Friday, January 4, 2013

Get S.M.A.R.T.

Week of January 1, 2013—A Brand New Beginning
Friday, January 4—Forget the Resolutions—Get S.M.A.R.T.

I am not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. I can’t ever seem to keep them. What
works for me are goals—well thought-out goals. I encourage you to set some goals
for your writing this year. Maybe you need a goal about the length of time to write
each day, joining a critique group, writing a certain amount each day, submitting
manuscripts, getting professional critiques, attending a conference, and so on.
What ever your writing goal, you need to be smart about it.

If you’ve worked anywhere in the last fifteen years, you’ve heard about S.M.A.R.T
goals. Let’s apply that knowledge to our writing.

T—Timely or Time-bound

SPECIFIC means your goal won’t be “Learn more about writing” or “Submit a
manuscript.” You must be specific. “Attend at least one SCBWI conference to learn
more about plot” is a specific goal. “Submit my picture book manuscript 50 Shades of
Pink to Editor So-So that I meant at Somewhere” is a specific goal. (Of course, you
have to make the name and place specific, too! LOL!)

I think of statistical information when I think of MEASURABLE goals.
Determining a specific amount of time you’ll write each day (as we discussed
yesterday) makes your goal measurable. Determining that you will attend a certain
number of conferences, draft a certain number of manuscripts, gather a certain
number of writing ideas, etc. all are measurable goals.

ACHIEVABLE insinuates that we are setting a goal, and not just dreaming a
dream. Achievable means the goal is something within our control, something we
can actually do. “Selling two manuscripts” is not in your control. “Submitting two
manuscripts” is within your control.

REALISTIC means just what you think it means. If your goal is to write ten hours
a day, seven days a week, that’s not realistic. If you plan to write a twelve-book
picture book series in a week, that’s not realistic. Being unrealistic with your goals
sets you up for failure. Make your goals realistic.

TIMELY OR TIME-BOUND means you are committing in your goal to do
something at a regular time or interval, or that you have an end-date in mind. “I will
attend the SCBWI LA conference in August” is a time-bound goal. “I will attend
critique group meetings the second Wednesday of each month from 6:30-8:30
p.m.” is another example of a time-bound goal. Time-bound goals deal with dates
and deadlines.

Now go on. Get busy. Set some writing goals for 2013. But make sure they are
S.M.A.R.T goals!

1 comment:

Jaimie Engle said...

Nice post, Bob. Thanks for sharing!! It's a good way to look at resolutions as goals instead of something vague like This year I'll... and it never happens.