Lesson Learned…

In keeping with tradition and good business practise, January was laden with much talk about goals. I’m as tired of the subject as everyone else, but I decided to share my 2018 goal gaff.

We talk ad infinitum about the key elements of setting goals, the need to set SMART goals and the way to approach the task. In earlier blogs (see below), I’ve suggested reflection on what has been and reinforcing the writing goals you’ve made to help you bring them to fruition.

Towards the end of 2017, I went through the process of setting writing goals for the following months. I was careful to keep my commitment to realistic and achievable tasks, then set about working towards fulfilling them.

Parallel to this work focus, my fiancé of five years and I were discussing how to prioritise the items on our outstanding wish list. ‘Which of these could we bear to not happen?’ I said, pointing to the list.

‘Get married’, we answered in unison and laughed conspiratorially.

‘This is the year of the wedding then’, Ron said.

It was fifty-three years since we met and almost forty-nine from when we parted in the late 1960s. It was time…

I continued to seek feedback on my memoir manuscript from various sources and did significant re-writing as planned, which we thought was appropriate given that the memoir tells our story. In June and July we house-sat on the Central Coast, which allowed me to fulfil a commitment to speak at some writing groups, participate in other writing activities and continue to fine-tune my manuscript. August was a trip to another of my old environs, again for writing activities.

Mid-August the kaleidoscope of wedding paraphernalia tightened and almost all writing stopped. Who would have thought organising a gathering of nine (including us and the celebrant!) would have almost as many facets as planning a wedding for fifty+ guests? Well, maybe not… but there was a lot to do. The legal formalities were still necessary and there were celebrant meetings, official forms to complete, questionnaires to pore over, music to choose and vows to write.

We needed to outfit ourselves in suitable garb (no mean feat, given our age and shape, and the lack of formal wear for sale/hire in our area). I booked a hairdresser, photographer and restaurant… then we filled a storage shed with furniture and possessions from our home and turned the loungeroom into our wedding venue.

Kathryn, Ron and Hayley

Ron and Kathryn

By the time the wedding and honeymoon were over, it was just weeks until Christmas… and time to reflect on the year. My personal life scored well, my writing life – not so much. I had plunged into the wedding bubble and set everything else aside.

Appropriate? Yes. Necessary? Yes. Regrets? No.

Satisfied with writing productivity for the year? No… but that wasn’t because I got married – not directly. Had I taken the wedding into consideration when setting my writing goals, I wouldn’t have expected so much from myself. Even if I reassessed my writing goals after deciding what else was on the agenda for the year, I would have pulled back my expectations.

In isolation, my writing goals were realistic, but they became unachievable when coupled with such a major personal event as a wedding.

Lesson learned…

This year I took personal goals and writing goals into consideration at the same time. I usually do, but somehow missed this point last time around, possibly because exciting things were happening in both spheres and I just launched ahead.

My two paths collided as the months passed and, in the whirlwind of preparing for marriage and trying to keep up with everything, I forgot to take my own advice to review my writing goals and make adjustments to my plans. Instead, these happened by default. The outcome was probably similar, but stress levels could have been reduced and satisfaction increased.

This is an extract from my Blog ~ Are You On Track? ~ the advice I didn’t heed…

> Undertake regular reviews (monthly or quarterly perhaps) to help you stick to your plan/timeline. Ask yourself questions like… Am I on track? If not, where did I slip behind and what do I need to do to get back on track? Do I need to adjust my schedule or anything else to make my writing time more productive?

> Be prepared to re-assess your goals… a decision to change direction is not necessarily a failure – it may be an indication of development due to a change of priorities, information, interest, circumstances, or similar.

While berating myself, I must remember there were some writing achievements along the way and those targets not yet fulfilled are still opportunities.

I am doing better this year, with balanced goals in place and a productive January behind me. Reviewing my progress will be high on my agenda through to December, with the determination of one seeking successful outcomes.


This post also relates to my Blogs ~ Prepare To Set Writing Goals That Can Succeed, Construct Writing Goals That Can Succeed, Turn The Opportunity To Succeed Into Success and Reinforcing Your Writing Goals… also Tip #19, Tip #22 and Writing Exercise #23 ~ Reinforce Your Writing Goals.


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