Monday, January 24, 2011

Verbal Goals, Time Management, and UsWeekly Magazine

On Saturday, I attended my local writer's group, MVRWA, and we discussed our personal goals for the year. Each January, we take turns telling the group what we want to achieve with our writing. Then we write our goals down on an index card. Hearing my fellow writers' dreams is a huge mood booster and always motivates me to reach higher.

The Saturday before, I kidnapped my husband and forced him to Panera Bread for a discussion about my 2011 business goals. Wendy Delfosse asked me to share the details, so here goes.


I was nervous. Over the years, we've had informal discussions about my writing, but we'd never set an actual date to talk about my plans. After ordering two coffees and settling into a comfy booth, I handed him a printout of things to discuss.

My nerves dissipated as we began with the easy stuff, my hours--no surprises there--then moved on to expenses, writing goals, and my wish list. My husband supported most of my points, but we don't see eye-to-eye on everything, and that's okay. He trusts me to make good decisions, and I trust him to be honest with me.

I highly recommend sitting down with a close friend or your significant other once a year to discuss these things.

Writers, especially unpublished writers, need to view themselves as professionals. By setting verbal goals with another group of writers, you validate your choices. By taking the time to create a business plan and discuss it with someone close to you, you validate your choices. Validation leads to respecting yourself and sticking to your plan.
Once you've set the goals and shared them out loud with someone, you need to actually come up with a plan on how to achieve them. I recently came across a post by Sarah Sundin (do yourself a favor and check out her WWII inspirational romances) at Novel Journey. Her article, Taming Time is so good, I recommend printing it out and keeping it in your planner.

And finally, when you've set your goals and made a plan on how to achieve them, reward yourself! I indulge with a subscription to UsWeekly. It's wonderful to check off my weekly goals and lose myself in a few pages of Fashion Police.

Do you tell anyone your writing goals? What's your favorite regular reward for a job well done?

Favor to ask--MVRWA is launching our group blog today!! I'm the welcome wagon and would love to have you stop by. One of our twelve contributors will be posting every Monday and Wednesday, and we have some extremely talented authors. We'd love to see you, just click here for the MVRWA Group Blog!

Happy Monday!

44 comments:

  1. You are so organized:) When I had my writing group, we did the goals every month we met to encourage progress and see where we were at. Great to have a plan!

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  2. Great post, Jill! I have a few very close friends that I share my writing goals with. It hold me accountable, and it just feels good to talk it out. As far as sharing them with my husband? Well...he knows the minute I stand in front of the TV it's book club discussion. (That's what he calls it when we talk about my writing! Book club! :))

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  3. When I worked in corporate America, we had goal-setting time each year and I'd discuss them with my career counselor. Now that I'm a SAHM, I need to find a new "career counselor" to hold me accountable. :) Great post!

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  4. I don't go so far as to sit down with someone and discuss it. It comes up with my writer's group though. My goals are always in my head. Goals that are attainable. That I can control. The ones out of my control are dreams that I hope come true.

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  5. I share my goals with my critique group. I find it does help me keep accountable. :)

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  6. Having a business meeting with your spouse is a GREAT idea! I'd never thought of that. Sometimes it's easy to keep the sig other in the dark regarding set plans, then wonder why they aren't fully on board. For the record, my husband is mostly on board, but sometimes I take him by surprise when I tell him I'm doing this-or-that.

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  7. Jill, you always have such focused goals. Good luck this year. I want to talk to you soon about your business plan. I'm beginning to think I need to be setting up my own.

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  8. I love to write down my goals. My husband isn't into the whole writing gig, so he wouldn't understand tackle 50K. I write them down and sometimes share them w/ either online friends or several local writer friends.

    My reward is stealing away for reading time.
    ~ Wendy

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  9. My wife and I discuss our writing goals. It is really great to verbalize them!! It helps with focusing and taking yourself seriously. Thanks, Jill!!

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  10. Good morning!

    Terri: Our group sets monthly goals too. We're very productive because of it!

    Jessica: Ha! Book Club! Well, at least you two talk about your writing. Who cares what he calls it, right? ;)

    Sarah: I love the idea of an accountability partner! There are so many wonderful bloggers in the same shoes as you, with small kids at home. Shoot one an e-mail and I'll bet you'll have an AP in no time!

    Laura: Just knowing our goals is such a big step. And I agree with you, we need to keep our goals attainable.

    Jennifer: Yep! There's nothing like announcing you only met 1/4 of your goal to keep you motivated.

