I’m just gonna leave this here.
I’m just gonna leave this here.
July 2nd was the halfway point of the year, so I thought it would be a good time to reflect on where we are with our goals.
I have set goals for myself the last few years because somehow, one time, the whole year had passed and I hadn’t read a single book or watched more than half a dozen films. Who knows what that meant for my writing…
What happened that year?!
When I came to that realization, I started to create a list of goals I wanted to accomplish each year. Call them goals or resolutions or even part of your “to do list”, but without some sort of structure, a clear path to follow, it’s easy to allow them to just remain an idea, a figment, a wish.
Goals do not have to be secured at the beginning of the year, we can create a new one anytime. We don’t have to wait for November to power through a writing challenge. Every day is a chance to start. Each day is an opportunity to get a little bit closer to where we want to be.
So whatever goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year, check in on your progress. What adjustments need to be made? If you want to create a new goal for yourself and/or your work, do it. Make a step-by-step list of how you can and will accomplish this task. What do you need to do? Who can help you? What is a realistic time frame? Are there tools that would better help you if you had them available? Set a deadline for yourself, or find an external one, like a contest entry that will keep you on track. What steps will bring you closer to achieving your dream?
Write it all down. Make it visual. Sometimes seeing a large goal is overwhelming because there is a vagueness in how you might get from A to Z, but when it’s broken down into more manageable steps, the objective doesn’t seem so unattainable. Also, small steps toward the larger goal can help maintain your positivity and momentum as you see yourself checking off those tasks.
I am in no way always successful, but I’ve come to the conclusion that by at least acknowledging the things I’d like to accomplish, it gives me something to strive towards, even if I sometimes fail.
I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors, and if you ever need a cheerleader for a bit of encouragement, you know where to find me. 😉
This is the year I’m going to make things happen. We strike a pose and make a fist to emphasize the point.
How many times have we said that?
Looking at a new year in terms of making leaps and bounds towards our goals sounds good, in theory, but in actuality, imagining a whole year to accomplish great things is daunting. 12 months is a big chunk of time. Even though it passes in a blink of an eye. Without periodic check-ins, thinking we have so much time to do everything we want to do generally has the opposite effect and we end up starting grand, petering out, only to approach December in a sort of panic that we didn’t accomplish all we had hoped.
Then the subsequent self admonishment, pity, anger, and false assurances that we’ll do better “next year” begins.
We need to not think about our goals in relationship to the whole year. Instead we need to create more manageable terms, such as what can we accomplish in the next 3 months? After 3 months, we should evaluate, reassess, adjust and move forward for the following 3 months and so on.
By setting short term goals, we can trick our minds into focusing on the task at hand (well, that’s my hope anyway). I do better when I know there’s an external deadline to meet. It’s hard set, not just some self deluded, fanciful idea that I will complete my screenplay without an outside driving force in the next few months – especially when I have an impending move and all that goes with it on the horizon…((panic mode)) – without that deadline, the pressure, I know I will slack off a bit.
And this is where knowing how we best operate is key. In what environment do you best work? At what time? Do you constantly meet your goals or do you play fast and loose? How do you best keep yourself accountable?
I said I would share my resolutions and I will. Every 3 months. I’m looking at these first 3 months skeptically because of the move but it is my hope ((crosses fingers)) that I will finally, once and for all, no-more-rewriting-unless-paid-to-do-so, complete my screenplay Fate(s). I only have the 3rd act to finish and I have it mostly worked out now.
I have other writing resolutions and personal ones too but this year I’m trying my best to temper my ambitions. I always want to do so much, thinking a whole year is plenty of time…I have learned I am wrong.
So thinking on our goals for 2021, I offer you the following three questions I found in an article I read in 2019. I’ve been contemplating them and thought I would share them as part of my resolution post because while goal setting is a fine endeavor, if we don’t want to feel disappointed in our yearly resolutions, maybe we should reevaluate how we define success, for ourselves.
And finally, to end on a note of encouragement, because it doesn’t feel that overwhelming, a word from C. Robert Cargill, a writer I follow on Twitter:
There are 261 working days in 2021. If you write just 1 page every work day, taking holidays and weekends off, you can write at least 2 scripts or 1 novel in 2021. If you write just 2 pages every work day, you can write 5 scripts or 2 novels in 2021.
I hope we all move forward to accomplishing our goals this year. If you’d like to be part of an accountability group or know of one we can all join, please share. I’m thinking of creating something after we settle from the move – a goal for the 2nd quarter.
I always say that I don’t like to make resolutions; that a goal can be set at any time. This is probably because I was like most people who fell off the wagon a couple of months into whatever resolution they had set for themselves. The keyword in that sentence is “was”. I was like that, and yes, I still have my moments, but I’m getting better…well, I try.
