It's back-to-school time. For many of us, regardless of whether we have kids or are going to school ourselves, this means we're both recovering from summertime and tuning into the back-to-school fall energy. Which is usually highly motivating and exciting.
It also means we've hit that moment where the end of the year is in sight.
If you take the time to think about it, this is the ideal come-to-Jesus moment for meeting your writing goals for 2017 -- far better now than to try to pull out all the stops on December 15th. Maybe you didn't get as much writing done this summer (or year so far) as you'd intended. Maybe you did. If you're on track, more power to you! If not, this is a great time to adjust your course.
Goal setting at the beginning of the year is often a magical, inspired effort. And by magical, I mean, magical thinking. Somehow, in the thick of the holidays and year's end, it seems as if the year ahead will not be filled with... anything! We'll miraculously have oodles of time. We declare that we'll finally focus and achieve things we haven't achieved before. And then January happens. Then February. And March. And suddenly it's end of summer and we feel like we have whiplash looking back trying to figure out where the time has gone.
I know I was unexpectedly affected by illnesses for much of the winter and spring, various challenges with my parents' health, as well as all of the political happenings. I didn't have space built into my writing plans for any of those things. I haven't stopped writing, but I certainly haven't been as efficient as I'd intended. I'm okay with that. Life happens. But I also still want to make a solid stab at reaching my goals for 2017.
My Deep Dive writing intensive is a big part of this plan for me. I'm looking forward to making a big boost of progress on the sci-fi script I'm working on to help me jump start a broader push through the end of the year. I'm also looking ahead, knowing the holidays are coming, along with my birthday, and my older son's birthday (10!), plus flu and cold season, so I'm aiming to take action while the energy is here.
Here's where I'm starting the process. I'm writing this "(You Can Still!) Meet Your 2017 Writing Goals" series to help all of us bring awareness to the fact that the year end is a heck of a lot closer than we think. (There are 80 working days between today and the end of the year, and that doesn't factor in winter break vacations for those of us with kids.)
Today, we'll talk about Clearing the Decks to help you meet your writing goals.
Part I: Clear the Decks for Your Writing
Clearing the decks for writing is a fascinating topic because it can be such a slippery slope -- I don't want anyone to decide they have to KonMari* their entire home before they can write -- so it's worth being mindful about how you approach this.
At the same time, when I'm looking at doing a two week stint of intensely focused writing, I know I'm going to have to make some extra space in my life to accommodate that. So I want to look to see, are there places in my life I can streamline, clean up, delegate, and clear out to make more room for my writing (and for me!)?
This is also a great time review any schedule creep that's occurred -- in other words, have I taken on any extra commitments that I perhaps should postpone or eliminate? Have I back-slid on scheduling my writing time or my resolve to meet it?
I recently led a free teleclass to go over all this in detail. (It was be recorded so you can still listen to the recording.) If you'd like to listen, click here to join my mailing list and get the recording details.
Here's a preview of some of what we'll be talking about -- I'll be sharing tips about each of these as well:
- Logistically: What adjustments do you need to make to your schedule to make space for your writing? What events, guests, responsibilities, and commitments do you have coming up that you'll either want to reschedule or decide how to accommodate around your writing?
- Physically: What do you need to do to make your physical space more conducive to writing, if anything? Is there clutter? Are there distractions in your line of sight? How can you take great care of your physical needs with healthy food, snacks, beverages, sleep, and exercise?
- Mentally: How will you reward yourself for writing? Are there any open loops you need to close or resolve so you can focus? How will you handle new writing ideas that may come up during your writing time? How will you handle negative self-thoughts if they come up?
- Emotionally: How will you handle emotional challenges that may arise around your writing? How will you handle non-writing emotional challenges? What support systems can you put in place?
- Digitally: How can you minimize or eliminate digital distractions so you can focus on your writing?
- Financially: What bill paying and other financial tasks can you handle now or automate so you can prioritize your writing?
- Relationally: How can you guide your family, partners, friends, and colleagues to respect your writing time?
- Spiritually: How can you spiritually prepare to make the most of your writing time? What intentions and positive visions are you holding for yourself as you write?
And check out Part II, here: Reverse Engineer and Revise Your Goals, Part III, here: Boost Your Writing Progress (Or, How to Design a Writing Intensive), and Part IV, here: Setting Yourself Up For Success.
Make Massive Progress on Your Book (or Script!)
The upcoming two-week Deep Dive Writing Intensive starts on Wednesday, September 20th and the last day to join us is Tuesday, September 19th. Join us and get tons of support and accountability to make deep progress on your book or script. Find out more and register here.
* The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
Photo by Ales Krivec on Unsplash