    Georgiana: Same here. Sometimes our spouses want to be kept in the dark! It's hard for them to see us disappointed. That's another reason I think it's good to sit down and map out exactly what we do. They can see how hard we are working for our dreams and will put more weight on it.

    Constance: Aw, thanks! We'll get together soon!

    Wendy: Ha! Yeah, 50K, GMC, POV--it's all greek to my hubby too! :)

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  11. Paul: That's so cool! I'm glad you talk about it and that it keeps you focused. I agree!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  12. This was an excellent blog post.

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  13. I share my goals with my CP, my chapter-maties, my husband and my kiddo. She's 2 and totally doesn't get it, but I still share. :) Favorite reward? Depends on the day...but chocolate is always a good go-to answer!

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  14. Happy Monday!

    I have been lax about posting my goals on my blog, though I used to try to do this every month or so.

    Maybe I should make that one of my goals....hmmm... :D

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  15. Oooh, a group blog. I'll have to check it out.

    I don't have a local writer's group right now so I haven't verbally said my goals out loud. I'm letting myself dream a little as I read about celebrations of contracts and agents lately but I think a little dreaming is good once in awhile. It's given me a boost to set bigger goals.

    I'm going to think about this and make my own note card with goals for this year. Thanks!

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  16. Thanks for the info about your group blog! Also, I totally agree with the value of sharing personal goals with someone you are close to (and trust will give you honest feedback). My husband and I do this often re: both personal and professional goals and we both find it very helpful.

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  17. My husband is my goals sounding board. And he's a great cheerleader! My reward is a new book or watching bad reality television (Real Housewives, The Bachelor, etc.), but I LOVE US Mag too!

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  18. Em: Thanks! Can't wait to read your posts over at MVRWA!!

    Kristina: My rewards usually revolve around chocolate too. Weird, huh? :)

    (By the way, Kristina and Em, aka Leigh, are both authors of MVRWA blog too!)

    Erica: You're the ultimate goal diva. Seriously, I have no idea how you manage your time so efficiently, but I know you could teach us all a trick or two!

    Cindy: Your comment made me smile. I've been dreaming more lately too--sometimes it's hard to dream because it stinks to get disappointed, but boy, dreaming is fun!

    Angela C: I love that you both listen to each other's goals. I'm sure it strengthens your relationship, too. Thank you for sharing this!

    Beth: Yay for cheerleaders! And I--wow, I'm ashamed to admit this--watch Jersey Shore. There I said it. I can't help it!!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  19. One of my critique groups shares goals, which I really love.

    Like Wendy's hubby, mine isn't into the writing gig - but he IS into the business gig. Recently I began sharing my goals with him. He may not understand 50k, but he understands "I have to write 8 chapters a month to meet my deadline." Funny thing - he's acting more like my business partner now and pushing me to meet my goals.

    And Jill - thanks for the shout out :)

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  20. Good advice. I need to do this soon. Thanks for the link for Sarah's post. Love her books and her blog!
    Blessings,
    Karen

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  21. Goals are good. I remember doing this once with my husband and I got great things accomplished. I haven't done it in years and your reminder makes me want to try it again.
    I'm going to head over and check out your links right now:)

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  22. I'm off to check out the links!

    I make goals and share them with my husband. He's great about listening to me bounce ideas around. And yes, he's honest enough to set me on a straight path.

    You're quite organized, and I have no doubt you'll stick to those goals.

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  23. Sarah: Ha! We have to speak their language, right? How cool that he's pushing you to meet your goals. Makes me smile!

    Karen: So do I!

    Kara: If nothing else, making a business date with your hubby gets you a few hours of coffee without kids!

    Julie: Thanks for the compliment--and your hubby sounds like a motivator. Good to have!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  24. I think I am very reluctant to talk about my goals with people, just because right now, I am an unpublished writer and many people who aren't familiar with the industry wouldn't take me seriously. But it is important to have goals, and I'm glad you're talking about yours!

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  25. I think this is brilliant advice. Honestly though I'm not sure outside of schedule there would be for me to set up as a goal. Are you talking WIP goals? I'm so blonde, please help me understand. =)

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  26. Icy Roses: I'm unpublished, too, so I know what you mean. That's why it's nice to belong to a writer's group. Our RWA group has writers at all levels, and we support each other, no matter where we're at. But if you have no access to a writer's group, confide your goals (ex: rough draft your novel this year) with a close friend.

