Friday, April 29, 2011

2011 Writing Goals - How do you Stay on Track?

In my April/May 2011 Write What Inspires You Newsletter I shared my feelings about the renewal of spring and how I am staying on track with my 2011 writing goals. And to get the conversation going, I'm reprinting it below:

"I always consider spring a time of renewal and the opportunity to give the house a good old thorough cleaning after the long winter. This year I also took the time out to reorganize my office and to re-evaluate my writing goals set at the end of 2010 before 2011 kicked off. By doing such I gave myself kudos for what I accomplished in the first quarter of 2011 and did not beat myself up for what I didn’t get to. With the guidance of Suzanne Lieurance at the Working Writers’ Club I rolled over what I still wanted to achieve and let go of scheduling too much in one day. So far this is working for the second quarter of 2011 now that April is almost behind us."

I'd enjoy hearing what’s going on in your writing world and what adjustments (if any) have you made to make sure you achieve your 2011 goals.

I am looking forward to a lively conversation.

Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Award-winning Children's Author
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.


  1. What's worked well for me is to divide my goals into daily, mid-range (monthly) and long-term (annually). The daily ones, of course, constantly change, and I just do my best to keep up with them and not get too far behind. I've learned that it's OK if I don't get to 1..or 2..or even 3 of them--and just move them to the next day!

    My mid-term goals I chip away at a little at a time, breaking them into smaller chunks daily or weekly, never letting them out of sight but not trying to do too much at once. This keeps me on track without the stress!

    The longer-term goals I spread out over the course of the year, and make sure that I'm accomplishing something towards them every month. These are the hardest because the end of the year always seems so far away but then it always has a way of sneaking up on me!

  2. Great post, Donna.

    I have a writer's forum at which is where I post my annual and weekly goals. I check in a couple times a week and write "DONE" next to completed items to keep me on track.

    Because most of my time is spent coordinating virtual book tours, I don't have a set writing schedule. I do, however, make some time to write a few days a week.

    I met one of my goals by submitting a children's book to a publisher in February. I hope to participate in National Picture Book Writing Week during the first week of May, which would allow me to complete another goal. I also have a ghostwriting project I'm working on now.

    When the ghostwriting project came to pass, I had to shelf my MG historical, but I am okay with that. As long as I stick to writing a few days a week, I should be able to finish both this year.


  3. Um, actually, I haven't written down any goals for the year (even though I do have some), so I guess it's kind of hard to see if I'm on track.

    But what works for me is being accountable -- to a critique group, to a course where I have homework I have to hand in, or whatever.

    Ask me again in January how I did, and maybe I'll have a more definite answer ..

  4. Luv2Write (Renee):

    I like how you break down your goals into three different categories. Yes, indeed...time goes by rather quickly.


    What a great way to be accountable. I just joined the last week, and I must write it down on a post-it and keep it at my computer so I remember to pop in. Good luck on your ghostwriting project!


    Yes, accountability is definitely key and it helps to have scheduled submission dates to a critique group. That reminds me I better send off my submission to my online critique group by tomorrow.

    Best wishes to you all,

  5. I tend to work in spurts. It looks like right now I'm hot one day and not the next. I've finished a (math and character)chapter book and getting ready to send it to an editor. I've been working on a ya novel a bit. It is much harder to write than what I normally write. I'm tired afterwards. :) I guess that means I'm stretching myself. I have 3 new pb ideas that I've done a little plotting or prewriting on too.

    I didn't sleep much last night. I was excited about the Royal Wedding, so it looks like today is a not hot day. LOL!

  6. I am the world's worst procrastinator, so I find that whenever I get fired up with an idea or my fingers "get itchy" for the keyboard, I'll sit at the computer, after shutting the door to my office and type, type, type, until I run out of steam. Then my critique group partners keep at me with guidance, support and encouragement. Writing is a lonely career and I owe a lot to my colleagues for keeping me on track.

  7. Hi Sharon:

    How exciting on your Math and Character book, good luck.

    Hi Nancy:

    Ahhh, procrastionation cna get the better of us, glad you have your critique group to keep you on track.

    Best wishes to you both,

  8. What I have done is to bundle my work into bunches of hours--and try not to deviate too much. Writing early, by 6 AM, marketing after, etc. This works for me. My long range goals seem much easier to attain with this method, funnily enough.

    I use a to-do list daily, which I know many of us do. I try to adhere to it pretty religiously but don't get crazy if a few do not get done. This plan of attack seems to keep me on track and frees my mind for those creative things we need to use in this craft.

  9. Nancy:

    It's key for me too, to get to my writing first thing. If I don't the day just gets away from me.

    Best wishes for your continued success,

  10. Boy, that's a hard one, letting go of trying to accomplish too much in one day; that's my biggest flaw. I am always disappointed.

    I just keep chugging away and my to-do list (my writing and other stuff lists) get longer and longer.

    I need to clean and reorganize too, but I always want to do some writing first, and since I rarely make my goal for writing, I keep pushing the cleaning back each day.

  11. Mary:

    I hear you about pushing the cleaning back, I've been doing the same thing. I'm finally starting to learn to have my daughters help more.

    Good luck with your To Do list!

    Best wishes,

  12. I organized my writing projects according to the date they are due. I then made up quarterly writing calendar from the projects. I try to accomplish at least one writing goal per month. More, If I can.

    I also do daily, monthly and long-term goals. I accomplish what my time and talent will allow.

  13. I stay on track by creating a plan each Sunday for the upcoming week, then by listing the daily actions on a post-it and ticking them as I complete them. What really works for me is not to overload myself. The less I put on my plan, the more I end up accomplishing that week.

  14. Donna, great topic. I've had to step back and commit to taking care of work ghostwriting projects first. The ghostwriting brings in the money.

    I make that my top goal for each week and then I go down my list of what else needs to be done.

    As with everyone else, things come up and new projects arise and then my plan needs to be adjusted again.

  15. Hello Marge:

    Setting up goals with deadline dates on a 1/4ly basis is a terrific idea!


    I too work on a weekly plan on a printed out calendar and I keep it on my typing stand, it definitely helps.


    Kudos to you on your ghostwriting projects.

    Best wishes to all your continued success,

  16. Terrific suggestions about goal setting and keeping on track. My efforts are not nearly as well developed. If I didn't have my planner, I wouldn't get anything done---and even with it, as the saying goes, "the more I do, the behinder I get."

    For me, the biggest challenge is finding time to just sit and think. Without that "think time", the ideas never quite get captured. So, one of my primary goals is to carve out some time during each week---as it turns out, it's on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursday---as quiet time. If I'm lucky, something pops out. If not, at least I had some time without intrusions.


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