A few years ago I realized I hadn’t read a single book all year. Not one. I also realized I hadn’t watched a movie besides those in the MCU or Star Wars that were in theaters that year. What’s that then, maybe three movies? And I want to be a writer – of movies. Sheesh.
Upon this discovery I set two goals/resolutions for the following year: read more and watch more. I started my “one-movie-a-week challenge” which means 52 new movies a year and I use Goodreads to set a reading goal and track my progress. I usually have a few other things I want to do – I still want to learn to sew – and that’s where I tend to fall short. I need to find or create a goal tracker for these other things I’d like to accomplish.
With the longest year ever nearly behind us, there’s a big shining light at the end of the tunnel. If this year has taught us anything it’s that we’re resilient, that time truly is precious, and that we should find and do what makes us happy. I did a lot of soul searching this year and have an idea of the life I’d like to build, and now look to the horizon to make that possible.
So next week I’m going to share my resolutions for 2021 (yep, I’m calling them by their name). And it is my hope that by putting them out into the world, I’ll hold myself accountable. I’ve been thinking that it might be a good idea to create an “accountability team”. If you’d like to be a part of it, I’m going to put out the call, and we’ll work together to follow through on those goals. I hope you’ll join me.
And here’s to 2021. May you bring with you good things.
Happy New Year, friends!
Can you believe it? Not only has another year ended, but we’re now in a new decade. I’m still of the mindset that the 90s were the last decade because to think otherwise is just ridiculous. How could it be, now, 20+ years ago?!
I tend to bring in the new year doing the one thing I hope to be doing the rest of it, writing, but I’ll come clean, I haven’t been able to write since quitting my job. I, instead chose to spend it with one of my favorite people, Jane Austen. I completed my “One New Movie-a-Week” Challenge last week with Rise of the Skywalker, but I thought it might be a nice motivator to watch a movie, a world I want to be a part of, instead. I had not seen the film Love and Friendship, based on the novella, Lady Susan, and while I’ll have more to say on it in my next post about my movie challenge, it got me thinking about my own writing. So at least there’s that.
I nearly finished my Goodreads reading challenge of 12 books, a despicably low number, I know. I kept seeing these posts that if you want to be a writer and don’t make the time to read you can’t really be a writer. I was a much better reader a few years ago when my schedule permitted me to do things in a particular order. Now, I’m trying to implement that old schedule into my new daily routine. When I realized the end of the year was nigh and I wasn’t going to make my goal, I had to reevaluate a few things.
In that reevaluation was the thought that maybe I had set myself up for failure by expecting too much of myself throughout the year. I already knew the job was not allowing me to accomplish much, so achieving some of those goals was always going to be difficult, if not impossible. While I did complete a few of the tasks I had set out to do, like attending my first screenwriter’s conference, others, like the reading challenge, fell by the wayside. How could I possibly expect so much when days, weeks, and even months passed without a glance towards my passions?
I have to look at this year’s goal setting a bit differently. Remember, I don’t like resolutions, and I don’t think January 1st is a magic reset button, but it is an unavoidable marker for moving forward and starting anew. The outside world has dates and seasons for meeting goals, and a new year puts much of that into perspective. But there are things that I continue to carry over each year that I want to do that, while time consuming, are still worthy goals to pursue. It’s just going to take some patience and clever maneuvering, and not be at the forefront while more pressing matters are attended to.
What do you want to accomplish this year? How will you set out to ensure you reach that goal?
Here’s one of my favorite goal setting images for inspiration. Now let’s go crush 2020!
Quote Mondays are back!
My days of slack are over. My two-week self-imposed vacation must come to an end and the reason for said vacation must begin – following my dream. Mondays are a great day to start a new thing.
So let my future commence today!
What do you want to accomplish today?
I’ve been quiet…for a while. Initially it was because I was focused on my work. My real work. I’m still disconnected from the day job since the incident back in February, so at least there’s that. It still takes up a lot of time and energy, just the same. But then a series of mental hits soon followed and I lost my mojo. I’m second guessing myself. I don’t write, even when I want to. I don’t know how to fix some of my story issues, I’m feeling depressed, and I’m just not writing.
I leave for the Austin Film Festival in the wee hours of the morning and I had this huge laid out plan for how I was going to be prepared for it. I was excited and ready to take on the challenge, and then, in the blink of an eye, the passion disappeared. No matter how many quotes about being positive and goal oriented, fearless and creative I read or post, nothing is cracking this current mood.
Yes, yes, I know that failure is a part of the process, but I feel like I’ve been struggling for a long time, when I know, in reality, with all the spurts of inactivity, it’s only been a few years that I’ve been actively pursuing a career. This year’s screenwriting competition season offered me nothing. With only one more competition awaiting announcement, I sort of feel like… I wasted a lot of money. I love the story I submitted, and it’s not to say that someone else won’t feel the same way I do about it in the future, but the lack of upward mobility was less than encouraging.
