Writing Goaled

RWI has a goal setting loop. I came up with the idea, and we started the loop the year I sold my first book. It’s called BOLD AND SOLD. The loop has been in existence for several years now.

As of this writing, only one person has posted her goals in the last few months–and it ain’t me!

(Yay, Jean! You go, girl.)

The loop is made up of a great group of very supportive women. I wonder why we (me included) don’t use it?

I’ve heard a few good reasons, and can think of a few more.

  • When I set goals, I make them too high.

One of the purposes of the loop should be to learn how to set good goals.

  • When I don’t reach my goals, it makes me feel bad.

Since we only give praise (and we can be so good at that!) and never boo anyone, the only reason a person feels bad is a conscience thing. We can train those puppies!

  • When I set goals, things happen and the week is over before I can write.

Maybe we should set monthly goals. Or . . . I have another idea I’ll tell you about later.

  • When I set goals, it seems the last thing I want to do is write.

I have that problem with Weight Watchers. When I’m on WW, it seems all I want to do is eat. (Could be all I want to do it eat all the time anyway. LOL.)

Remember the Do-Do verses (my preacher calls them that) in the Bible?  Romans 7:15-16

 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.

Paul wasn’t even talking about goal setting, per se, but he’s got it pegged. We don’t do what we want to do and we do what we don’t want to do.

So why should we set goals?

The easy answer is so we’ll know when we’ve reached them. I’m the last person in the world to lecture on being regimented when it comes to anything, but I find that setting my own true goals makes me want to reach them. (My way is kind of, “Oh, yes, I can, too! Don’t tell me I can’t.”)

But that’s only my goals, not ones that are forced on me by someone else either telling me I should do this or that or expecting/assuming I’ll do whatever.

I took a goal setting workshop once that suggested that we take a test to see how committed we are to our goals. Set one goal of something you want to do every day.

Write it down on 10 pieces of paper or index cards.

Put one everywhere you are. At your desk, in your purse, by the coffee maker, on the fridge, on your computer screen at work. All the places you go regularly.

Now take another index card and write the date for the next week and next to it yes or no.

1/21    YES    NO

1/22    YES    NO

1/23   YES     NO

1/24   YES     NO

1/24   YES     NO

1/25   YES     NO

1/26    YES     NO

1/27    YES     NO

Leave no room for excuses. Each day, circle whether you met that goal.

At the end of the week, you should be able to tell something about your commitment to that goal.

Of course, being that regimented would make me nuts, and I can almost assure you I’d flunk. Instead, I have to go with another idea I read about this morning. (This is what earlier I told you I’d tell about later.)

It’s called Row 80.

That stands for ROUND OF WORDS IN EIGHTY DAYS. I think someone came up with it so there was something like NaNoWriMo that works for real people.

From what I’ve read, you set your goals for the next eighty days. Real goals for people with real lives. People who work. People who have families. And then you report in weekly to tell how you’ve done.

If your goals change because, after all, life changes things, you simply tell about the change. For instance, if you’re writing on a book and plan to write thirty minutes a day (or x amount of words) and suddenly you sell another book, you simply announce your goal has changed. Now you must work 30 minutes a day–or whatever–on revisions.

Is this a call to RWI members to get them to join the Bold and Sold loop? Yes. If they’re interested. Is it a call to get members to join ROW80? Not necessarily, but sure, if you’re interested.

It is a great place to get inspired, and they have a wonderful badge you can put on your blog. Check it out:

ROW 80

Even if you aren’t interested in setting goals or aren’t able to join the B&S loop because you aren’t a member of RWI, it could get you to writing.

And that’s what this has been about.

(I can tell you about joining RWI, too, if you’re interested. Even long distance members are welcome. Just let me know.)

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10 thoughts on “Writing Goaled

  1. Susan, Just a few thoughts. No one around me cares if I write. My RWI sisters provide feedback in a nice way. Without such encouragement, I may never sell a first book. So be it ROW 80 or whatever, I like putting it out to others because someone might just check in on my progress.

  2. I’m a BIG fan of goals. I post yearly goals, Monthly goals and weekly goals. Shoot, I’ve written blogs about how to go about doing it under the Writing 101 page on my site. The point of goal setting is all about accountability, but as Susan mention–goals should be flexible.
    Each time you set a weekly goal, you learn a little about yourself and how you can look at the big picture of REACHING those yearly goals. Yes, life gets in the way, but if you know you’re going to have a rough week, then be gentle with your goal setting for that week.
    If you have a problem writing 100 words a day then maybe you need to start a chat room where you can have 20 or 30 minute writing sprints. I love the chat room I use. We do 20 minute sprints starting at :00 and :30, with 10 minute breaks. My top word count in 20 minutes was around 700 words–no phone calls, no laundry, no going to the potty, no nothing except writing . . . AND THAT MEANS NO INTERNAL EDITOR!

    • Your self-motivation is something, Magolla!
      Great advice about the writing sprints. I’ve never tried that, but something new is a great way to keep writing fresh.
      No internal editor? What a world! What a world! LOL.
      I think IEs are one of the biggest problems with goals meeting and cause more writer’s block than anything else.
      You didn’t mention your URL for WRITING 101, so I will.
      Check it out, guys.
      http://blog.magolla.com/p/writing-101.html
      Ps: Thanks!

  3. Great food for thought, Susan. I’ve tried several different goal setting techniques but have yet to find one that really works. But I’ll check out ROW 80.

  4. I’ve become convinced lately that the only way for most of us to meet our goals is to be accountable to someone else — a loop, a writers’ group, an editor, a contract, whatever. If I don’t have to be accountable, I can dither away an entire day without even opening my document.

    Are you going to do a Ten Minutes to Shine about this sometime? (I’m not too subtle in my hinting, am I?)

    • Hey, I could. I’ll get it ready to do in March, then we can start the goaling for the 2nd quarter of the year. How’s that?

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