Tag Archives: success

Goaling to Success – Day 5

20 Jan

Poor Sabrina, the only one left posting – left to be the guinea pig 🙂

Today in some ways is the first really important post. Anyone can scrap together a list of things they’d like to do, but making that list into a true set of goals is where we jump into the new success realm.

And to do that, we need to make our goals SMART.

SMART: Specific, Measurable, Realistic, Timely

SPECIFIC – We talked a little about this already, but let’s talk more specifically about it. Yeah, I know. Groan.

Specific drills down. Every time you think you have a specific enough goal, run through the who/what/where/how/which/when type questions and see if you can get even more specific.

For example, writers always say “Finish the WIP” or “Write a book”

  • Write what book
  • About who
  • What genre
  • How are you planning on writing it
  • etc

So, instead of “Write a book” you might have something that looks more like, “Write the YA Historical Paranormal Shape Shifting Fairy Tale about the werewolf huntress in regency England” (that’s still getting worked on by the way *w*)


Being measurable is a positive move for several reasons. First, it makes  you really think hard about what you want. Do you want to “lose weight” or “be a size 8” – those are two different things. If I was a size 16 and lost 5lbs I’d have met the “lose weight” goal in all its glorious vagueness. But if I truly wanted to be a size 8, then that goal is still off in the distance a bit. If you don’t know where you’re going, what – you’re chasing – then how will you know what direction to run and when you’ve gotten there? Second, who doesn’t like to win. Having a measurable ending game allows you to win. Last year Mr. Gwen Hayes and I spent all day putting SIMS on my computer because Gwen enjoys it so much. I played it for about 15 mins and then asked, “How do you win?”

Well, as the self-competitive person that I am, you can imagine my response (and the time spent uninstalling all those new shiny files) when I found out you can’t win.

While not everything needs to be about winning, goals are. They are about winning the life you’ve pictured for yourself.


Let’s say my goal is, “Become a NYTBS author with my YA HPSSFT in 2011” – Yes it’s measurable (there’s a definite list and I have a deadline of the end of the year) – Yes, it’s specific (we know which book and we know which very clear list) – but is it attainable?

Um, no. Absolutely in no way is it attainable. We all know that there’s a long path from “start the book” to “NYTBS” – That book is going to need to get written, revised, edited, queried, agented, bought, revised and edited more, printed, promo’d and published. Not possible in the 11 months we have left.

But, let’s say my goals was “Write the YA Historical Paranormal Shape Shifting Fairy Tale about the werewolf huntress in regency England by 11/11/11”  it is most likely attainable. That’s where someone who knows my writing habits would have to push back. If my last book took 4 years and nothing in my life has changed, my goals buddy might say, “Um, really?” But, if I’ve made the commitment and the time, then here we go with the goal!


Realistic might feel the same as attainable, but it’s not. There are attainable goals that aren’t realistic. You COULD write 3 books this year, but will you? The could is Attainable. The but will you is Realistic. You need to look at each goal, each sub-goal, and ask yourself not only is it doable, but is it doable for you?


There are two ways to look at Timely.

One: Is this the time to be doing it? For example, let’s say one of your goals is to query your top 20 agents… but the book isn’t done. Well, you’re doing it at the wrong time, right?

Second: is it time grounded. I will be a size 8…one day? Or I will fit into my size 8 jeans by September 21st? For a goal to be really strong, there needs to be an end date. If not, it’s just floating around out there as a One Day type of dream. Dreams are great, but goals are dreams in action.

So, look at your goals list and make each line SMART. It takes some practice, but don’t give up. You’ll also start to see if your list may be too heavy. If you know it takes 6 months to write a book (for you) and you list 3 books to write this year, slotting that Timely and Realistic will have you rethinking those.


Goaling to Success – Day 4

18 Jan

Hope everyone had a good weekend. Someone mentioned on twitter they were traveling for the long weekend, so I decided to do a Tue/Thur blog week instead.