I don’t know why I want to rant about this. I’m guessing that sometimes we all feel like this, and maybe it would be helpful for other struggling writers to realize they’re not alone. We all hit walls along this creative path, but if it’s truly what we want to do, then I guess, after some moping, we’ll get off our asses and get back to it.
At least that’s what I’m telling myself.
Because I only have tonight to shift this mentality and take advantage of this huge step I’m taking. And even though it may not sound like I’m excited, I am, deep down, and I’m sure everything will change once I board that plane and the realization hits of what it is I’m going to do.
I’m going to my first screenwriter’s conference!
I plan to discuss the conference day by day and hopefully impart some of the wisdom and helpful tips I learn. I’m hoping to get my mojo back, be inspired, and feel empowered, as well as make some writer friends who understand this journey.
So before that happens, what do you do when you hit a writer’s slump?
Last week I wrote an entire blog post after learning that my pilot had not advanced in the second contest I had entered. I was sad and the overall tone was not the happy-stay positive-reach for your dreams-vibe I try to maintain here.
So I didn’t post it.
Rejection, in any form, is tough to take. People say all sorts of things to put a positive spin on the situation, but when it comes down to it, rejection plain ol’ sucks.
I was already struggling with the third act of one screenplay, and I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself to get everything in order for the conference in October, so this news struck a blow. I was down for the rest of the day. But that’s part of the process. You take the hit, get back up, and show ’em.
It’s hard when so much is in our hands as writers, and so much that isn’t.
It’s not like I didn’t know this going in, but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating. The whisper of doubt that sneaks its way in about the possibility that no one will ever like what I write and I never become a professional screenwriter grows louder with each rejection, but then I think of the people that were once just like me.
Every writer ever.
So no, I’m not giving up. On the contrary. I’m just getting started. So here is the “stay positive-reach for your dreams” tip of the day:
Wear that rejection like a badge of honor because at least it shows that your striving towards your goals. How many people do you know that are unwilling to even try?
Good Luck and Happy Writing!
I’ve found that I haven’t had much to say lately. I’m not sure exactly why. In part it could be because the last couple of months have been sort of strange. Since that incident at work back in February, I’m happy to report that my shift in focus has remained. It is weird there though. I’m more focused on the job I actually want, even though the progress is slow sometimes, I am still moving forward.
I’ve been better about reading, which somehow eluded me last year, and I’ve maintained my one-movie-a-week routine (although I did see the Avengers twice, so I’m one movie shy of my goal as I write this). I’ve rewritten two acts of one of my screenplays, I entered my TV pilot into 7 contests, I’ve come up with a new screenplay idea that I’m excited about (let’s just add that to the backlog of ideas currently nestled in the recesses), and I bought my airline ticket and badge for the Austin Film Festival screenwriters conference. So…yay!
Not that long ago, we had been broke, The Sis and I. Not so broke that I was worried we might end up homeless, because we always made sure we paid rent, but poor enough that there were a few times we used a credit card to buy groceries and pay bills. Not a great place to find one’s self. Now, I’m in a position to attend a writers conference, one of my goals, and I’m nervous and delighted.
Having this external goal compels me to get my writer’s portfolio in order. There is no way I’m going to squander this opportunity. It’s one thing to submit to contests, it’s another to hopefully meet and mingle with people who could actually propel my career forward, and so I have to get my sh*t in order. No more messing around. No more excuses. If I’m going to spend this big shiny penny, I have to make the most of it.
It also helps to keep striving when you receive feedback like this from a contest you entered:
“Vivid world building and unique characters set a great foundation for the series. The dialogue between the characters is distinctive and introduces creative dialects and words that the sci-fi audience will love.”
Thank you, Slamdance!
So I’m committing to this page my goals for the next 17 weeks:
Whew. I’m at some stage of progress on each goal, but there’s still plenty to do, so I better get cracking.
How are you moving towards your goals? Please share your small steps and let’s celebrate them together! Also, are you planning on attending AFF? It would be great to meet a familiar “face”. 😉
Although yesterday passed before I had an opportunity to post, it’s still early enough in the week to share some inspiration. In fact, today is my Saturday, so if you work odd shifts like I do, then it really doesn’t matter what day you choose to celebrate #MotivationMonday. 😉
We are our biggest critics, so it’s good to be reminded that we can also choose to be our biggest supporters. No matter what you’re passionate about, if you’re chasing your dream, then believe in yourself that you can and will make it happen. In the end, should we succeed or fail, it is up to us.
There’s another quote I’ve shared before that I feel is a good bookend for the above, “What would you do if you knew you could not fail.” Believe in yourself and find out!