Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Importance of Goal Setting

As a teacher, I often speak to my students of the importance of setting goals. I believe having a target is important no matter your career or your age. I've heard writers speak of writing only a line per day or their writing plans being set aside for other issues.
Granted we all have emergencies that interfer with our writing time, but how often do we as writers make the effort to squeeze that time out of another chunk of our lives. My local chapter of RWA started the monthly and annual goal setting thing a few years ago. At first I gave it little attention. I thought myself too busy to hold myself to some plan when I never knew what the next day would bring. Well, one of those next days fortunately brought me a book contract. Suddenly I had many demands on my time not the least of which was to get that next book completed. All those promotional ideas I'd stuffed in a folder to deal with later were now due. Past due!
For a few weeks I felt completely overwhelmed. Then one day I sat down and made a list of exactly what I needed to do. And one by one, I did the things on that list and then crossed them off. I set deadlines for such things as updating my website, getting promotional material ordered, finishing a synopsis and the multitude of other things I had to get done. I set goals. I wrote them down.
I read a thriller a few years ago and a line from that book comes back to remind me when I don't take the time to write down what I've done and what I yet need to tackle. "If it isn't written down, it never happened." I like to add if I don't write it down it may never happen. So write those goals down. Share them with a fellow writer, a critique partner or even your spouse. Hold yourself accountable and make it happen.

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