Today’s post is going to sound easy, but really is the next push in getting a more well-drawn picture of what YOU want….this year and in the future.

Pull out that Dream Big and the list you want for 2011 and check them out side-by-side.

First, take a look at your Dream Big. I had a great conversation with my MPJ (Money, Purpose, Joy) group this weekend about my own DB list. I’d always had “be a bookstore owner” on the list, but had never really thought of it as doable. It was a dream – but the MPJ book pushes you to ask for more, to believe that no dream is to large for you to be worthy of.

So, with that in mind, we’re going to look at the DB list one more time 😉 Here are some questions that might help you fill in the blanks you didn’t know you had:

  • What do I want to do?
  • What do I want to have?
  • Where do I want to go?
  • What contributions do I want to make?
  • What do I want to become?
  • What do I want to learn?
  • How much do I want to save?

The second thing we’re going to do today is flesh out our 1-year list (Feel free to do with your DB as well).

For example, let’s say I listed “Write & Query a book” as one of my 2011 goals. We all know there’s a ton more that goes into that:

  • Fast Draft the book
  • Clean to First Draft
  • Revise
  • Edit
  • Beta Reader
  • Revise
  • Edit
  • Write Synopsis
  • Rewrite Synopsis
  • Throw Synopsis away and eat a whole lotta chocolate
  • Write new Synopsis
  • Edit
  • Get reader for Synopsis
  • Send chocolate to reader
  • Research agents
  • Make top 100 list
  • Sort in order
  • Create draft emails for top 20 agents to query
  • Write query
  • Rewrite Query
  • Send to top 20 agents

And that’s the short version. Some people rewrite their book several times. Start thinking about your own process. I once wrote out a timeline of my process on a forum and saw what it would look like worse case scenario. It really helps for planning. You may not know what that looks like now. But, after keeping track of your goals for 2011, you will for 2012. And, if the only positive thing you get out of 2011 is the ability to gauge your own timeline and abilities for the future, it’s a win.

Of course, I’m expecting a lot more than that!

So, go flesh out your lists – feel free to add to them as well. And let’s see what #goaling leads to this week!

Goaling to Success – Day 3

14 Jan

Day 3 is a little harder for me to write because no one entered their accomplishments or barriers. I’m going to run this through with some standard answers.

Using you Dream Big and you Day 2 exercises as the basis, we’re going to start building your 1 Year Plan.

First, let’s look at last year.

How many books did you write — start to finish? That second part is very. If you finished a book in 2010, but you’ve been working on it for 3 years, that doesn’t show a pattern of finishing a book every year. It shows you *can* finish a book every 3 years. Can you finish a book in a year? Maybe. That’s why we also listed our barriers.

Barriers are things that can often be used as excuses. I had one writer tell me that next year she’d do better because this year she’d had to deal with her kids while they were home all summer and it totally threw off her writing.

But what’s going to be different about next year? Are the kids gone? Are the going to camp? If it’s not sleep away camp, who drives them there every day? Picks them up? Is it all day? How is it going to interrupt your time daily?

Or, I got sick twice last winter? Unless we’re talking some huge cold like you never get (I was just sick for 2 weeks, I *never* get sick like that), but I do get sick. Maybe a day or two. Oh, and yes, your kids and spouse will get sick this year too. If you’re the main caregiver, you will be expected to give care. Every year.

We need to stop being surprised by things that happen every year. We need to plan for them so we’re ready to conquer them. For example, keeping with the sick thing. It’s winter. It’s sick time. Do you have everything you need at the house for whoever gets sick next? Tissues? Dayquil? etc? Or are you going to have to run to the store, maybe one-by-one? Add them to the shopping list for this week and start prepping.

