SMART Writing

How many times do I, or other writers, blog about our plans and our goals and our word counts? We get excited by 1,000 words here, a contest there... Well, now Claire, at All The World's Our Page, has challenged herself and us:

"The most important question of all when it comes to writing is, why do you want to do this?
If the answer is just to see if you can, or because you love the process, then you don’t need to set strict goals for yourself. The enjoyment is in the process.
But if the answer is because you want to see your work published, then you need to set yourself some concrete goals and treat this as more than a hobby. Not necessarily as a job- but absolutely as a project that requires strong management."

She details the steps for managing the writing project, which I won't repeat here. Go see!
What I will show is how I broke it down:

I had a stack of note cards handy, and was so inspired by her post that I grabbed the first one and wrote across the top Specific. Then I wrote down nine items related to THE FACE OF A LION and Rose's story, from agent seeking to contest participation to getting a further 60,000 words down and finishing the first draft of Rose's story.

That wasn't enough. On the second note card I wrote Measurable, and detailed final deadlines for each step. The third note card was headed Achievable, and I jotted down ideas for when to get the work done.

The final card is titled Relevant and Time Limited and looks like this:

1. Agents - SAT am - 1 hour each week
(for me this means send my letter for THE FACE OF A LION to all the agents I've found/heard of in the past couple of months that might best fit me, tweaking the letter for each one; once that list is exhausted I'll search for new agents; either way, this process continues every Saturday until I land an agent. I mean, what's an hour every weekend?)

2. Contests - THIS FRI pm - done!
(I had two or three writing contests to submit to, and I've done that. Two aren't accepting submissions until later this year, so I saved those in my email.)

3. Blog Promotion Project - THIS SAT pm
(this should only involve one or two steps, mostly internet searches and a quick letter. If it works, you'll definitely hear more about it!)

4. 500-word Weekdays - get up at 6 am
(I always talk about getting up at 5 and going off to the cafe to write before work. I'm finally realising why this never succeeds beyond a day or two - I love writing pen on paper, but I put off transcribing all those words. Then I get backlogged, and end up using possible writing time (weekends, mainly) to type up previously written words. And who wants to get up at 5 all the time? My new, smart option, is to get up at 6, and write at home! on the pc! and not pressure myself. On pen and paper I can get up to 1500 words an hour, so 500 on the pc should be achievable. I'm going to reset the alarm clock right now.)

5. Research - 1 library book or 2 pages of notes (usually off the internet) - take notes MON/TUE/WED pm
(this is mostly what I've been doing anyway, so hopefully there's nothing unachievable here. With at least 10 library books left, I ought to complete this stage in about 10 weeks, and then the goal will change to begin consolidating my notes as relevant to the should-be-more-near-completion draft.)

And that's it! Five specific goals. Measurable - an hour earlier each day and one extra hour on Saturdays. How can it not be achievable?

Only one item I didn't note on the cards. Surrey. The Surrey International Writers' Conference. I'd love to go this year.


Aubrie said…
Those are great goals! Sometimes I schedule in writing time or bring a notebook with me when I know I'll have time even if I'm away from the computer.

:) Good luck with your queries.

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