There is only so much time in a day and only so many days in a year. And yet there are so many things we wish to accomplish. How can we ever get it all done, especially when one is writing a novel? Well, today, we are going to look at the art of setting goals and see how I am planning to get a novel written this year!
1. Pick your project. This one seems like a no brainer, but when setting goals, you must select one project to break down into goals. Sure, you can work on multiple projects at once, but when setting your goals, it’s crucial to stay focused. For the sake of illustration, I will select “A Song of Home” as my sample project. (No, you will not see my real timeline 😉. This is just for example.)
2. List the steps needed to accomplish your goal. Take out a sheet of paper and map out everything that needs to be done from start to finish. You may find that you need to add more steps as you progress, and that’s fine! Just get down the basics.
Ex. Brainstorm Novel, draft, revise, edit, team edit, beta-readers/proof edit, publish, market.
3. Set your deadlines. Be sure you have at least a tentative schedule of when (realistically) you want to have these goals met. Now, I’m in a ministry family. We travel…a lot. We get meetings spur of the moment that throws my plans to the wind. So give yourself grace if you have to take several weeks (months, years) to realistically complete a goal.
Ex. Brainstorm, 2 weeks; Draft, 3-6 months (depending on the length of the novel, how well you have it outlined, etc.); Revise, 1 month; Edit, 2 months; Beta-Read/Proof, 1 month; publish, set tentative month you want it out by. The turnaround time for printing and binding varies according to who you use and what time of year you order; Market…you never really stop, so this one doesn’t need a time limit. (Disclosure: These are totally random time slots I chose for this example and do not represent the ideal timeline. You do what works for you. I’m not even sure I could follow this!)
4. Break Up your steps. This is kind of like Step 2. Take each step and divide them into mini-steps.
Ex. Brainstorm: Book synopsis/blurb; picture file; playlist; outline; character questionnaire, etc.
5. Set Deadlines. Yep, this again! Look at the time frame you’ve given yourself and assign a deadline to each mini-step to help you accomplish your goal. This can also help you take stock of how realistic your plan is.
Ex. Brainstorm (2 Weeks): Book synopsis/blurb, 1-2 days; picture file, ongoing; playlist, 1 day; outline, 1 week; character questionnaire, 1 week. Okay, so it looks like this might be accomplished in 2 weeks if you multitask, but better safe than sorry. I’ll give myself another three days.
6. Get to it! Once your plan is in place, jump in, and get to work! And try to stick to your plan. Again, the unexpected happens. This is simply a tool to help you avoid laziness and procrastination. Don’t beat yourself up if other commitments call you away and throw everything off. Adjust and carry on!
This really can apply to any long-term project you want to accomplish.
I hope this post is a help to you and makes your writing/life process less stressful.
Have a blessed day!
Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Christian. American. Southern. Author.
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