|This is a guest post by Jennifer Brown Banks, an award-winning, prolific writer, who gets a lot accomplished through good time management, rich chocolate, herbal tea, bubble baths and “selective“ phone answering. Visit her “Top 25” sites for writers at her fun and informative blog, Pen and Prosper.|
You had the best intentions.
When 2014 rolled around, you saw the new year as a blank canvas eagerly awaiting your “art.” Optimistic, you vowed to use this time to breathe new life into old dreams.
To start that novel. Or launch that blog. Or find an agent. Or write something everyday.
Now it’s seven months down the line, and all you’ve got to boast about is your summer tan, celebrity crush, and your two new friends on Facebook. Ouch.
But, before you break out the tub of Ben and Jerry’s and launch a pity party, you need to know that you can still turn things around.
Just because you’ve lost some time doesn’t mean that you can’t find your groove! Hello?
First things first…
HERE ARE THE 6 MOST COMMON REASONS WRITERS’ GOALS GET SIDETRACKED
- They’re not realistically based for one’s lifestyle or strengths
- Fear of failure or success
- Lack of confidence
- Open-ended—Goals are not specific enough or they’re not deadline oriented. For example, “One day I want to write a book about my life.”
- No game plan for execution
- Poor time management and a lack of prioritization
In the words of Dr. Phil, “You can’t fix what you don’t acknowledge first.”
With this in mind, here are five timely tips to move forward in your goals, and end this year with a bang! Ready?
- Be Strategic. In other words, learn to “work smarter, not harder.” For example, if your goal was to write and successfully place 10 guest posts this year, to gain name recognition and new fans, modify. Write and submit just three. But here’s the catch: send them to high profile, popular sites that have large followings, (or a Google Page Rank of 3 or more); this saves time, yet offers a greater return on your investment.
- Establish short and long term goals. Sometimes it can be difficult to stay positive when we can’t see progress in our efforts, or when we’re waiting for an editor or publisher to advance us to the next stage. This is where having small, short-term goals can make a difference. A small, but immediate goal could be to join a critique group, or take an online class, or order new business cards, or add a signature line to outgoing emails . Get the idea here? Little steps can go a long way toward keeping you motivated and keeping the momentum going. For added mileage, write your goals down. Studies show that those who record their goals are 3x more likely to achieve them.
- Make the most of “down-time.” How many times haveyou gone to the doctor, only to wait an hour to be seen for your “scheduled appointment?” Or perhaps you catch public transportation on your daily commute to work and have some time here? What about your 45 minute lunch break on your 9 to 5? Instead of sneaking in a little nap, indulging in idle gossip, or playing games on your cell phone, take these potential opportunities to jot down a few creative thoughts. Or perhaps read a chapter of a book in your genre of interest. There’s great truth to the expression, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
- Reward yourself for meeting your goals or making periodic progress. Many times when dieters reach their targeted weight goals, they reward themselves by “cheating” a little and indulging, “guilt free” in a favorite food, or by taking a day off from exercise. Writers should too! Land a guest post? Treat yourself to a box of chocolate. Land a book deal? Treat yourself to an updated computer with bells and whistles. Rewards are a great way to celebrate our accomplishments and keep us incentivized.
- Get a goal buddy. Partnering with another creative can keep us accountable, and really be fun and productive. Take your pick. It can be a blogging buddy online, or your best friend from your local critique group. You can share your disappointments, dreams, and your victories. You can cheer each other on, or offer constructive criticism. The sky’s the limit. Remember to touch base weekly and share “progress reports” or monthly, if the logistics work better.
There you have it. Make the rest of the year the best of the year! Follow these timely tips to enjoy greater success and fewer regrets.
As a wise man once said: “Time waits for no one.”
What do you think about this advice? How are your half-year goals coming along? Share your opinions in the comments!