Monday, 1 June 2020

The Trials Of An Indie Author: Keeping Your Goals In Mind


THE TRIALS OF AN INDIE AUTHOR: KEEPING YOUR GOALS IN MIND

As you'll all probably be aware, I do a lot of goal setting. I have the bi-monthly goals on my authortube channel, I have a list of monthly goals on a private blog, and I have a planner that sets my goals for the month and on a week by week basis. I also do yearly goals, which I'll be reviewing soonish since we're coming up to the half year mark.

I set all these goals because I know that without them, I sometimes lose my way. I don't always know what I'm supposed to be doing and find myself doing little jobs here and there, but never enough to actually move forward. So goals work to both motivate me, but also to keep myself on track. One thing I started recently with my planner was getting a little smiley face sticker when I've done everything I'm supposed to that day. I like ticking things off and while it may seem odd that at thirty-eight, I find joy in a sticker meant for children, I know I'm not the only one.

Writing a book, revising, editing, publishing a book, these are all long term goals, and long term actions. You don't get it all done in a week, and pretending that you do is only going to set yourself up for failure. I'm a planner in that respect, and getting to look back and see how far I've come is a great way for me to motivate myself to keep going. That's why you have to celebrate the small stuff, even if it is a smiley face sticker in a planner.

Everyone works differently, but I don't know many people who don't set some kind of long term goals, whether that's monthly, quarterly or yearly and beyond, you need to know what you're aiming for, but you also need to know the steps it'll take to get you there. Writing a goal that you want to publish a book in a year and sell 100 copies is one thing, it's possible sure, if you're talking the indie route, but it's also a huge goal and unless you break things down into when you'll write, revise, edit etc, then you'll find yourself lost before you've even started, and no one wants to set themselves up for failure, right?

So that's why I wanted to talk about a few things to remember when it comes to setting those goals for yourself, and how to keep them in mind as you go through the week/month/quarter/year etc.

#1. START WITH THE SMALL THINGS

As I said above, breaking things down into smaller chunks allows you to focus on the exact thing you need to do. So like if that's revising, start with a set amount of chapters/pages/scenes you wanna revise in any given time. You know yourself best and while it can be tempting to set the goal so high that when you achieve it it's great, it's about making sure you can actually achieve it. For me, it's taken me literal years to know exactly what I can and can't do in a month. I know where my stretch is, but I also know if I do stretch, I have to cut back the next month, so if you know this already, great, if you don't, then start small and push those boundaries gently until you hit that spot.

#2. LEARN YOUR BOUNDARIES, SET YOUR ROUTINE

The key to getting anything done, for me at least, is knowing when I need to do it by. I'm not someone who works well with deadlines, but I also know that if I don't set one, it never gets done. Part of knowing my boundaries, is also knowing what my routine will allow me to do, and allow me to manage. It's no good writing down that I'll do all twenty chapters for the month in the last week, because that's never going to fit in with everything and I'd just be pushing myself to breaking point. You need to know where your time is going and part of that is knowing your routine.

Like for me, I know that if I get up when I wake up (which has been a lot earlier these days than it used to be) I'll have some quiet time when I could write a chapter. I also have a chunk of time in the afternoon, which is when I used to write, to do the same should I wish. But I know that writing two chapters every day for every writing day is gonna burn me out, so I don't do it often, and I make sure there's lots of rest days on the times I choose to do it.

And finally, #3. PLAN TO REWARD YOURSELF
It doesn't have to be something huge, like me with the smiley stickers, you have to be able to look at yourself and know you've done something huge. If that means that you treat yourself to something you've wanted, or you binge watch a Netflix show, or you do this or that, then that can be your reward. It doesn't have to be something that costs a ton, it can just be enough that you've treated yourself to something special because you stuck to your goals.

For me this'll be a good book after work, or my sticker, or if I do exceptionally well, I'll take an extra day off (because you should be having days off period) and catch up with a TV show I've not seen before. All of these are rewards and they help so much! It motivates you, it keeps you on track, and it's nice to look back and think of both what you managed, and what you got from it.

So any tips on goals? Or questions for me? Lemme know in the comments below!


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