Happy 2013 to all those visiting via the Insecure Writer's Support Group or elsewhere. This is a final post in my goals series, my first for a new year.
At this time of the year many of us are returning to work, or for the antipodeans like me – choosing between hot days jumping in the pool with children on their long summer school holidays, or the less tantalising thought of sitting in a stuffy room sweating over a writing project.
Whether in winter or summer, most of us have some thoughts towards what we want to achieve over the next few months (weeks? days? Okay, today…). I posted two posts with links to all the advice on goal setting for writers which took over the blogosphere lately previously, here and here.
I'm not greatly into New Years resolutions at a personal level – the typical ones like losing weight or forming a new habit. I won't make those public, but also have got to an understanding with myself that I won't feel too much guilt if some good intentions set abortrarily on a certain day of the year are side-lined through the year. I do believe that to be a professional career writer, I need to make some plans and targets for my year.
I tend to call them plans – “goals” are too airy-fairy, “intentions” allow for slippage, “resolutions” remind me too much of the many years where I resolutely didn't do any of them. But plans are something I know from my old business days – plans have dates, budgets, milestones, resources, tasks, schedules, determination. You can share a plan, and people are more willing to help you out. And if plans don't work out, or over-run, then it's perfectly acceptable to embrace a Plan B, or to re-plan.
This year I'm not going too public with my own high end writing plans for the year, and have not split them out into smaller tasks as yet. But as Santa kindly gifted me with a new laptop and software for Christmas (much needed after my hard disk crash of November), I've utilised my love for technology to make goal planning more fun for me.
There they are, my plans.
Importantly, I will be a writer, and writing to prove it.
I like the organisational structure provided by Microsoft OneNote, and have a Plans section in my Writing Notebook. The screenshot above shows the top level index page, linking through to several subpages with more detail. I've included a listing of all the courses I'm taking to improve my writing craft, and also a page on creative projects which sit alongside my main writing tasks.
I had initially tried planning these out in my favourite research app across platforms – Evernote, but found I needed a section/folder/page/subpage structure to help organise my thoughts more productively. But I also wanted to have fun – drawing over your notes, that's fun, isn't it?
On that note, although it looks quite structured, I don't get on with quite that amount of tablurised text (hence the doodling), and being a creatively-energised being, I wanted to include the much-needed flexibility to grow into the year. I've therefore chosen a theme for the year (creative fun), a colour (apple green) and written an affirmation towards my approach to the year.
The screenshot above is taken from my iPad. OneNote does have an iPad app available for free, but it's not very good (in my and many other people's opinions). Instead, I'm using an app called Outline+ which provides some powerful synchronisation with desktop OneNote notebooks. I keep the desktop and tablet notebooks synchronised via Dropbox, rather than using Microsoft's own web storage facilities, because it's so easy with Outline+.
This is a subpage (above) – showing the ink drawing floor plan which came in from my PC based notebook into Outline+. I then added images. It's my writing study redesign, something which will impact my writing a little over the next few months.
As mentioned in my previous goals posts, I've been working for some weeks with my ten year old daughter. We are nearly finished on a large wall poster, hand-drawn and coloured of her goals for the year. The poster takes the form of a zoo map, with animal and building sections supplemented with main areas of goals (such as academic, sporting, music, a creative section) and provides many icons and flags for all the support people in her life. Unfortunately, a trip to the zoo didn't find any animal stickers, so the map is currently unpopulated. A small section of it is shown above.
For my daughter, having a large colourful poster on her bedroom wall to remind her of what she wants to get out of her year's journey is a feasible and decorative option. Over the years I've personally created altered journals, notebooks, checklists, word documents, blog posts, little hand-made booklets, mindmaps, charts and many other formats to document my
goals plans on.
This year I wanted them to be as much a work in progress as my actual writing, and the portable format of having them synchronised across multiple platforms via OneNote and accompanying apps allows me this, in a structured yet maintainable and easily changed manner. I can add to, re-address, re-task, alter, and concentrate on a task or goal throughout the year. Oh, and I can doodle on them too.
In the case of
goals plans, it really is the thought that counts.
Have you thought about what you want to put into and get out of your writing year? I wish you all the luck and fortitude in pursuing a new year of writing.
- For more supportive posts check out Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group with monthly posts due the first Wednesday (like this one).
- For a regular blog group which specifically deals with setting writing goals and posting on them weekly, also check out ROW80 – Round of Words in 80 Days – the start for the new year is due in a few days time.