Sunday, August 19, 2012

Short List Goals

Preface- Some of the contributors to our facebook club told me that they aren't the list writing type. Which is fine-- part of the allure of writing is that you can do you what you want--there are no set rules on the process of writing.  After some short talks I learned that one already has the goal of getting one for her novels published before her next birthday. And another just wants to get the creative juices flowing again (she's been out of her creative writing habit recently). So if you're at that point were you already know what you want to focus on, then just do it! I've started posting writing prompts (other contributors feel free to post your favorite prompts). After we get a good amount posted here, I'll create a prompt page that will list all the ones that have been posted (so it's easier to use).

Week 2 homework assignment-prime cut list

Ok, so now that we have a fatty list it's time to slim it down to a doable amount. Ask yourself the following questions:
  1. What time frame am I looking at? For the purposes of this blog, I am willing to dedicate a year of being an engaged, interactive cheerleader. To our contributors, because of this, the longest time frame you have on the list should be a year (September 2013). If I'm not burned out or I still see that we have people still engaged we'll do it for another year.
  2. What does your current schedule/life style look like? That is, 'How much time do you have to dedicate to your writing?' If you are already overwhelmed with a packed schedule-- you don't want to add on too big of projects. Keep in mind when you're narrowing your list what other goals, jobs, activities, responsibilities you have. Make sure that the intensity of your goals fit into where you are in life.
  3. Kind of going hand and hand with the above question- how important is writing to you currently? Can you make it a priority? Is this a hobby or a career for you? It's alright if writing isn't at the top of the list. But be honest with your goals in how much work you are willing to do in this area.
  4. Where are you as a writer? A writer that is just starting to write will, and should, have different types of goals than a writer that has been out of the habit or a veteran writer who has revised and polished pieces. Make sure your short list emphasizes where you are as a writer.
  5. What goals will better you as a writer? There are always parts of the process that we favor. We like fun writing group nights with prompts or the excitement of starting a new piece or in my case outlining something. But then we lose steam, or have to do the hard work of revising, or researching publishers. blah. What good is a thousand written prompt excises if you don't do something with them? Sometimes we have to do the steps that we don't like to be better and more fulfilled as a writer.
  6. And the most important question-- What goals are most important to you? If you don't care about what your goals are, you're more likely to abandon them.

Reorganize The List

With your answers from the previous screen in mind, start limiting your list.
I found by first reorganizing the list into categories:
  • it showed me what my current interest areas are
  • some of my goals were similar enough to combine or similar enough that I could pick one out of the group to work on
  • some of my goals are steps to another goal
  • some goals I actually didn't care about; but felt I should add them

Creating the smaller list

First, get rid of the extra by crossing off:
  • goals that are less important or you don't care about
  • goals that are not going to be fitting into the year time period
  • anything that is you feel is completely too demanding or completely out of reach for the moment 
Rank each item (or rank each item within a category). You can take your top one from each category, or you may find that some categories are more important to you than others. Again, what's most important should reflect where you are as a writer. Also, boring goals that aren't exciting can be as important if not more important than the ones that fire you up.

Rewrite your short list

Create a new list of all the goals that made the cut. Is the list too long? too short?
By each goal, write down how much time will be needed for it. Is it a yearly goal, can it be done in a day, does this goal need to be maintained on a regular basis? If you have more than a couple yearly goals or maintain for a year goals, you may want to consider cutting the list down some more. Your list should be doable yet challenging.

Post your short list here!

1 comment: