Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Writing Goals: The Summer Push

January and September are my ideal months for setting writing goals, but July? The only goals I can wrap my head around involve ice-cream and sleep!

I recently put the final polish on another book, and the last thing I want to think about is setting an aggressive writing goal. However, a few mini-goals will rejuvenate my creativity between now and fall.


If you're considering setting a short-term, summer writing goal, try the following steps.

1. Determine your commitment level.

Many of my friends are attending ACFW's annual conference mid-September. This automatically raises the commitment level. Aim for a higher goal if you have a concrete deadline and reason to meet the goal. If you've recently wrapped an intense project and don't have deadlines looming, your commitment level should be lower.

2. Be honest about the time you can reasonably spend.

Sure, we can say we'll spend one hour every night and four hours each Saturday morning working on our book, but summer has a way of subtracting hours we thought were available. Mid-week picnics, baby showers, weddings, impromptu tickets to a ball game--there is nothing wrong with enjoying these! Just check your planner BEFORE you set the goal. And, please, don't eliminate the little things that bring so much joy, like watching the sun go down from your deck.

3. Determine what one goal would rock your world if you accomplished it this summer.

Maybe you've been writing the final ten-thousand words of your manuscript for six months. Or you just can't bring yourself to start revising the book you finished drafting last winter. It could be social media--you've been meaning to set up a blog or a Facebook page, but something holds you back. Now is a great time to move past your roadblocks and get going. Build momentum now and you'll be flying when the weather cools.

4. Creativity is like exercise. You don't have to go full throttle every minute, but you do have to keep moving.

Small kids at home forcing you to set your manuscript aside for the time being? Vacations eating into every free moment? Make goals to read, journal, explore--anything related to writing.

My summer writing goals?
- Catch up on reading (Reading great fiction improves my writing.)
- Study one new writing craft book
- Brainstorm story ideas
- Free-writing (I rarely free-write when I'm working on a book.)

If you're a writer, do you set summer goals? What project can you push for the next two months?

Have a great day!

18 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this! I just set my goals for July and after I determined them, I was feeling uncertain as to whether they were too much or too little. Your advice helped. Blessings!

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    1. Great!! I'm so glad you're staying on top of goals at such a tough time of the year! Keep me posted on how you're doing! :)

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  2. Jill, what a timely post. I just finished two books and find myself looking at where to go from here. These steps are great and I'm going to use them to get back on track!

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    1. I'm sooo impressed, Edie! I know how hard you've been working. Way to go!!

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  3. If you'd like a tool for setting your goals, you can use this web application:

    http://www.Gtdagenda.com

    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, and a calendar.
    Syncs with Evernote and Google Calendar, and also comes with mobile version, and Android and iPhone apps.

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  4. My goal for the past couple of weeks has been to work on my manuscript every day. Some days that turns out to be only 15 minutes, but at least I'm not losing momentum.

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    1. 15 minutes is fantastic because it's doable and regular. Go Julie!!

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  5. These are fantastic tips, Jill. I've definitely got big goals for the next couple months...lots of marketing work to be done. In fact, this week I'm working on honing my marketing to-dos and schedule for the next two months. Planning it all out makes me feel better about my ability to get it done. Haha! :)

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    1. Great!! Marking a calendar helps make it look more manageable too. :) Can't wait until your book releases!!

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  6. Awesome breakdown of what to do when setting goals! My goal is the finish the wordsmithing and polishing edits for my ms before ACFW! I'd also love to get my next ms plotted but I won't be mad at myself if I run out of time. :)

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    1. Yay! You can do it! And plotting will be there whenever you finish. :)

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  7. I LOVE your number there! Haha! Now I'm trying to figure out what goal would rock my world this summer. Organizing my study! I'm currently under a Fall manuscript deadline but feel unsettled because of my chaotic writing space. You just gave me my weekend goal. Woot!!

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    1. Having a comfortable writing spot makes a huge difference for me. I love my office. I work best when it's tidy. :) Have fun!!

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  8. I do! Though right now I'm hitting only about the 50% mark:) You nailed it when you talked about summer stealing those hours! But one of my other goals was to make sure I stayed in the little things--with Hubby and the kids. That's something I'm definitely doing!

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    1. The summer months gift us with time to spend with family. It's the only time I truly have my kids all to myself! And now they're older, I get less and less of it. You have the right idea!

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  9. I try to set my goals in the latter half of the year(October-November) and review them every three months. I say I try to, especially the review part.

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    1. I try to, too, but I don't always succeed! Fall is my best time. I'm always excited and motivated!

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