Equipping Writers for Success
HOME   |   ABOUT US   |   CONTACT US   |   SITE MAP   |   MASTER ARTICLE INDEX   |   ADVERTISE WITH US!
HELPFUL LINKS   |   EDITOR'S CORNER (Ramblings on the Writing Life)

Getting Around...

Career Essentials
Getting Started
Queries & Manuscripts
Market Research

Classes & Conferences
Critiquing

Crafting Your Work
Grammar Guides

Research/Interviewing
Writing Contests

The Writing Business
Income & Expenses
Selling Reprints
Collaboration
Pseudonyms

Negotiating Contracts Setting Fees/Getting Paid
Rights & Copyright
Tech Tools

The Writing Life
The Writing Life
Rejection/Writer's Block
Health & Safety

Time Management
Column: Ramblings on the Writing Life

Fiction Writing - General
General Techniques
Characters & Viewpoint
Dialogue
Setting & Description
Column: Crafting Fabulous Fiction

Fiction Writing - Genres
Children's Writing
Mystery Writing
Romance Writing
SF, Fantasy & Horror
Flash Fiction & More

Nonfiction Writing
General Freelancing
Columns & Syndication
Newspapers/Journalism

Topical Markets
Travel Writing
Photography

Creative Nonfiction
Memoirs/Biography

International Freelancing
Business/Tech Writing

Other Topics
Poetry & Greeting Cards Screenwriting

Book Publishing
Traditional Publishing
Self-Publishing
Electronic Publishing
POD & Subsidy Publishing

Promotion/Social Media
General Promotion Tips
Book Reviews
Press Releases

Blogging/Social Media
Author Websites

Media/Public Speaking
Booksignings

Articles in Translation

Search Writing-World.com:

Google:
Yahoo: MSN:

This free script provided by
JavaScript Kit


Editor's Corner:
Bite-Size Resolutions

by Moira Allen

Return to Editor's Corner · Print/Mobile-Friendly Version

This year, I'm going to write a novel. This year, I'm going to lose weight. This year, I'm going to organize my photos and redesign my photo website. And this year, I'm going to spend less time doing stuff I think I "should" be doing and more time doing things I enjoy.

Sounds like a great plan, right? The only problem is, those are the same resolutions I made last year. So what makes me think that this year is going to be any different?

The difference, I hope, lies in the approach. The whole problem with New Year's Resolutions is that, so often, we make them with a "year" in mind. As the fireworks are going off over Times Square (or the Thames), it's easy to feel that a year is a very long time indeed. Twelve months -- oodles of time to accomplish all those things that we want to "have accomplished" by December 31. That sense of "loads of time" is what makes it all too easy to say, "I'll do that tomorrow."

So this year, I'm not looking at year-end resolutions. Instead, I'm trying for "bite-size resolutions." Rather than maintain a vague hope that, somehow, I'll weigh less at the end of this year, I'm looking at weekly resolutions: This week, I resolve to lose one pound. This week, I will take specific steps, however small: Changing something that I eat, getting on the exercycle, actually lifting those weights that are sitting on my counter.

At the end of the week, I can evaluate the success (or failure), not of some nebulous long-term goal, but of my specific goal for that week. Did I lose a pound? Fabulous! Did I lose half a pound? Then I must be doing something right, and need to keep doing it -- and do more of it. Did I lose nothing? Then I need to evaluate "why." Is it because, despite my "resolution," I didn't actually change anything? Or did I make changes -- but not enough changes? Each week's "evaluation" gives me information that will help me plan my goal for the next week.

The same applies to writing goals. This week, my goal is to complete one chapter of my novel. As I write this, it's Monday. By Sunday, I can evaluate my progress: Did I write a chapter? Did I write half a chapter? Did I write anything at all? If I didn't meet my goal, what did I actually do with my time -- and how can I prioritize my tasks a bit differently?

Weekly goals also make it easier to adapt to changes in plans and circumstances. If all your relatives are coming to town for the holidays, you probably won't have much time to write -- so make your goal for that week to "enjoy the family." If an article deadline is coming up, take a week off from your novel. Being able to set goals by the week gives you the flexibility to set different goals when circumstances require them.

The best thing about bite-size goals, however, is that every time you achieve one, you feel like a success. You don't have to wait twelve months to determine whether you've achieved your resolutions. Instead, you get to pat yourself on the back every week -- for every chapter you write or pound you lose or query you send out. Better yet, every success makes you feel confident that you can do it again: If you wrote a chapter last week, you know you can write another one this week. If you lost a pound last week, chances are pretty good you can do it again -- and again. And if you don't meet your goals for the week, it's just a week. On Monday, you get to start over.

And for the record, I'm down two pounds and up four chapters...

Find Out More...

Goals and Resolutions: Mid-Year Course Adjustments - Moira Allen
http://www.writing-world.com/coffee/coffee67.shtml

Goals Are Worthless If... - Brian Jud
http://www.writing-world.com/basics/jud.shtml

Planning Your Writing Career - Dawn Copeman
http://www.writing-world.com/business/dawn08.shtml

Setting Effective Writing Goals - Moira Allen
http://www.writing-world.com/basics/goals.shtml

Column Index

Copyright © 2010 Moira Allen

This article may be reprinted provided that the author's byline, bio, and copyright notice are retained in their entirety. For complete details on reprinting articles by Moira Allen, please click HERE.


Moira Allen is the editor of Writing-World.com, and has written nearly 400 articles, serving as a columnist and regular contributor for such publications as The Writer, Entrepreneur, Writer's Digest, and Byline. An award-winning writer, Allen is the author of eight books, including Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer, The Writer's Guide to Queries, Pitches and Proposals, and Writing to Win: The Colossal Guide to Writing Contests. In addition to Writing-World.com, Allen hosts VictorianVoices.net, a growing archive of articles from Victorian periodicals, and The Pet Loss Support Page, a resource for grieving pet owners. She lives in Maryland with her husband and the obligatory writer's cat. She can be contacted at editors "at" writing-world.com.

 

Copyright © 2017 by Moira Allen. All rights reserved.
All materials on this site are the property of their authors and may not be reprinted
without the author's written permission, unless otherwise indicated.
For more information please contact Moira Allen, Editor

Organize your writing
and save time. Click here for a free download