Thursday, September 30, 2010

Meeting Writing / Editing / Life Goals

On September 1st I filled the whiteboard above my desk with a list of goals for the month.  So far, with the day still young and a couple more items to be completed, I have met 12 out of 20 goals and I know that I'll knock out at least two more before the stroke of midnight.

Were we having a two sided conversation instead of this rambling monologue, you might ask me why I set so many goals for September.  The simple answer is: Because I want to succeed.  At this juncture in my life, I am blessed to have no boss and no one to answer to aside from my own conscience and as with many things in life this blessing comes with a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, life is a breeze without the hassle of being micro-managed by someone who has little time for anything other than pestering me about projects past, present and future.  I don't use an alarm clock any more, can go run errands whenever the mood strikes and can spend as much of my day watching Judge Judy as I want.  There's no set hourly pay rate, and the sky is the figurative limit when it comes to my earning potential.

On the other hand, there isn't someone there to hassle me about projects past, present and future.  In fact, projects of the present could last months or years without anyone ever saying a word to me, and future projects could possibly never appear if I don't get up the gumption to look for them.  I could easily sleep through the day, spend my few waking hours wandering the aisles of Target and watch Judge Judy until my eyes bleed and never make a cent as a writer.

So, on the first of September I wrote out all the things that I'd really like to accomplish this month so that I could feel like I was doing my part and paying my dues even though I don't have an office to go to.  My goal list looks like this:

Associated Content: Write 12 articles, Reach 5,500 views for the month, Earn $xxxx (there is an actual dollar amount on my whiteboard, but sadly I feel the need to keep my financial gains to myself)
Novel: Edit ALL chapters by 9/30.  Any notes not made by midnight 9/30 are NOT going in your re-write!
Gearheadz Paintball: How To Series - pick your 1st marker, pick your 1st tank, pick your 1st hopper, pick your 1st mask. Facebook - Dealer notification, Action Pursuit Games Entry, Hellfish DVD
Writing Blog: Write about applying for submission to Action Pursuit Games, Write about waiting for the Glimmer Train contest results, Write about setting and meeting goals, Write about deciding to sign up for NANOWRIMO 
A Smaller Bottom Blog: Write 20 entries for the month, Upload Lara Croft progress photos, Write about measurements progress, Write about the 10k

By the end of today, I'll also be able to cross off the novel editing (trumpets will blare, confetti will fall, and a bottle of champagne will open), hopefully have reached my 5,500 views for the month (I'm currently about 243 reads short), will have written the blog entry for the first installment of the Gearheadz Paintball How To series, and the rest I'm going to allow to carry over into October.  Every time I meet a goal I feel a blaze of satisfaction as I cross it off the list, and I leave the list in its entirety up all month so that I can have a visual to remind me of how well (or poorly) I'm doing.

In the end, if I am setting goals that take some effort to reach then a 60%+ success rate really is an accomplishment and it's easy to identify the other 40% of things that were either unrealistic, or are areas that I need to improve in next month.  Maybe one day I'll be able to hit 100% of my goals, although I'm sure that if that day came I would simply add to my list and decide that I didn't give myself enough to do.

If you are considering quitting your day job and making a name for yourself on your own, I highly suggest that you find a way to set your own goals and give yourself an easy visual to refer to as the month lags on so that you can evaluate yourself the way a manager would.  By giving yourself structure and in turn, giving yourself a fair and honest evaluation of your work, then success is a little easier to measure and a lot easier to grasp.

Currently Reading:
Steamed: A Steampunk Romance (Paranormal Romance (Signet))

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