
One of my dreams is also to win the lottery, but there’s not much I can do short of buying tickets. Which I never do. Assess your dreams and look for the kind of difference between my two examples here.
Put your list of dreams and goals where you’ll see them.
I printed mine out and put it in my planner. I also had a copy on my phone. I didn’t want it displayed on a wall at home or on my desk at work. This was a private challenge for me.
Some people will tell you to share your goals with someone else to better hold yourself accountable. This is a great idea, but I would like to add something: Only share them with someone who is in your corner, who supports you no matter what, and who knows the inner workings of your brain. I told my husband that I was really going to go for writing a book, but that was it. My intrinsic fear of failure coupled with perfectionism means I often freeze up and procrastinate. The thought alone of sharing my goals with the world started a deep freeze. As I began ticking off my goals, I shared them with more and more trusted people. At the end of December, I shared my completed novel with three co-workers who are reading it over our Christmas break. If that had been a goal of mine a year ago, I guarantee you I would have frozen at the thought. So be judicious. It’s ok to keep them private as long as you are honest with yourself.
Check in with your goals. Update your progress. Adjust as needed.
Again, be honest with yourself. Don’t self-sabotage. Don’t make excuses. Decide that you’re going to do it. If something takes you longer than you anticipated, that’s ok. Adjust your timeline. It took me longer to write my first draft because I edited a lot as I went (and I researched probably more than I needed to). BUT, that made my life easier during the editing rounds.