Monday, January 01, 2007
I honestly struggled with the posts about goal making last week. I'm usually a big list person, but for some reason I'm disillusioned with goal making at present. So this past week I had to figure out why.
Obviously I have lots of goals that I've never met, but I do have quite a few that I've chugged out no problem. So why the discontent? Eric Maisel in Coaching The Artist Within says, "Since we make so many resolutions and break them, set so many goals and fall short of realizing them...we become reluctant to plan...There mere thought of planning brings up feelings of shame, regret, and disappointment."
Yet he encourages writers to plan on, or those feelings will prevent us from moving forward. So I began to contemplate my own goals for this next year and did indeed feel fear when it came to my writing goals. Could I actually make them and stick with them? How would the other major events coming up in the next year—like a move—affect my efforts?
I discovered something I intend to incorporate in my goal making process in order to help me not only create goals, but also follow through with them... Evaluation.
During a marketing class I once took, the teacher stressed the importance of creating goals for yourself as a writer and "marketer" of your work, but not without a plan for evaluating that goal. What is the point of continuing to spend money sending out flyers if you are having no response to them? Better to try another marketing tactic with that money.
Remembering this, I've decided to set parameters for evaluating my goals into them. For instance, I'd like to finish the revisions on my current book by February 1st. That's five pages worth of revisions for 22 days. I think I can manage that in January.
How will I evaluate this goal? Well, I'm a member of a writing goals group, so I'll post it to that loop so I have some accountability. Also, I'll mark a halfway point in January on my calendar for me to stop and calculate how far I've come and if I'm on track for meeting my goal.
Maisel encourages this: "Revisit your plans frequently. Bravely monitor your plans regularly, as often as weekly in the beginning. One day a week truthfully answer the following two questions: "Have I been keeping to my everyday plan?" and "Have I been keeping to my long-term plan?" If you haven't, recommit to your creative life and pledge to do a better job of following through. If your plans ought to be changed, change them. If they ought to be better honored as they are, do a finer job of honoring them."
I would also add that if there is something keeping you from honoring your plans—such as an extra busy schedule or illness—take a few moments to decide how you will address this issue. Specific strategies always make me feel more empowered than hopeless worrying.
So step into this new year informed and empowered! I hope and pray it will be a great one for us all.