Do this with every foreseeable barrier. Don’t forget things like volunteering or making your Holiday Newsletter…. or anything that takes more time than you think it’s going to take. Those things every year you say “Oh, I can do this in….” and it takes longer. Don’t forget those 😉

Or, flipping this the other way, tragedies do happen. Loved ones pass away. That doesn’t mean that this year, if you suffered losing someone close to you in 2010, you will lose someone again. Jobs are lost, but, if you got a job again (congrats!) you hopefully won’t have to go through losing that one this year also. Look at the major things. The probably slowed you down the most and probably won’t happen again.

Looking at your barriers, separate them into ONE TIME and YEARLY or QUARTERLY. The One Time list is pretty much going to get tucked away. The Yearly/Quarterly lists are going to help you see how much time you really have.

Now, looking at what you accomplished last year – congrats!

Basically, you’ll be able to do more if you’re more prepared, more organized. But how much more? That’s the question.

Using last years list, we’re make a list of the things you think you can do this year.

Again,  I feel like I’m flying blind with no homework posted. Feel free to go back and post the homework 😉

Now’s the time to pull out your Dream Big.

Circle everything you know you can do if you just get more organized. Don’t worry. We’re not killing off those other dreams. We’re just not thinking about them this year.

Did you circle something like “Become a NYTBS author” – or something as big?

Well, you’re probably not going to BECOME one this year, but if you think about it, there’s a bunch of things that need to happen before that. Take your Dream Big and break down the things you circled into smaller goals: write the book, edit the book, revise the book, write the synopsis, write the query, research agents, query, write book 2 (because you never want to stop moving forward)

Which of those will you put on this years list? Don’t forget: Look at your accomplishments and barriers to judge your time available.

Post everything you want to do in 2011. Don’t worry, this isn’t a final draft. We’re going to talk about planning, balance and building SMART goals next week – then you’ll have 2011 taken care of! Okay, the big picture. After that we’ll talk about breaking that big picture down to little goals you can hit weekly. Then look out 5-year plan!

So, let’s see those lists! I’m off to work, check back tomorrow for comments from me.

Goaling Toward Success – Day 2

12 Jan

Welcome or Welcome Back!

Have you made your Dream Big list? If you did and didn’t share it, let me challenge you to go back and put it out there J

Moving on.

One of the reasons we start with the Dream Big exercise is because we’ve all been taught to dream so small. To dream about “what you can accomplish” or to “prioritize” or however it is you’ve been wording the way you limit your dreaming.  Don’t lose your Dream Big; we’ll be coming back to it.

How often have you seen a child who hasn’t been taught to limit himself exceed everyone’s expectations? That’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to start exceeding in 2011.

So, we’ve looked forward, now we’re going to look back.

Today we’re going to list everything you can think of that you did in 2010. Separate them into lists: Home, Work, Writing. Maybe for some of you they’ll be a few more lists. Maybe school or volunteering?

This list isn’t going to be easy. You did a lot more than you think you did. Look at your calendar, your to do lists (if you keep them), emails. Don’t forget, you may have ended up with ONE synopsis, but how many did you write?

Start that now.

Then, come back 😉

Okay, I’m assuming you followed the directions and you have at least the start of your 2010 Accomplishments listed. Now we’re going to do the other list.

What things happened in 2010 that slowed you down or stopped you or distracted you from getting more done? Put all those things on a list. If it helps, use the same categories as above. So, for writing, you may say “my agent/editor/CP told me the book was where it should be and added a few more revisions that took 3 weeks” Some others: I got sick … My kid/husband/parent got sick… My laptop died.

Anything that slowed/stopped/distracted you. 

We’ll talk about both lists on Friday!

Also, someone asked if we could have a hashtag on twitter. How does #goaling sound?

Goaling Toward Success – Day 1

10 Jan

So you want to create some goals – but not just any goals. You want to make them good. And long-term. But balanced. Not too much stress, but not a bunch of softballs. Right?

Not a problem.

Over the next couple posts I’m going to walk through how to write your goals for the year and expand them into weekly goals you can plan around as well as a five-year long-term plan you can aim for.

