So as not to overwhelm yourself, look at the big picture and keep it simple. Make sure you get big things done. We need to protect our big things against the tide of small things, which we tend to do because they are smaller, easier to accomplish. Think about what big things will make you feel the most fulfilled at the end of the year.
- Choose no more than three large projects. For example: Market <book that is coming out>, Complete <work-in-progress A>, Write <planned-project B>. Don’t even bother putting down the next steps about getting them sold, marketed or whatever. (I’ll show you what to do with those steps on Monday when I revisit our project management discussion.)
- For routine maintenance items, keep the list to three important ones. For example, maintain my marketing efforts: blog, facebook, newsletter.
- Keep most of your personal goals separate, and keep them simple.
- Create development goals. For example, improve my writing by doing the exercises in Make Your Words Work by Gary Provost and by reading 100 novels. Again, choose no more than three.
- For your three big projects, break them into steps. Look at your calendar, which should also reflect things like planned vacations, conferences, and so on, so that you can get a realistic idea of when you can accomplish the projects. Be sure to build in some slack in the schedule. If you think it will take 3 months, give it four. Work on the projects one at a time if possible. Put all your projects on a big piece of paper with the steps as boxes so you can check them off, and so that when you have to set one aside to work on another, (which counts as working on one at a time), when you return to the original project, you can quickly see where you are on the other project. I’ll go over this big-piece-of-paper concept again on Monday.
If you complete your big projects before the end of the year, then you can make more goals.
For 2015, my big project accomplishments were:
- Finished and started querying Mark Taggart and the Circle of Stones
- Wrote and submitted Third Strike’s the Charm.
- Edited, formatted, and published Heartland.
I didn’t write two other books I wanted to write, but that’s okay. I’m still getting the hang of my process. But I want to get to the point that I complete my goals. It’s okay to abandon some goals and make new ones within the year, but I want to accomplish the number of big projects that I set out to do.
I used the second half of December to read, think, and to work on the tools that will help me get where I want to go with my writing.
I’m enjoying my process, and I’m not working under contract. (With Wild Rose Press, authors enter the contract after the book is written, not before.)
What are you looking forward to accomplishing this year?
Before you go, I’ve been working on this photo. Which do you prefer?