Category Archives: goals

Distractions

distractions

It seems that my blog rolls in a cycle I talk about goals, targets, what my plans are and how I’m going to achieve them. The next week I’m back making excuses, explaining why nothing came to fruition, accepting failure and doing better the next time. (I swear this time I’ve got a really good one).

Well this month I’m going to talk about distractions, things that keep us from writing. As I see it distractions fall into two categories; Important and Unimportant. Things like spending the time you should be writing trawling through Facebook or watching Netflix are Unimportant distractions. Things like attending work, completing study/school and spending time with family are Important distractions.

My productivity has slowed to a crawl due to an important distraction. My daughter was born at the end of January and has been greedily consuming the time I usually spend writing but that is alright she’s adorable and a distraction I am happy to have.img_1721

The problem with distractions is that not all of them fall into such a clear cut basket of Unimportant or Important or to complicate things even further an Unimportant distraction might be useful or productive while an Important distraction might be counterproductive.

My daughter as important as she is, is a counterproductive distraction. Whilst I’m spending time with her nothing is happening with my writing. Work is a little bit of an in-between it is definitely important, you might argue that that time spent working is counterproductive as you are working rather than writing or you might argue that it’s productive as your generating money you can use to hire editors, cover artists if you are going down the self-publishing route or simply keep the electricity on so your computer with all those hard written/type words stored in its gizzards is a functional device rather than an ornate door stop (I’m not writing this story by hand and while a typewriter is cool I neither have the proficiency or patience to avoid or correct my mistakes). Study/School in my opinion is not only an important distraction but probably a productive one too, no matter what you are learning this is additional information that you can pump into your writing. For instance I’m studying commerce and this inspired a short story about price fixing and alternate markets. Explained like this its dry and boring but the scene was written as four parties around a bargaining table trading veiled threats and offers and I got decent feedback about it.

Unimportant distractions can sit in even more of a grey area. Sure trawling through Facebook or power watching an entire season of a show on Netflix could probably be classed as an Unimportant distraction but occasionally it might be productive. A few of my characters have been inspired by friends or acquaintances and TV, movies and pop-culture probably inspire a few too many of my stories.

Then we have things like word-building, side-stories, and research which might start off being important but when overdone can become unimportant whilst still being productive and if taken to the extremes might even end up being unproductive. Trying to work out where to devote my time is frustrating. So many things to do Important things, Unimportant things, Productive things, Counterproductive things that need to get done how do I choose?

The answer is simple. Do whatever you need to. If you feel you need to run up and down the street screaming at the top of your lungs do it. Definitely do the important things. Feel free to spend time doing the Unimportant things. If you can, try and turn them into productive exercises, but remember it is fine to be unproductive too. The only thing you absolutely have to do if you want to be a writer is write just try and remember that it is okay to do other things too.

I’m not even going to bother to update my progress for my yearly goals. I got nothing (very little) done. The year is off to a great start and that’s fine I’ve got other things to do but I will write. I promise. I will find the time. I’ll do it today.

Thanks for reading

And now for the dog

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2017 Goals

what are your goals?

I’ve spent the past few posts ranting, writing and raving about goals, failures and being realistic with your targets. It just so happens that I had possibly chosen a fortuitous time to be discussing such a thing. The stars are in alignment or just possibly the dates, anyhoo. One thing that happens every time a New Year eve rolls around is that people make huge possibly unrealistic promises to themselves about what they are going to accomplish with in the New Year.

We reset in January and say this year is going to be better, I’m going to do so much and I’m going to accomplish this. I had a number for my list this year, lose weight and drink less, the usual stuff. I’ve already failed the second of those.

I did have one other possibly unrealistic resolution to add to that list. Finish my Novel. At least finish the draft. Considering the progress I’ve made this would seem like an effort in futility. And it might be but it gives me something to strive for.

Edwin Locke in the 1960’s proposed the Goal Setting Theory of Motivation (And I think we could always use more motivation) which is a complex and tedious way of saying, goals indicate and give direction about what needs to be done and how much effort is required to be put in.

Goals need to be specific and clear (Finish my novel, I don’t think I can get clearer than that), realistic and challenging (Not entirely sure about realistic but it will definitely be challenging). The individual (in this case me) must display Self-efficiency (I need to believe that I can do this) and Goal Commitment (I need to want to do this).

So I tick all the boxes (mostly) Alright I’ve got a yearly goal. Now I need to break that down into manageable portions. Months, Weeks and Days. Smaller goals are easier to achieve and make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside after I’ve beaten them (Preferably with a large stick).

 

Year (I’m throwing in a few more minor goals too).

  1. Finish Novel (0/1) (I think about 24 Chapter will get me to the end)
  1. Finish Novella (0/1) (Probably about 15,000 words left)
  1. Write 3 short stories (0/3) (2,000 – 5,000 words each)
  1. My reading has slowed right down so, Read at least 24 Books in the year (0/24)
  1. Provide feedback to other authors that I have a critique exchange going with (I’ve been very slack)

 

So now I’ll break these down into what I consider to be manageable chunks and set monthly, weekly and daily goals. Small is always easier and It will also let me track how I’m progressing and when I need to put in a little (or a lot) more effort.

 

Month

  1. Write 2 Chapters a Month (0/2)
  1. Read 2 Books (0/2)
  1. Review 4 Chapters (0/4)

 

Week

  1. Write minimum 3,000 words per week (I’m estimating 156,000 words should get all my projects complete) (0/3000)
  1. Read ½ Book
  1. 1 Chapter Review (0/1)

 

Days (Some things are a little harder to break down into days so only one thing)

  1. Write 600 word s per day (this unfortunately doesn’t count) (0/600)

 

 

I think this is a big ask but I’ll at least be able to track how I’m going. Not well on the daily word count I can tell you that, but now that I’ve set my goal nothing is going to stop me.  (I’ll be writing a retraction momentarily). Anyway I would love to hear about everyone’s writing goals. Are your unrealistic? Are they manageable?

My dogs goal for 2017 seems to be sleep on the bed as much as possible

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What do you mean  your spot?

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