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Monday, January 3, 2011

Before You Write Your 2011 Goals

Birthdays and New Years used to see me writing long lists of things that were going to be different this year. My intended accomplishments would have cowed James Bond. I threw out last year's work as if it were a disposable razor and started fresh at the stroke of midnight.

As I got older, I stopped following a time table endorsed by calendar companies and Time Magazine. Instead, I used the holiday as a reminder to review my goals and make adjustments.

This year, it dawned on me that I couldn't very well adjust my path if I hadn't any idea of where I stood on the journey. Martha Stewart types don't have this problem. Erma Bombeck types do. I'm an Erma, though I can't imagine that that great lady was as disorganized as I am.

So my goal for the first week of January, 2011, is to take inventory.

What projects do I have and at what stage of progress are they? First drafts? Outlines? Do they need a simple grammar check before I send them out? Are they ready to submit but I'm hoarding them like the last Fannie May chocolate in the box?

What markets have I researched? Have I been successful with them in the past? Are they still in business?

Do I have a list of accepted stories and am I utilizing them by listing them on my web page? Have the rights expired so I can submit to markets that accept reprints?

I won't bore you with my household list which includes painting touch ups and reorganizing the bins in the garage. Mind numbing stuff.

Once this stage is complete, I plan to set shorter deadlines. There's nothing like finding a piece of writing that you've been playing with since before your first wrinkle to get you moving.

I also intend to write the START date of each project. At my age, "a couple of weeks ago" usually turns out to have been two years ago, and I'd like to get things off my plate before they develop mold.

We'll see how things stand in a week. I'll either be raring to go on my projects or I'll be curled up in a fetal position surrounded by caramel wrappers. I'm hoping for the former.

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