    T. Anne: Ha! Blonde moments abound at my house! Sample goals for the year:
    1. Write and revise one novel
    2. Continue working on craft by studying three craft books
    3. Enter one contest

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  27. My family knows my goals and keeps me well in check, along with weekly to-do lists that monitor my progress. I couldn't do this without both!

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  28. Joanne: How great is that? I love that your family pushes you to reach your goals!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  29. Congratulations on launching your group project/blog! I have a group of women I meet with to discuss our goals in all areas of life once a month. They keep me motivated and grounded.

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  30. Writing down/sharing goals is a great way to help make them happen. There was an article in the NY Times recently that mentioned websites specifically devoted to capturing goals and holding the goal-makers financially accountable....meaning, they pay up if they DON'T meet their goals. How's that for motivation?

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  31. I find setting goals easy. It's the part about planning what I'm going to do to acheive the goals that's difficult. I'm working on that now.

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  32. Lynn: I think a monthly "goal" group is terrific. Motivation and accountability all in one!

    Patrice: Ooh, sounds like a good article. And what a concept! Do you think MVRWA will pay us if we don't reach our goals? Ha! :)

    Susan M: Check out Sarah's link. Seriously. It has great, great tips. And I read the book she mentioned in it "Making Work at Home Work." I loved it!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  33. I love how deliberate you are in your goal setting. My writing group doesn't discuss goals. Maybe it's something I should introduce to them. When it comes to my own goals I usually jot them down in my writing journal but that's where they stay; I don't discuss them with anyone. My husband knows my overall goal and is very supportive, but we don't review it annually or discuss the smaller steps along the way.

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  34. I hadn't realized how few authors treat their writing as a business. I loved your post and will hop over to check out the link to the Time Tamers.

    I usually write everyday and figure out where I need to go to meet with industry people...editors, etc. But, I haven't written out goals.

    I'm doing that today! Thanks!
    Edge of Your Seat Romance

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  35. Thanks, Jill! I really appreciate you posting on this. I think I may read it again later with hubby (or send him the link) and see about doing our own.

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  36. Thanks, Jill! I really appreciate you posting on this. I think I may read it again later with hubby (or send him the link) and see about doing our own.

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  37. Great post, Jill! Very inspirational. Sharing writing goals and a business plan definitely helps to put things into motion for me. It's too easy to procrastinate if I keep things bottled up in my head. Kudos to you and much success as you move forward this year! (Love, love, love the picture of the topiary elephants!) Hugs & God bless!

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  38. Carol: I think keeping your goals in a journal is a great idea. It's a place you can come back to and reflect if you've made your goal or not. Love it!

    Raquel: So nice to see you here! Every year I make up a set of goals in different categories for my writing (writing, craft, promotion, organizations, etc..) and I make sure it fits on one page. It's the first page in my day planner and it keeps me focused.

    Wendy: Let me know if you need some conversation starters! ;)

    T. Anne: You're welcome!

    Maria: Yeah, I'm good at procrastinating! And the elephants are super cute!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  39. You are so right.

    I need to do this.

    What do you advise when a person's situation keeps changing? Maybe you could come over to my apartment and give me a seminar?!

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  40. You sound so organised Jill but you have to be when you're so busy. I'm not great for verbal sharing but I am pretty set with my goals and am getting them out there more these days.

    I picked up your posts about social networks/subs etc. Food for thought.

    BTW I'm hosting a Publication Party for aspiring writers to listen to published authors' journeys to publication. It's been underway for 2 weeks now and is a blast. New session starts Wednesday with Alex J Cavanaugh. There's great stories about publication, great champagne, great writer friends, and great prizes. Did I overdo the great?? Hope you can pop in sometime and maybe drop a few words of wisdom in the comments.

    I'm off to check out your group blog now.

    Denise :)

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  41. I think it is great that you and your husband had a goal date. He must be a wonderful guy. It is amazing that you are so thorough in your planning. I have read you for a few years now and you truly do the details well. Blessings.

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  42. Hi Jill -

    I have a personal email update list where I write down my goals. People can then pray for me, encourage me, and hold me accountable.

    Thanks for the tip about Sarah's post. I loved both her books.

    Blessings,
    Susan :)

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  43. Thanks for giving the link to Sarah's post. It was awesome.
    I'm always making goals and reassessing where I'm at with my books. I work well with self-imposed deadlines. Makes my editor chuckle because I'm harder on myself than she is, but it works for me.

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