Tag Archives: setting goals for writers

“Magic is believing in yourself…”

“Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe ~ 1749-1832, Poet, Novelist and Philosopher


When a process doesn’t work, you need to break it down and see where the fault line lies. I’ve been struggling with the “Commit to 3” practice. No kidding, right? I’m sure you can tell from my sporadic Monday postings.

So, let’s break it down: Am I  procrastinating because I just dread the things on my to-do list? Maybe a little, but some tasks are fun, like writing a new fight scene for my YA novel.  Maybe this is just another trait of being an ACOA – resisting authority – even if it’s by my own authority. That is very possible. {More on ACOA traits later; because it is a central theme in my novel.} Maybe these to-do’s aren’t very important on a daily or weekly basis and other, more pressing tasks take priority. Bingo!

I wasn’t scheduling to-do’s based on my overall goals. So, what are my overall goals?

With the help of my new Personal Trainer, Dani (check her out – she’s AWESOME!!), I discovered that I needed to write down my PRIORITIES for life, first. Or else fall into the chaos of mile long to-do lists with no real purpose.

Wanna do this together? Let’s go!

Step One: List your Top 5 Priorities for your LIFE . For example, look at each life category and list who/what is truly important to you and your happiness/fulfillment. Really give this some thought:



Personal Health in Body & Mind





Step Two: write down specific visions for your selected categories, what the ideal looks like to you. Use details. See my examples, below. (You may have several in one category and none in others, that’s fine – these are your priorities! )

Side Note: Don’t feel guilty if your list is heavy in the “you” category. Remember, when you are happy and well-balanced, you bring rewards to all areas and people in your life. I know that by reaching and maintaining a healthy weight will give me the energy and confidence I need to go after those other goals!

After several drafts, here is my final version:

My Top 5 Priorities for Life

  1. Reach and maintain a healthy size 4, with toned definition all-over.
  2. Have a home that is simplified and uncluttered, which will inspire creativity and be a safe haven for my family.
  3. Earn my full-time income and benefits through writing books, teaching workshops, speaking at events and having multiple streams of income (on-line platform? Rental space?)
  4. Have inner peace and balance, living in the present so I can be a supportive wife and mom.
  5. Financially secure with a healthy retirement savings and college funds for both boys, at the same time able to vacation four times/year.

What are yours? Share them here!!

Tomorrow, we’ll look at setting your Top 10 Goals, and how to make sure they align with your Top Priorities.


Too much to see and do in Bloggy-land? Then SUBSCRIBE! Let these posts come to you while you stay in the safety of your inbox 😉


Filed under Advice, Believe, Commit to 3, goals, Organization, procrastination, writers

Help for Hump Day!

Inspiring writers is what I do, but sometimes I need a little inspiration myself. Thankfully, I read this amazing post and Writing Workout on Teaching Authors, where April Halprin Wayland helped me to find focus by creating shorter weekly goals followed by a mini-reward.

I know you guys overwhelm yourself with to-do’s, just like I do! So, in (trying to) keep in line with my Year of Happiness, I’m going to commit to 3 things every week. Little, easy, but satisfying-when-completed things.

I’m officially making this a weekly series on Writers Inspired called “Commit to 3.” Because we all need a little motivation and ACCOUNTABILITY, right? (We’ll check-in on Mondays, going forward)

It works like this:

1) Grab a buddy from your writing tribe. (We can be your writing tribe!)
2) Both of you write three commitments for the coming week. Don’t set yourself up to fail. Don’t commit to writing a novel in a week. Start out easy and see what you can realistically accomplish in seven days.
3) Set a deadline.
4) Select a “salary” you will pay yourself. The important thing is to pay yourself every week whether you’ve completed all three commitments or not. Don’t business execs get paid even when they’ve had an unproductive week? It happens. This is not about whipping yourself. This is encouraging yourself. Put the whip away and take the paycheck.
5) Read your commitments to each other.
4) Check in with each other at the end of the week.

