Are You On Track?

Last December and January, I wrote three blogs about setting yearly writing goals. After discussing preparation, focusing on what you want to achieve, and how to construct achievable goals, I moved on to how to succeed in bringing these goals to fruition.

One suggestion I made was to review your progress monthly and/or quarterly. With September drawing to a close and three-quarters of the year behind us, I’m checking in to remind you it’s time for the all-important review that will take you into the last few months of the year.

Whether or not you’ve managed to review your goals thus far, doing so now will set you up for a rewarding finish to 2017 and lay the foundations for success in 2018.

If you’ve met all the writing goals you set for January-September, you’ve done brilliantly and deserve accolades. You will be ready for the challenge of the next three months. However, it is still a good idea to consider your goals for the remainder of the year and whether they are still appropriate for your overall writing ambitions.

Don’t despair if, like me, you didn’t quite make your end-of-September target. There are many reasons this can happen, from over-ambition and under-estimation to influences that are out of your control. Writer’s block may have stalked you for one or more reasons. Or, perhaps you’ve been ill, or your family has been in crisis. These are not excuses, but real-life events that take time, effort and energy away from life in general, and writing and other creative pursuits in particular.

Regardless of how you performed during the last nine months, a review can be helpful ~

>  Begin by checking off your achievements and placing them on your Achievements List, if you have one. If you haven’t, use your successes so far this year to begin one.

>  Check if the remaining goals are still relevant and re-write any that need alteration.

>  Prioritise all goals that are left on your 2017 list.

>  Make sure they remain achievable by the end of the year, taking your other commitments into consideration.

>  Move any goals that cannot be achieved by the end of the year to your Reserve List if you have one. Otherwise, create one now to serve as the basis for planning your writing for 2018.

>  The goals that remain on your 2017 list are the framework for your writing over the next three months.

>  Run these goals through the SMART goals test – check that they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic/relevant and Time-bound – and make any necessary adjustments.

A review such as this is like picking yourself up, turning yourself around and plonking yourself down facing in the right direction for what you plan to achieve.

Some of you will land in the same spot as you were before the review, and will continue your journey having confirmed you’re on the right track. Others will be in a different position with more clarity than before, and will move forward with renewed confidence.

Either way, this will enrich your writing experience and enhance your achievements over the next three months.


This Blog relates to Blogs ~ Prepare To Set Writing Goals That Can Succeed, Construct Writing Goals That Can Succeed and Turn The Opportunity To Succeed Into Success.                                                                                  

Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below…

Writing Exercise #18

Drawing On Past Connections

As we traverse the landscape of life, we live out (and outlive) many roles – both personally and professionally. We are children, siblings, sons and daughters, parents, grandparents and sometimes great-grandparents. We are students, teachers, friends, partners, workers, bosses, and so on…

Over the years we pass through many phases – different careers, house moves, living interstate or abroad, a range of much-loved activities – and experience unique highs and lows.

Put simply, even when a person is plodding through what appears to be the most mundane existence, there are abundant writing opportunities. That is not to say that everything we write that is stimulated by events in our lives must be autobiographical. Of course, they could be… but think laterally.

Let’s take as an example a single aspect of one of my career evolutions. In the eighties and nineties, I was in private practice… counselling, groupwork and natural therapies. Part of my work was in the prison system and I could write about my experiences, or I could choose from many other options – a novel, from the point-of-view of a prisoner (or their partner, a child or parent); a movie, with the central theme of a break-out; non-fiction books/articles… the history of prisons (generally, in this country), the effectiveness of the system, the demographics of crime, an examination of prisoners’ rights; the value of therapeutic work in prisons, transition programs, or the experiences of prisoners’ families while they are inside. And this barely scratches the surface of possibilities.

Exercise ~

>  Consider the various stages of your life and brainstorm them onto paper.

>  Choose one stage and ask yourself… What friendships, relationships and other connections would inform my writing if I revisited this period?

> Write a focussing paragraph beginning with ‘When I lived at…’, ‘When I worked at…’, ‘When I used to fly aeroplanes…’, or similar.

> Take a step back in time by looking at old photographs, reading letters you received/wrote during that stage of your life, reconnecting with people you knew back then – via phone, email, Facebook or some other means.

It is likely your creative juices will be rampant by the end of this journey into the past. List any writing possibilities that are pushing for attention, select one and let your fingers dance on the computer keyboard!


This Writing Exercise is related to Writing Tip #18, Writing Exercise #16 ~ Journey Into A Photograph, Writing Exercise #17 ~ Take Five Words, Blog ~ Reconnecting and Blog ~ Hidden Stories Lurk In Photograph Albums.