By Tiffany Colter
This week, we’re going to dig in really practically and evaluate our progress in order to set goals for next year and fix issues that have prevented us from accomplishing our goals this year. To do this I’ve written down some questions you need to answer in order to evaluate what you did, why and how it helped [or hindered] your progress. Take the time to really be honest with yourself about these answers.
1. What goals did you set for this year? Where are they written down and how much progress did you make toward accomplishing them? If your goal was something vague like “I’d like to finish my book this year”, then try to find more specific goals.
2. How committed were you to accomplishing these goals?
3. What did you do to learn the skills necessary to accomplish these goals?
4. What did you quit doing in order to make the time necessarily to add this activity to your life?
5. Why did you want to accomplish this goal?
6. Who did you find to support you?
7. Who did you find to hold you accountable?
Now that you’ve looked at this can you honestly say that you put in the time and effort necessary to accomplish what you said you wanted to do? If you didn’t, was this truly a goal or just a wish. If you did, congrats! How will you improve next year.
Three days ago, I was talking to my 15 year old. She struggled in Algebra last year and this year is in Algebra 2. The school year started out very disappointing, but about 1/2 way through she started to see her grades go up. The weekly 10 question quizzes that were about 70%-80% were now in the 90% and already this grading period she’s had at least one quiz that was a 100%. I told her, “Now you know you are capable of being an A student. In fact, you’re capable of being a 100% student in math.” We went on to discuss the other classes, some of which she had slipped on in her effort to get her math grade up. All of her classes have a weekly quiz where each question is worth 10%-12%, missing just 3 questions results in a C- or even a D. She was frustrated because she is a sophmore and wants to attend a very challenging college close to our home. I told her that in each class she should focus on trying to get one more question right in each class. Trying to do more than that–and even worse, trying to be perfect–will simply frustrate her. By focusing on each week trying to get one more question right than the last time she will work her way up to her goal.
I challenge you to do the same thing. When you are looking through this self-evaluation don’t try to make yourself shift everything at once. Maybe you need to start by just writing down what your goal is and why that is a goal. Looking at that over and over for a couple of weeks will make that goal a priority. Then move to action.
On the other hand, if reviewing that goal and rationale doesn’t motivate you it is time to start to really ask yourself if this is a goal you are willing to pursue. Writers don’t write because we become millionaires. Despite what many thing, a large number of midlist writers have other work to support them. Writers may earn $10,000-$20,000 from selling their books per year. Some make more, many make less. We write because we have a story that burns inside of us that we have to get out. We simply cannot imagine the idea of writing as something wonderful and nobel. That isn’t why we write. You write because it is part of who you are, not a writer necessarily, but a person with something to share. Many of my clients do aspire to be writers, but others simply have wisdom and knowledge to share. They might be business developers or speakers or experts in their field. When I talk about motivation it isn’t simply about the act of writing, it is about doing what must be done in order to get the book done. For some that means hiring an editor, a writing coach or even a person to write part of the book.
So, where are you? Where do you want to be? How motivated are you to get there? What are you going to do to make sure you get there?
I’ll see you next week.
Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter, The Writing Career Coach
Don’t miss a single posting! Subscribe here to receive these postings by e-mail. Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at writingcareercoach.com.