In one of my favourite books, years ago, the heroine posed this question to the hero. The same question raises its head every now and then, especially when I look at my calendar.
When I started writing all those years ago, I never heard of planning, plotting, character arcs , and a lot more writing terms and skills. I picked up a pen and started writing the type of story I wanted to read. Since then I have learnt all about the above topics and a few more besides.
A few years ago I stumbled on to a 'Writers Planner' on the internet. As you probably have gathered by now, I do not like spending money, especially on things that I cannot see me using. I find commercial planners fall far short of what I want a planner to do. However, after looking at the sample pages, I decided it was a good idea, and went ahead designed my own.
I hope it helps you or give you some ideas for your own planner
Everyone talks about goals. I've heard of long term goals, like saving for a house, career goals, holidays... Goals that can take many years to achieve.
Lately, some planners I've been looking at go from one extreme to the other. They have quarterly goals, monthly goals, weekly goals, goals for the day; career goals, life goals, financial goals, ... oh my reeling head. When do you stop goal setting and start working?
In thinking back over my life, I realise I never heard of setting goals for myself until I went to TAFE. Why? I don't know.
I don't think my parents ever set goals. There was always 'some rainy day', 'what's your dream', and other trite sayings, but I was not taught about goals. I don't think my parents knew the word. I realise whatever goals they may have had may have been pushed to the back of the cupboard as they grappled with sick children, eye surgeries, pregnancies and miscarriages, and life in general.
As a young woman, I certainly didn't have goals. As a mother I tried to give my children what they asked for, (Dancing lessons for my daughter, horse riding for my son), I worked beside my husband in HIS Business. Yes, his. It wasn't my idea or dream but as a good wife I did what I could to help him. My dreams, the few I had, were immaterial. (And I bet there are more than a few heads nodding in agreement.)
So, I go to TAFE and hear about setting short- and long-term goals. Yeah, I understood it in a business sense (Wish I knew about those before my husband decided to go into business). Even so, it was still a bit nebulous. And it didn't really click.
I joined a network marketing company and they talked about setting goals and writing them out five times daily, and all that. Still really didn't register.
Then I went to a workshop by QWC. Whatever the blurb was, Goal setting wasn't mentioned, but that was the workshop was about. I do hate it when something is advertised and then you find it is something totally different. However, I did pick up a hint. It has taken a while, but it has finally worked its way into the right place and things are finally slotting into place.
Yes, write your SMART goal out, but include a ‘reward’ for achieving it, AND a ‘penalty’ for not achieving it, (Of course, six weeks in hospital throws a spanner in the works, but the goal can be adjusted).
So my hints for Goal Setting are:
FOR EXAMPLE, my first goal a few years ago went like this:
Goal: Unbroken Vow
By February 28, 2019 (Time), I will have an outline (Achievable; it is an outline and not the novella) for my Unbroken Vow novella documented (Specific). This will include the chapters that go into making up the story (Measurable). If this is not done, I will not watch any YouTube documentaries (Penalty) until it is done. If I achieve my goal, I will buy myself a bottle of wine (Reward).
Although not stated, this is relevant to me, and realistic. I set this goal sometime in January, so I had an entire month to do it in.
There is one more item I would recommend in dealing with your goals. If they are a long-term goal, it is advisable to break the goal in to tasks with their own deadlines. Eg by Jan 31 I will have finished my character dossiers.
Now you know about SMART goals, but have you heard of DREAMR goals? They go like this:
Where to start? That is the question.
There is an old saying in the business field: if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Just think of all those unfinished projects you have lying around.
Being a writer, I am bombarded with plans. I need to develop business plans, writing plans, life plans, travel plans, family plans, education plans, marketing plans… you get the picture.
Why is planning important?
For me, it keeps me on track. Well, that is the aim. Growing up, any plans my parents had were never verbalised or written. I carried on in much the same way, stumbling from day to day, until I stumbled upon a TV program (can’t remember the name but it had something to do with education). The concept of time management and breaking things to be done into tasks, hit me between the eyes.
Over the years, I have learnt the following:
I have been writing a looonnngg Time. The Internet was still a far offf twinkle in someone's eye, and computers were still the size of cars. Since those yearly years where I wrote to amuse myself, I have learnt a lot about writing, writing skills, and being a writer.