Yesterday, I challenged my blog readers to post comments on their goals for the coming year and actions that they plan to take today. I’ve read through all the comments, and many of you have your Big Picture clearly in mind. You have goals for the year (some of you have lots of goals.) But not many of you mentioned what actions you planned to take today to move closer to your goals.
This is really fundamental, so I’ll talk about it some more. One of my goals this year is to sell and write my next novel. That’s a goal–the big picture. But I didn’t complete it today. Was today a failure? No, because I took two specific actions that will move me closer to that goal.
One of those actions burned several hours of my time. I completed and submitted an article that may eventually end up getting widely read and enhancing my name recognition. So this was a marketing/publicity action. It needed to get done today, because of deadlines with the publisher, so I did it today. This was a Must Do action, so I did it first.
The second action I took was to do one particular exercise on my first three chapters. These are the chapters that I’ll be sending in with my proposal, so I want them to be as good as I can make them. I analyzed all three of them–almost thirty pages, and I saw some things I can improve on in my writing. This type of action is the kind of thing we writers have trouble with, because there is no immediate penalty if we don’t do it. The only penalty is that nothing actually gets done, but since we typically only do a small increment of work every day, it feels like it’s OK to miss a day. And it’s all too easy to miss a lot of days, and wind up getting nothing done.
The third action I’ll take (as soon as I finish this blog) is to hold my annual Board of Directors meeting, followed by my annual Shareholders Meeting for my corporation. These will be short meetings because my wife and I are the Board of Directors and the Shareholders. I wrote up a President’s Report for 2007 last week, which I’ll present at both meetings. The report tells what I achieved last year and lists some goals for 2008. (Since I have a corporation, these meetings are an annual requirement.)
Three actions in one day–one marketing, one craft, and one administrative. That’s enough for me!
A few of you mentioned actual actions that you took today (or planned to take). Let’s look at some of those.
I subscribed to your newsletter!
Randy sez: Good! That’s a very specific action that you can easily do in one day. Tomorrow, there’ll be a new action that builds on today. A side note: the normal date for sending out my e-zine was Tuesday, which was New Year’s Day. I decided that it would be better to NOT send out the e-zine on a holiday, so it’ll come out NEXT Tuesday.
I made 12 phone calls today to build my speaking platform!
Randy sez: Sally, you just became my hero. I LOVE to see a writer who gets out there and takes action. That’s a lot of action. If even one of those calls leads to a speaking engagement, then you earned yourself some money today, AND built a solid plank in your platform. Waytogo!
Today: I will reorganize my workspace to be free from distractions when I’m working on a project.
Randy sez: Once again, that’s a good solid action. You may or may not complete it today, but I’ll bet you made more headway than you expected. A year ago, I committed to getting better organized, as many of my e-zine and blog readers know. In quite short order, my desk and office became a much more pleasant place to work AND I began getting more stuff done because I could find stuff when I needed to. For those of you who need a kick in the butt to do something similar, let me recommend the “Clean Up Your Act!” series of teleseminars that I did with Allison Bottke, who was the driving force behind me finally getting my act together.
Inspired by your last topic with Susan Meissner, about a week ago I setup a log where I am tracking my writing efforts.
I already have an estimate of how many words I have left to write, and so from that I have made the spreadsheet “Writing Log” calculate my predicted finish date.
Based on the progress I have made over the last week, it is predicting I will be finished on May 26th! That assumes that I write a little over 400 words a day, which should not be a hard goal to achieve. Obviously if I can go faster, that will be better, but just seeing that date motivates me to not let it slip and to keep plugging away.
I have been slowed down doing plot-rework during December, so it is really exciting to be back writing again.
Thanks for the inspiration, Randy!
Randy sez: Excellent! When I am writing a first draft, I do this too. I always work with a spreadsheet that contains my list of scenes for the book (using my Snowflake method of designing my novel). I just add a column that tells how long I spent working on each scene and another column on how many words the scene is. Then I can track how many actual hours a book takes, and can predict pretty well how long the book will be and how long it’ll take to write. Waytogo, Robert!
Now for those of you who posted goals for the year, I’ll ask again: What action are you going to take TODAY to step toward that goal? Get specific! It doesn’t need to be a big action, but it should be specific and concrete and achievable in one day.
Nothing happens unless you take action! What action will you take today?