It’s that time again. Time to face the music, the facts, the drill sergeant — whatever. My monthly examination of my goals and how well I met them continues. If you have any interest in how I’ve been doing – or perhaps are looking for some ideas for your own organization, goal-setting and evaluation, feel free to check January, February, March, April, May, June , July and August.
August 5 to September 5 was a busy time for me – good busy for the most part. My goals for this time period posted last month were:
1. Novel – Get list of 10 agents set to query asap. Follow-up with editor when response received. (Calendar reread of 2nd novel post-Sicily — too much reading to do for Sicily.)
How did I do? My agent list is not done. I followed up to an agent suggested by the editor mentioned above and am crossing my fingers, sending good thoughts to the universe and hoping very much to hear that this agent will want to represent me. My full manuscript is now sitting on her e-reader in NYC.
2. Submissions – Schedule three submit-it afternoons. Plan carry-in dinners as rewards for getting ‘em done.
Great idea. Did not check in with my goals much though, so no carry-in dinner rewards were planned. I did, however, get some submitting done. I had an essay accepted for an audio recording on our local NPR station – if you missed it, see here. I also revised the piece I had workshopped at Aspen Summer Words and submitted that to a contest. I’ve been revising another essay and a short story.
3. Encouraging other writers – Schedule blog calendar for this month, plan and follow!
Well, I didn’t use a blog calendar – for some reason, I’m still resisting that very reasonable idea. I did manage to get four posts up here this past month and two up at The Lyon Review. So, not outstanding, but plenty for the summer. I did proof a writer friend’s book, which was a joy for me. I’ve also had a few facebook chats with writer friends, answering questions, etc. I’m so grateful if/when I can help.
4. Ongoing education – Order Stafford books from last month’s goals. Reading and prepping for Sicily.
Um, still didn’t order the Stafford books. Have been enjoying reading On Persephone’s Island: A Sicilian Journal by Mary Taylor Simeti, which was recommended to writers attending the BreadLoaf in Sicily conference soon. Also, have been reading wonderful short stories that we will be workshopping there.
So, self-evaluation for Aug. 5-Sept. 5? In general, I’m pleased with my progress. I didn’t meet every goal, but I don’t feel that I wasted any time or opportunities. I’m okay with a B-. Once upon a time, I was a teacher-pleaser girl who couldn’t stand the thought of anything less than an A. Ugh. Kind of wish I could shake that girl now and say, relax, you’re going to be fine.
As I think about Sept. 5 – Oct. 5, I have to keep in mind a few things — a minor surgical procedure that’s likely to put me out of commission for a couple days; the Bread Loaf in Sicily conference !!!!!; a short trip to New England to see family and hike in New Hampshire. I am not a rigid calendar keeper, but this is a month where if I don’t make a plan and stick with it, I could find myself checking in around October 5th (more likely after the 9th due to travels, but we’ll see) being very disappointed with myself and giving myself a big fat F. I am not a fan of Fs. Do not like them. At all. But, the photo below shows where I will be and I want to completely BE there, not fretting the tiniest bit about my grades. :
Goals for September 5 – October 5
1. Novel – Let it rest. Will be waiting to hear news from agent — if it’s a no, the new submissions can begin in October. If it’s a yes, new revising will begin, I imagine (after I stop happy dancing). Will be workshopping a chapter from the book in Sicily that I’m reframing as a stand-alone short story.
2. Submissions – Will aim for getting three more done, but that will only happen if I get that done in the next week (note to self – remember that a calendar can be your friend).
3. Encouraging Other Writers – I will settle for four blog posts between now and October 5 if that’s all I can manage. I will try to continue being responsive to questions I get. And, in exciting news, I will be leading a roundtable group at my beloved RedBird-RedOak Writing in Milwaukee. The group begins next week. I have found those roundtables so encouraging and so important to my growth as a writer. It thrills me that maybe I can help others there too.
4. Ongoing Education - Be open to whatever awaits me in Sicily — I’m often surprised by the take-away moments from writer conferences. I have been using a learn Italian app on my IPad and will continue doing that every night until I leave – ongoing education doesn’t only have to apply to writing, right? And, here, so I won’t forget, I will remind myself to look into those Stafford books in October.
So, there you have it – my goals until now, my progress and lack-thereof where that applies, and my new goals for the next month. Hope this is informative and perhaps helpful. Happy #writing and #goalsetting one and all. Would really love to hear of any methods you’re using and/or if this monthly check-in idea appeals to you — I have heard from some writers who are now using it. And, you?