2012 is clicking closer. Are you ready for all the positive possibilities in your life?
A writer’s journey is the same as everyone else’s. It isn’t a yellow brick road of illusionary dreams, but a solid path laid brick-by-brick that leads to success. A few simple tools can make that path a reality. It doesn’t matter if you approach life as a pantser or plotter or a combination of the two, remember–those who fail to plan had better plan on failing, and successful writers ‘do’ what other writers won’t. So get SMART today.
SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. SMART is your intention for a goal. It must be inclusive of these five things in order to march you down the path to success.
Where to begin?
State your goal. Then, test it against SMART.
I’m going to write a 90,000 word contemporary novel in three months using a plotting board.
Specific means details. Go back to what you learned in grade school: Who, What, When, How, and Why-is optional.
What=Write a contemporary novel
When=Within three months
How=Using a plotting board
Why=To get the character chatter out of my head along with the pure joy of creating.
Measureable provides a means for identifying progress. Broken down, 90,000-words over three months equals 1000 words a day, or 30,000 words a month, or about ten chapters a month. You must build into your goal a way to measure your progress. By breaking it down in parts, it’s easier to handle the nuts and bolts and accomplish the goal rather than being overwhelmed by only the desired end result.
And don’t forget to reward yourself for those steps of accomplishments. More about that at the end.
I’m going to write a 90,000-word novel in three months, 30,000 words a month, making use of a plotting board. This statement is more measurable.
Achievable sets you up for accomplishment. Success is available each step of the way. Commitments need to be ‘doable’ within the framework of your life. What steps or scheduling is required to write? Is it possible to work forty hours a week, attend kid’s after-school activities and complete a novel during the months of October, November and December? The holidays might prevent the 90,000-word novel from being an achievable goal, yet expand the goal to four months and suddenly you have success!
Realistic is truthful and life-like. Don’t lie to yourself. The specifics of the goal need to be pragmatic and tough-minded. A goal is intended to be a challenge. It may be achievable, but weigh it against realistic, only when the scales balance will the goal be successful.
Timely. The goal has a start time and a definite end time.
If your goal is up to the challenge and passes the test of these five points, congratulate yourself!
One more thing-Rewards. Find simple ways to reward yourself. When you make measureable progress, add some chocolate syrup to your coffee, spend fifteen minutes researching on the internet about a dream vacation to Italy, or set aside twenty minutes to soak in the tub. Read a book all in one sitting. Or, consider starting a goal group–make everyone accountable on a weekly or monthly basis for their own SMART goals.
Rewards don’t require money. Celebrating accomplished steps on your journey will inspire you to cross the finish line. Welcome in 2012 with confidence. You’re walking SMART to success!