Showing posts with label setting goals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label setting goals. Show all posts

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Writing Goals for 2014


Each year in January I sit down and formulate my goals for the coming year. These are not resolutions, this is an actual to do list. In setting your goals yearly, it is important to have a vision of where you wish to be in the future - perhaps 5 or 10 years from now, then goals become the steps you will take to get you there.

Your goals as a writer may include the number of hours a week you will devote to your latest project. It might also include dates when you hope to have larger pieces completed. It should also contain some marketing - how often you will post to certain social media sites, up-date your website, etc.

Often it seems that we forget an important area - reading. When writers inform me they are too busy to read, I know there will be a challenge for them. As writers some of our learning is done through the process of reading and analyzing the work of other writers. This is an important step that often times is forgotten.

This year I challenge you to not only commit to reading a certain number of books, articles, etc, but to also review or comment on what you've read. Let's make this a year of continued growth for all writers.

______________________________

D. Jean Quarles is a writer of Women's Fiction and a co-author of a Young Adult Science Fiction Series. Her latest book, House of Glass, Book 2 of The Exodus Series was written with coauthor, Austine Etcheverry.

D. Jean loves to tell stories of personal growth – where success has nothing to do with money or fame, but of living life to the fullest. She is also the author of the novels: Rocky's Mountains, Fire in the Hole and, Perception. The Mermaid, an award winning short story was published in the anthology, Tales from a Sweltering City.  

She is a wife, mother, grandmother and business coach. In her free time . . . ha! ha! ha! Anyway, you can find more about D. Jean Quarles, her writing and her books at her website at www.djeanquarles.com

You can also follower her at www.djeanquarles.blogspot.com or on Facebook


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Goal Setting for the New Year




I long ago stopped making “New Year’s Resolutions,” because as we all know they only last about a week, right? Go on a diet, exercise more, write more, be happier, etc.

I wonder, why does that happen? Perhaps it’s because these resolutions are just too broad, too sweeping—“write more”—what does that mean? It could mean writing one page more than you wrote last year. Or perhaps you set goals that you can't possibly give yourself, that aren't within your control. Goals like, “I’m going to become a published author this year,” or “I’m going to win a writing contest this year.” These goals are beyond your control and you are setting yourself up for failure.

Be specific. There’s a difference between your dreams (being published, winning awards) and your achievable goals. For example, as a goal, you may write down “I will write for ten minutes a day” or “I will write 500 words a day.” Those are specific and they are attainable. (Not: write for 12 hours a day or write 10,000 words a day. Unrealistic.)

A goal that can help you on your path to publication may be “I will submit one short story (or article) per month (or every 3 months, or whatever achievable time frame you set).” Or “I will make a list of ten agents (or publishers)” and “I will submit one query per month (or whatever time frame).”

A goal to put you closer to winning a contest may be similar: “I will submit an entry to one contest every month (or other time frame).”

Others might be: “I will join a critique group.”
“I will take a class in memoir (fiction, creative non-fiction).”
“I will finish the first draft of my book by July 1.”
“I will complete the second rewrite of my book by December 1.”

Divide your larger goals into mini goals you can work on each day.
“I'll write three pages before I go to bed today.”
“I'll finish that outline today.”
“I'll research that information I need today.”

My immediate goal is to put the final polish on a non-fiction book by my deadline of January 31. My next goal is to begin the rewrite on what will become the fourth novel in my series. Perhaps I want to give myself a deadline to finish that novel and submit it to my publisher by November 1. To help me along with that, I plan to revive the critique group I got started last fall. If I want to refine that, I could say that I will have five (or ten) pages per week ready for my critique partners.

How do you set goals and what are some of yours?

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A native Montanan, Heidi M. Thomas now lives in North-central Arizona. Her first novel, Cowgirl Dreams, is based on her grandmother, and the sequel, Follow the Dream, won the national WILLA Award. Heidi has a degree in journalism, a certificate in fiction writing, and is a member of the Independent Editors Guild. She teaches writing and edits, blogs, and her next book Dare to Dream Will be published next May.
 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Balancing Act: Mother and Writer



            How to Begin a Freelance Writing Career at Home When You're a Mom

            You love your kids and you love to write. How can you do both?

Whether you have small children, middle-sized children, or big children – moms have a lot on their plates. We’re great at multi-tasking but usually it is for others and not ourselves. 

I’ve been a mom for 30 years and counting. With a 17 and 11 year old at home (and homeschooled) and my tendency to write only when inspired, I’ve learned it is imperative to work consistently if I am going to have a home-based, freelance writing career.

Once you have made the decision to be purposeful in your writing and have identified your yearly goals and weekly objectives, here are some tips for busy moms:
  • ·   Scheduling
There’s no doubt that the kiddos come first. But that doesn’t mean you cannot find time to write. Even very young children can learn to respect mom’s time. Of course, life happens and there may be interruptions to work around. But if you do not have a designated time scheduled for writing every day, it won’t happen. You have to have a target to aim at or you will not hit it.
  • Space
You need a writing space. That doesn’t mean you can’t sit on the couch with your laptop while the children are nearby. But your writing space will be one spot to keep your supplies and a place to go when you sit down at your designated time. It also makes you feel more professional. I fit a small desk in my bedroom. It immediately took my writing from casual blogging to writing magazine articles with a purpose. 


  • System
If you don’t buy the groceries this week you won’t be preparing any meals! Rarely do things go well when it’s hit or miss. This was my difficulty. I am very organized and efficient when it comes to managing my home but the writing kept falling through the cracks. That's because I only wrote when inspired. I learned if I sat down at my designated time, inspiration would come.

Choose certain days for specific tasks. For example, on Tuesdays and Thursdays I check the freelance job boards for assignments and apply. Once a week I write an article and submit it to the 3 magazines I'm interested in. Twice a week I research various topics I need to learn such as keywords, driving traffic to my site, etc. The internet is bursting with free courses!

I also bought a composition notebook and keep a "diary" of my daily writing accomplishments. It really helped me stay encouraged when I had an off week due to sickness, interruptions, and appointments.
  • Sanity
Let’s face it, moms are in demand! Yet, it’s alright to communicate to family and friends that you are unavailable when you’re working from home. 

If your children are very young and an hour a day is all you can manage, make that hour count. Plan on writing in the morning before the children are up, during naps, or after they go to bed. Or provide a quiet activity for your children while you write.  If your children go to school then designate 2-4 hours each day and stick with it. 

If you don’t treat your freelance writing seriously, no one else will. It’s a business that will provide an income and that’s serious stuff.
  • ·  Successful
Since joining an online writing group, I have learned to believe I can have a freelance writing business from home.  If you are a stay-at-home mom, you are used to working and not getting a paycheck. To think you can actually get paid for a writing assignment or publishing a book seems out of reach. 

I’ve got great news for you: it is within your reach.

However, it’s going to take patience and work. Don’t discount submitting one magazine article each week to an article directory or taking a resume writing course and begin offering resume writing services – it all counts. Just keep plugging away and don’t give up. 


Even if you have a goal of writing a book or a becoming a regular contributor to a magazine, you have to start somewhere. Dream big, but don’t forget to make it happen with earning money from writing projects that will help develop your platform, develop your writing skills, and get you where you want to go.

Do you have any ideas to add? Please share them!

                                                          ~



Kathleen Moulton lives at the foothills of the beautiful Adirondack Mountains in Upstate NY. She is a 25 year veteran homeschooling mom, a member of the Working Writer’s Club, and monthly contributor to Heartbeat the Magazine. You can find her passion to encourage at "When it Hurts" - http://kathleenmoulton.com
 


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