For example: I commit to meditating 20 minutes once a week, writing for three hours this week, and being in bed by 10 pm at least two days of the week. My due date is Thursday at 8 pm. On Friday, I will pay myself seven dollars worth of flowers for my garden. Now it’s your turn:

My Commitment to Me
I commit to:

My due date is:
My salary is:
Don’t forget to call your writing buddy at the end of the week to check in!

Who’s with me?

My Commitment to Me (Mary Jo)
I commit to:
1.__Design Sam’s Storybook and put in all orders from class

2.__Write 2,000 more words for my 2010 NaNo (while the characters & plot are fresh in my mind

3.__Print all chapters of my NaNo 2010 novel, put in binder

My due date is:
_Sat., 1/22_____
My salary is:
_manicure @ Lily Nails________


Because I’m a super freak about lists and corralling everything that swims through my mind, I did make a BIG list of everything I feel needs to get done this month. (Doesn’t leave me a lot of time, I know.) But, it makes me feel better that it is all written down and won’t disappear into my madness. I’m still only focused on 3 for this week. Feel free to do the same.

To inspire you, here are some other Commitments from my fellow writing tribe:


1. finish first draft of press release
2. Work out once this week
3. Lights out by 10pm at least one night this week (boy, do I need the incentive for this)

Due date: Saturday, 1-22
Salary: a pint of carrot juice (no laughing!)

Liz > >

I commit to:

1. Read / review 3 chapters of my NaNo Novel
2. Finalize and submit article for RPPs
3. Post on blog once

My due date is:
Sunday, January 23
My salary is: Bath bombs (3)

1. Complete Goodies article
2. Draft DIY article
3. Volunteer at daughter’s school

Due: Friday, January 21
Salary: Schedule appointment for massage (I have a gift certificate).

 Joanna –
This week:
1. Draft all newsletter items by end of Wednesday so the directors can proof and edit if necessary.
2. Start travel piece for regional mag. 
3. Contact source for (removed for privacy) article.
4. Post on blog by end of today.

Okay, that’s 4 goals, but they actually need to happen.

Deadline: Friday, Jan. 21
Salary: movie night for myself even it’s only Netflix.

Stephanie’s goals:

1. Get up 4 mornings before kids and write morning pages.
2. Complete first draft of new essay
3. Exercise every day.

Due date: Sunday 1-23-11
Payment: a trip to Village Books with my little $9 credit.

Copy and paste your “Commit to 3” in the comments. Let’s keep each other accountable – but realistic. And don’t forget to Pay YOURSELF!

1 Comment

Filed under goals, Inspiration

Feeling lucky? Well, are ya, punk? (courtesy of ‘Dirty Harry’)

“One half of life is luck; the other half is discipline – and that’s the important half, for without discipline you wouldn’t know what to do with luck.” Carl Zuckmeyer 1896-1977, Writer and Playwright

Interesting concept. How many times have you said “if only…?”

OK. Say you got your wish, your bit of luck. POOF! Now what? Are you ready? Is your discipline in place to take full advantage of this windfall?

If the rainbow’s end landed in my palm, my “luck” that would look like this:

My husband’s new painting and trim business reaches the  level of success which would replace my full-time income, allowing me to write and teach full-time.

>insert angels singing here<

But, my discipline has not yet reached the level it needs to be for my writing and teaching to take off at a  full-time pace. Hope Clark wrote an informative article in her newsletter on how to know when to quit your day job.  Also, tomorrow on the  Hell or High Water blog Bonnie Hearn Hill offers “Five Tips for Finding Time to Write When You Have a Full Time Job.”

So, what does “luck” look like for you, and are you ready to receive it?


Filed under Advice, Believe, goals, Inspiration, Perseverance, teaching, writers

I’m sending you on a blog trip

To Laura Cross’s blog True Story Ink.com. You can find the best example I’ve seen on how to write and plan and tackle your writing goals!

Then, come back here and participate in my mini magazine giveaway contest. (See post below!)

And, be sure to also come back for Laura Cross’s guest post here on Feb. 10 for an AMAZING giveaway…can’t tell you yet!


Filed under Advice, contests, goals