Please jump in and share your work as well as ask questions. This is going to be a safe environment and I will delete or edit attacky’ness. 😉

So, let’s get started!

First of all, welcome to 2011. Some of you might be thinking, “Hey! Didn’t 2011 start a few weeks ago? It’s too late to really dig into making goals for the year now, isn’t it?”

It’s never to late to plan to be successful. So, jump in and join us!

Also, for those who thought 2011 would kick off a new beginning and haven’t seen it yet: Think of this time like a diet detox. You’re still getting rid of 2010, shaking it off. Great things are coming.

This first day we’re going to do a little practice dreaming… Not just dreaming, but dreaming BIG.

Some people really struggle with this concept. If you play along in the comments, I may push you to dream *BIGGER* Don’t worry. It’s sometimes scary to ask for big things for yourself, to let yourself want anything beyond what you think you can have (or what you think you deserve) but this is practice.

If absolutely nothing could stop you (including yourself or your personal view of reality) and there were no limitations of time, money or ability, what would you want to do? What would you want to have or own? Where would you want to go? Who would you want to be?

Remember: This is dreaming. This is not goals or to-dos or I-shoulds. This is just dreaming as big and broadly as you can. If you post, I’ll be jumping in and out of the comments to encourage and maybe push you a little more.

So, if nothing *NOTHING* could stop your dreams from coming true, what would they be?

How To Deal – Success

30 Jun

This one is the hardest things to deal with in some ways – but not the way you think.

Anyone who had been in the writing world for more than 5 minutes has created relationship in this weird little writing world. If you aren’t careful, some of those relationships can get to be too much. Make some lines in the sand around you just like you would for non-writing relationships.

So, let’s jump forward. Let’s talk about success…. who doesn’t want to talk about success, right?


Yeah, me.

I’m really sick of talking about success – but, again, not the way you think.

In the last year, most of my writing friends I’ve been running with have gotten The Call. Some of these happened REALLY fast and some happened overnight…. If overnight means a decade. Some were typical debut little money but wow I’m excited deals. Some were a little more than that. One of my friends got the Cinderella deal – the OMG ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME LET’S PARTY FOR 5 YEARS TO CELEBRATE THIS DEAL deal.

There’s one constant in all of them – I could not have been more thrilled. Ever time someone I care about has something fabulous happen to them, it’s a little rush for me – exciting and sweet.

But that’s not the weird part. The weird part is OTHER people. Other People seem to expect jealously, anger and frustration. They seem to expect a divide by success. One person actually said to me, “How does it feel to be circling around in revisions while you watch all your friends succeed?”

My immediate response sounded a lot like an old record coming to a screeching halt. I’ll admit, I’ve been shocked and confused about that – about how people feel like success is a bell shape curve. Here’s how I see it:

  1. Love The One You’re With – Don’t forget, these are your friends. They were your friends before, they’ll be your friends after. That’s the bottom line on loving and supporting them
  2. Knowledge is Power – One of the best sides of watching my friends success is learning the ropes… not just what people tell you,  but really watching the events. If you aren’t paying attention to that, you’re missing a huge opportunity. 
  3. It takes a Village – Several of those books coming out I was lucky enough to get to crit or beta. I know my readers are invaluable to me…so, I’m going to claim this as a backstage win for me
  4. Enjoy! – seriously, success comes slowly and getting the opportunity to celebrate with your friends… well, that’s an opportunity you can’t miss. Plus, one day, they’ll be celebrating with you

But mostly, it comes down to this: If you’re jealous, if you’re angry, it’s time to take a good hard look in the mirror and ask yourself: Are you upset about your friend or are you upset up about you? If you’re not where they are, is there a reason –is that reason acceptable (and honest)? Or, should you be doing something different for yourself? Because, when it’s all on the table, you can only control you: Your writing, your time, your drive – So, if you’re struggling with those hard feelings, take them and go write write write because that’s really what it’s all about.