Believe it or not, we are halfway through the year, which makes this week an excellent time for you to sit down and take a few minutes to assess where you stand in terms of your goals for 2015. How is your writing going? Have you accomplished what you wanted to in the last six months? What sort of changes would you like to make moving forward?
The idea of this sort of check in is not to make you feel terrible if you haven’t made as much progress as you’d like. It’s really just a touchstone, a moment to readjust your course and to remind yourself why you’re doing what you do. With that in mind, I’d like you to ask yourself a few questions while you’re checking in with your word count or the number of query letters you sent into the world:
Are my goals challenging but reasonable? Make sure you’ve given yourself something to reach for, but don’t set the bar so high that you need to don your cape and take flight in order to reach it. Everyone faces some failures, but a steady diet can be discouraging so you want to make at least a portion of your goal something that you absolutely know you can do.
Are my goals something over which I have control? You want your goals to be actionable. It’s great to say you plan to have a three-book publishing deal by the end of the year, but not every variable in that particular milestone is something you can make happen. Luck and timing also come into play. Instead break that goal down into the parts that are entirely up to you: Revising your manuscript, sending query letters, working on your social media platform to show agents and editors that you plan to be an active participant in marketing your work.
Am I getting in my own way? Self-sabotage can creep into your life when you least expect it. Sometimes it’s simply procrastination, but others it’s allowing impatience or frustration to convince you to make an impulsive choice that is contrary to your carefully laid out plan for your career. This could be anything from signing a suspect contract with a small, unknown publisher just to get your book out there, to giving up on your social media efforts after just a few weeks because you feel you aren’t making inroads. Try to pause and determine if your impulsive decision is more likely to help or hinder in the long run.
Don’t forget to look forward, too. It’s great to see how far you’ve come and whether you’re working well toward your goals for the year, but it’s also an excellent time to assess those goals for the next six months. Is there anything you want to change? To scale back or ramp up? Maybe an opportunity has come along and you’d like to veer off on a tangent. Build these things into your plan for the future. The best goals are flexible, after all.
Happy writing, and good luck ticking off those goals between now and the end of the year!