So after four days of looking at the Past, Present, Future, and Practical Matters, the big day has arrived: Time to etch in virtual stone our writing goals for 2015. Oh, and one more little thing: It’s important that you go public with your goals.
Today: Going Public
Why go public?
Because if we just think about your goals, they are nothing more than illusions, hazy, half-baked phantasms in our heads, here and potentially gone like all the other zillion thoughts that spurt through our consciousness each day.
Because if you don’t formalize your writing goals, you may forget them.
Because having some sort of tangible, physical list gives you a touchstone to remind you what you need be focusing on throughout the year.
Because by proclaiming your goals to the Universe, they become real.
And the biggest reason of all: That simple act of courage — declaring your goals publicly — engenders positive energy, recalling the line by the Rev. Basil King who said, “Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.”
What then do I mean by going public?
Anything that gets the goals out of your head and into the physical universe. Such as:
* Write down your goals onto 3×5 index cards.
* Compose a letter to yourself with your goals, stick said letter in an envelope, and tack it to your desk where you can see and know it’s there when you write.
* Email your family and friends with the list of goals.
* Host a party at which you recite your goals and invite people’s moral and emotional support.
* Hire the Goodyear Blimp and flash your goals on it over the Rose Bowl.
Or you can simply post your writing goals for 2015 here on GITS.
Here’s how I look at writing goals: They are similar to the relationship a writer has with an outline. An outline can be a tremendous benefit to a writer, wrangling the story and giving shape to it. But once you hit FADE IN, you have to be willing to follow the characters wherever they take you. Sometimes the characters follow the outline perfectly. Other times, they don’t. In the case of the latter, you never stifle your characters, instead you have to have the courage to set your outline aside, and go with the creative flow.
Same thing with writing goals and whatever opportunities come along. Your goals give shape to the potential narrative of your creative year. Sometimes events lay out just like you figured they would. But other times, some project pops up, a unique opportunity to write a story about which you feel passionate. In those cases, you have to be willing to veer away from the schedule for your goals — not the goals themselves, just how and when you are go about realizing them.
Speaking of schedule, going public with your writing goals does not mean your planning work is done. It will do you little good if you generate a list of goals, but don’t figure out a time frame within which to accomplish those goals. So that is where we start the next step in the process on Monday: Working up a schedule. Following that on Tuesday through Friday, we will explore time saving and project management tips, mine and hopefully yours, to help facilitate reaching our writing goals next year.
For now, those of you who feel emboldened, I’ll see you in Comments and look forward to reading about your writing projects in 2015. And for those of you who want to keep that information to yourself, that’s completely fine. Just be sure to go public, even if it’s formalizing a list of writing goals on a 3×5 index card.
Bottom line: All my best to each of you in your creative endeavors in 2015 and beyond.