Can you believe that half of January has already flown by? I took out my list of 2010 goals today to see how much Iíd achieved. Out of the ten goals Iíd written, three were met, four were started and the rest were only a dream. The good news is that of the three goals I met, Iím thrilled with the results but I still want to do better this year. So Iím going to try something different. Iím going to use a list of questions to help me refine my thinking. I hope these questions and my self-reported answers will help you do the same.
1) How can you create more quiet time for writing? This one is always difficult for me. I have a full-time job as a mathematics editor and a part-time job as a graphic designer so finding the time to write weekly or more often is always a challenge. This year Iíve resolved not to watch mindless television (with the possible exception of The Bachelor!). On evenings when Iím too tired to write I can still play around with potential story ideas or do research. I bought a beautiful Ellen Eilers calendar and Iím going to write in potential ďwriting datesĒ with myself so that I stick to my goal. Iíll put a gold star sticker next to each ďdateĒ I keep. Those stickers were always so motivating in elementary school!
2) How can you learn more from what other successful writers are doing? Iím a book hound (surprise, surprise) and Iím always searching out new books from up and coming childrenís writers. I wish there were more of such books available. This year Iím going to expand into books that apply to other areas of writing and try to adapt them to solutions I need in my work. Iím also going to join the Society of Childrenís Book Writers and Illustrators, something Iíve wanted to do for years.
3) How can you nurture the state of mind where youíre most creative? Walking in nature, meditating, observing great art, these are three activities that help bolster my creativity. I need to do them more. I also need to write when no one expects me to do anything else. A good time for that is when everyone else is asleep!
4) Can you build on anything you learned or completed in 2010 to help you reach one of more of your goals in 2011? I hope so. One of the areas of growth I had in 2010 was in booking, staging and selling at local events. It was so much fun to meet my potential readers in person. I want to expand on events in 2011.
5) Is there anyone in your circle you can share your goals and dreams with who can help guide you in the right direction or help you in some way? I learned something very valuable this year. Sometimes your readers, colleagues in your day job, or casual acquaintances can help you move your dreams along just as much as those who are near and dear to you. This year several of my day-job colleagues made suggestions that helped me move things along at just the right time. I need to write some Thank You notes!
6) How can you condense the time from inspiration/concept to a finished product thatís ready to be submitted to a publisher? OK, Iíll admit that sometimes a project that should take me three months takes three years. I have so many deadlines in other areas of my life that Iím hesitant to apply them here as well but I must! This year as soon as I start a project Iíll assign a reasonable deadline for its completion. Iím also going to re-read Nancy Sanderís great book and submit proposals not finished books.
7) How can you keep more in touch with your goals so that they donít get lost in the busy schedule that is your life? Just as I did last year, this year Iím writing my goals on index cards and prioritized with deadline dates. But unlike last year, this year Iíll review my goals weekly if not daily to keep them fresh in my mind.
8) How can you build up your marketing muscle? Exercise it! I used to feel so uncomfortable marketing myself and my own products, but Iíve noticed that the more I do it, the more I love it! Now I think of it as a vehicle to get me closer to my readers.
9) How can you remain steadfast in your goals when you donít see enough progress? When I feel that Iím not making enough progress, I take out my goal index cards from the previous two years that have gold stars on them. It gives me a perspective on where Iíve been and where Iím going. Itís important to enjoy the journey as well.
10) If you could only achieve one goal in 2011 what would it be? I canít answer this one for you, but this year I want to complete one picture book story a month. I want to get at least three of these accepted by other publishers within this calendar year. I also want to go to production with a book I finished several years ago that I want to self-publish. Uh oh. I better get busy thatís actually three goals.
You can purchase Ellen Eilers' fun calendar at Amazon. Her art inspires me!