Take Stock Of Your Writing Goals
This exercise is a quick way to take stock of your writing goals. It is useful any time you wish to review your progress, reassess your goals and/or refocus on your writing. It is also a perfect exercise to find new direction after you’ve been derailed by some taxing and emotional event such as a bushfire like those that ravage our country this summer.
Take the following questions one by one and answer them as fully as you can:
- What were my writing hopes for this period (the last year, 3 months, month etc)?
- What did I achieve?
- What is the difference between my hopes and achievements?
- What are my next steps?
- What else will I do as I move forward?
Your answer to the third question will either confirm that you have achieved all you had hoped or highlight what steps you need to take to fulfil your outstanding goals. Identifying these steps will leave you free to consider the direction your writing will take as you move into the next month, quarter or year. This, then, is the foundation for your next set of writing goals.
My Blogs ~ Reflection On My Writing Year and Moving Forward combine to form an example of this process. Answering the questions as I wrote these blogs, has given me the direction I need to refocus on my Writing Journey for 2020 after losing most of January to the bushfires.
Clearing The Mind ~ B
in a comfortable position, back straight, hands in lap
a slow breath in and release it
five more such breaths, feeling your body relax a little more with each one
your attention to any thoughts or images that come into your mind… just notice
them… What are they about? … What are they like?
imagine that you put all these thoughts and images into a glass jar and watch
the jar over, so you can see the thoughts and images from various perspectives…
Are they different shapes and colours? … What do they do as you watch them? …
more thoughts and images come into your mind, put them into the jar too, and
see what you can learn about them…
take the jar and pour out the thoughts and images…
as they pour out and disappear, leaving the jar empty…
your attention to your breathing, and count your breaths backwards from 10 to
become aware of your surroundings… outside noises, sounds in the room, where
you’re sitting in relation to the furniture and other people in the room…
you’re ready, open your eyes
This Writing Exercise relates to my Blogs ~ The Writing Zone and ~ Mindful Writing, Writing Exercise #24 ~ Clearing The Mind and Writing Tip #23.
Clearing your mind of day-to-day activities before settling to write will help you get into the writing zone.
This Writing Tip relates to Blog ~ The Writing Zone and Exercise #24 ~ Clearing The Mind.
Clearing The Mind
In order to get into the zone for writing, it is useful to clear our minds of ‘head-chatter’. This is mind activity made up of the remnants of whatever day to day activities we’ve been involved in prior to moving into our writing time.
Thoughts continually come and go, and vie for top position in our minds. Attached to these thoughts are emotions, which distract us from our task unless we still them. Willing them away is often not enough to dislodge them, so we need to clear them out – at least for the duration of our writing session.
There are various mind-clearing techniques, but for now the following simple exercise will give you a starting point to work with until my next post.
- Sit quietly and consider your day so far. What have you been doing? Has it been a pleasant morning/day? Have you had issues to deal with? Have you been feeling overloaded? Have you been relaxing?
- Move backwards to yesterday and ask yourself similar questions and any others that come to mind. Now, the day before yesterday, the last week… and so on, until you start to pass from what is close to the surface of your mind to what you have to dredge up. (At this point you’re going into memories and not thoughts or images currently bouncing around your mind.)
- Write a list of as many of the thoughts, feelings, images, conversations and issues that rush from you in light of your most recent experiences.
- When you think the list is exhaustive, close your eyes and allow more thoughts or feelings to surface. Add these to your list.
- Repeat this last step until your mind is clear of current/recent events. These have now been set aside for another time or have lost their immediate importance.
- At this point you’re ready to move into your writing zone. Connect with your computer or notebook and delve into your writing session.
This exercise is similar to one I use when I can’t sleep at night because all the tasks I have for the following day invade my mind and push to be remembered. In this case, I write a list of everything I can think of that needs to be done. Then I prioritise them and put the list where I’ll see it in the morning.
This process takes the thoughts/worry about the tasks out of my brain and onto the paper. It also underlines the fact that I can’t do anything more towards them until morning – thus freeing me to sleep.
