03 January, 2015
You've set your goal, now what? Congratulations. You set your goal for 2015. Now how do you accomplish your goal? I can tell you how I used to go about achieving my goal. It involved no planning, no strategy, no focus. But let't not dwell on the past. How do I do it now? Well I'm glad you asked. Write your goal down. Write down the steps you need to take to achieve your goal. If you're not sure, ask someone in that field. Since I am a writer, I will let you peek at last year's steps. 1. Identify where my writing needs work. 2. Take classes that address my weakness in my writing. 3. Rewrite and see if I show improvement. 4. Take more classes as necessary. That was my focus and planning. My strategy involved using a calendar planner, looking at classes that were offered, scheduling them on my planner, booking plane tickets, and paying for onsite and online classes. My goal was to improve my writing. I had to identify where I needed it. I knew from published authors and screenwriters who'd read my work that I was great at plot, great at dialogue, great at story. Everything that was necessary for a novel, screenplay, or teleplay to work was on the page, but I wasn't great at editing. Now I revised, and revised and revised. But It still wasn't working. So my focus last year was on learning how to edit my writing. Did it work? Yes. I can see the flaws, and deescalations, and lack of conflict and fix them. I can cut entire scenes and even characters. I can rewrite scenes three, four, or five times to see which one fits the story better. When I do revisions, I set the revision as my goal and then I write down the steps. What am I looking to edit/revise: dialogue, conflict, stakes, emotion, characterization, setting, plot, etc. Approaching my writing this way allows me to write that first draft like a young girl running through a meadow, listening to pixies play on flutes. Because I know when I'm done, I'm going into the underground bunker with bare concrete walls and its time to revise-get brutal with my editing. Some writers are different. They start in the bunker with the writing craft tools and even an outline. I need to let myself flow free for as long as I want. Write the way that comes natural to you. 3. Do the steps. This is where the planner comes in handy. Write down what steps you are going to take every day. Yes, every day. I work eight hours a day, five days a week, so I know it means sacrifice-sleep, or something else. But this is your dream. Do it. 4. Write some celebrations in. I like a glass of sparkling wine when I finish a writing project. Or it could be a trip to the office supply store for fluorescent sticky notes. Anything that motivates you to continue. My goal for 2015: to option a novel and screenplay/teleplay. I've already gotten started, and yes, my planner pages are filling up. I'd love to hear what your goal is.