It’s almost March which is, of course, when we all discuss our New Year’s Resolutions and goals right? RIGHT? No? Oh ok. Seriously though, I think it’s a good time to talk about this since the majority of people have already thrown their New Year’s Resolutions by the wayside. It seems in recent years that people get up in arms about whether you should call them resolutions or goals and if they even work. I am of the opinion that should do whatever the heck works for you and tell everyone to kindly shut their traps.
In my day job, I work on speech goals for my clients. They look something like this: Client will make a grammatically correct present progressive sentence in 8 out of 10 trials. My cousin, who is an Occupational Therapist (different therapy, similar goal structure!), said she started setting her personal goals this way. I love this idea!! We tend to expect ourselves to go from 0 to 100 in no time at all and set ourselves up for failure because of this. It’s important to set realistic goals and to allow that we might have a goal we are working toward but are unable to meet at first. When I am working on a speech goal with a client, it is something we want to reach by the end of a quarter. That means we have months to get to that level of success. I think it’s important that we meet ourselves where we’re at and work on improving in a way that makes sense.
What does any of this have to do with writing? I’m so glad you asked! I’m a huge advocate of setting goals in regards to writing. I set goals for myself every month, every week, and every day. These goals vary based on what I’m working on. My writing goals tend to fluctuate the most based on the stage I’m in and how much I’m able to accomplish with the time I have available. I’ve recently started giving myself days off so that my goals include writing X number of words every day for 5 days in a week. Maybe 6 if I’m really wanting to get through something. I know that Friday is my earliest work day (which should be illegal if you ask me!!!) so I don’t write on Fridays. I might work on my reading goal if I have extra time in the morning. Let’s be honest though, by Friday it’s doubtful that I manage to get myself up and ready any sooner than when I absolutely have to be. Since I started giving myself permission to take this day off, I’m doing better at meeting my goals. I don’t feel defeated or guilty because I took a day off. I don’t feel like I “cheated” or feel weird on Saturday when I dive back in. I did this during NaNoWriMo as well and still met my goal! I’d venture to say that I met it partially because of this goal structure.
On top of my writing goals, I always have a reading goal. My reading goal is usually based on non-fiction books geared toward storytelling. I read fiction like it’s my lifeline so my focus there is in broadening the scope of what I read.
This year, I’ve set a few reading goals for myself. The one that is directly geared toward writing is that I will read one book about writing/storytelling each month. I’ve also decided to start a YouTube channel where I discuss those books. The first two will be up by the end of March!
My second goal is to read some of the tomes I have lying around that I avoid because they’re just so time-consuming. I’m currently working my way through Hamilton by Ron Chernow. I read the first 100 pages or so a couple of years ago but my memory is so poor I had to start over from scratch.
My last goal is to read one translated work each month. I joined a book club at my local bookstore that focuses on this and I love it so much. The size of the club is pretty small. We have good discussions and we read books that I had previously never heard of. It’s pretty fantastic!!
I know it’s almost March but I really think anytime is a good time to set a new goal or recommit to an old one. What are your reading/writing goals for the year?