This Writing Exercise relates to Blog ~ The Writing Zone and Writing Tip #23.
Don’t give up when you
get derailed. Review, reassess and refocus…
This tip relates to Blogs ~ Are You On Track? Reinforcing Your Goals, and Lesson Learned… Also Tip #19 and Exercise #23.
Reinforce Your Writing Goals
Setting goals is not
enough to make our dreams come true. Setting realistic goals is not even enough
to make them come to fruition. There are additional steps to take if we want to
Setting SMART and realistic goals, and writing a commitment to yourself to achieve them are covered in my earlier Blogs ~ Prepare To Set Writing Goals That Can Succeed, Construct Writing Goals That Can Succeed and Turn The Opportunity To Succeed Into Success.
What else can you do? Find ways to reinforce your commitment. One such
way is to make a collage. The energy you give to this task, and therefore your
writing goals, will multiply the possibility of creating the desired outcome.
Clarify and list your writing goals for 2019.
- Write about a page that summarises the outcomes you want to achieve. This may be prose or poetry – whatever comes at the time. Just let your creative juices flow…
- Identify key words, phrases, pictures/photographs, objects, or anything else that will symbolise the essence of each of your goals.
- Gather these items – take your time with this part of the exercise and make sure you have the most meaningful representation for each goal. For example, a goal might be ‘freedom to write’ – which could have many different meanings, depending on the circumstances. While one person may choose a deserted bush scene to indicate ‘freedom’, another may select a photograph of themselves flying a glider… because they remember the sensation that they were souring on the back of a huge bird with no sound other than the hiss of the wind… and someone else, may simply find a feather for their project.
- Check that your items are specific and personal. Replace them if necessary.
- Arrange your items on a sheet of cardboard – or two, or three, or four. I once made a huge collage to represent life goals, using four sheets of coloured cardboard taped together, and it continues to bring rewards twenty years later!
- Take a break, then come back to your collage with fresh eyes. Do this for as short or as long as feels comfortable – but don’t take so long that you give up!
- Secure your treasures to the cardboard.
- Hang your masterpiece where your eyes will naturally rest on it several times each day – to reinforce the power of manifestation.
- Trust the universe to bring you the opportunities to meet your goals.
- Take action… and enjoy a successful writing year!
This Writing Exercise relates to my Blog ~ Reinforcing Your Writing Goals.
Ask the right questions at the right time, of the right person… including yourself.
This tip relates to ~ Blogs Pondering Questions and Asking Questions, and Exercises # 21 Questions and Writing and # 22 Interview Questions.
Interviews can be formal or informal, and the level of intensity of questions asked ideally reflect the circumstances of the interview.
This is a practical exercise that you can utilise over and again in your writing research.
Write down a topic you need to research for a writing project – now or in the future.
Make a list of possible people to interview.
Choose one person from your list and learn as much as you can about them in relation to your chosen topic.
Brainstorm a list of possible questions to ask this person about your topic.
Cull this list to focus on the most appropriate questions, given the interviewee’s background.
Check each question to identify whether it is an Open Question or a Closed Question.
Re-write any Closed Questions, which would be more productive as Open Questions.
Arrange the questions in order, ready for your interview.
Familiarise yourself with the process you plan to follow, to give the interview every chance of running smoothly.
Enjoy the interview, be flexible, and be open to surprises…
This Exercise relates to ~ Blogs Pondering Questions and Asking Questions, Exercise # 21 Questions and Writing, and Tip # 21.
Read books that will inspire you to write books.
Questions and Writing
Questions are used throughout the writing process… from decision-making about what we’ll write, through the research and planning stages, the writing, and on to the marketing and promotional stages.
Make a list of all the ways you use questions in your writing life. Begin by brainstorming, then add to your list as new examples come to mind.
Reshape your list by rearranging items into positions that feel right to you.
Take some time to ponder the list, and the significance of questions to your work.
Write a piece that highlights the usefulness of questions in relation to your writing.
Ask yourself how many questions you asked during this exercise. You may be surprised!
This Writing Exercise relates to my Blog ~ Pondering Questions