Setting Writing Goals

 

I am not, by nature, a terribly organized person. But I’ve had to become one out of self-defense. Between family and work and day-to-day minutia, writing time will get eaten if you let it.

Back in January, I looked back at 2016 and I could see that I hadn’t accomplished all I really wanted to writing-wise. Thinking about it, I decided that I needed more concrete actions to try to reach my goals. The Antoine de Saint-Exupery quote above really resonated with me, so one of my goals for 2017 was to start setting more deadlines for myself, because without them, time can slip away.

I started erratically keeping a bullet journal last year. I’ll be honest, the BuJo system didn’t 100% work for me, so I made some adjustments to it and am now using my notebook more like a traditional day planner with a few extras.

Every month I set up a calendar for the month with a page opposite to write down
what I want to accomplish that month. I’ve experimented with different formats for the weekly pages, and finally found one I like. There’s a space at the beginning to note weekly goals and a place to track a couple of things.

What I’ve done to help myself get more done this year:

  • Set a calendar for the year with writing goals. I’ve adjusted this as I figure out how long things actually take. (I have a pretty good idea of how much first draft I can write in an hour, but I had no idea how long edits took me. I had to adjust my initial goals to account for that.)
  • set monthly goals
  • set weekly goals
  • schedule writing time on my daily calendar, particularly in the morning right when I wake up and before my kids do. If I get in even a brief writing session in the morning, it seems to make it easier to fit more in later in the day. I keep my planner next to my laptop so when I sit down I see “Write” written in below the day of the week and it reminds me to prioritize it.
  • As a subset of the above, I shut down my browser at night and leave whatever document I’m working on open so it’s the first thing i see when I go to the computer.
  • log my writing time and give myself a sticker if I hit my daily goal. I tried having a separate grid for the whole month to fill in with stickers, but it seems to work better for me if I fill in on the weekly calendar as I go.
  • At the end of the weekly pages, I have a page to track what I’ve read, and then opposite that, a page where I assess if I met my goals for myself, and why I didn’t if I didn’t.

So here’s this week’s layout, with stickers and notes. I do think this year I am accomplishing¬†more of what I want to, because I’ve set timelines instead of hoping to get X amount of things done this year. It’s also helped in that I can look back and see how I spent my time, instead of getting to the end of the month and either having met my wordcount/editing goal/whatever or not, but not having documentation of how I got there. (Or didn’t!) A big part of staying on track for me is finding the balance between not beating myself up if things get too busy that I don’t meet my goal, but also not letting procrastination¬†set in. My process is constantly evolving, but this is working for me right now. I’d love to hear what works for you.

 

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