Thursday, August 29, 2013

Back To School--Back to Writing!

From Cheryl's Writing Crate

It's here!  It's here!  Back-to-school has officially happened in our family.  Yesterday, August 28th, 6 of my 8 cherubs headed back to the classroom, some kicking and screaming (ok, not really!) but overall, they were ready to get back to some structure and routines once again.

This time of year has always been one of my favorites, and I promise not just because I've just had 10 weeks at home with 8 kids.  Fall is the season that resonates most with me--the change in the color of the sky from hazy to clear, the crisp snap in the air after months of humidity and heat, the tranquil stillness that surrounds me every afternoon as the late-summer crickets chirp in harmony and the squirrels scamper back and forth playing in the trees.  It's almost like an awakening for me and my senses which allows me to refocus and re-energize all that stirs deep in my heart and soul.

A big part of that re-energizing is now aimed at my writing goals.  Though summer is much more laid back in general, with my kids home 24/7, it's not as easy for me to stay on task with my major writing goals.  So now that that glorious yellow bus will be visiting my neighborhood for the next 10 months, I will conjure up new discipline to make some of my goals happen--my main goal of finishing my novel!

I'm a fairly organized person (you have to be raising 8 kids) but when it comes to my personal writing, I admit that I often lack discipline and structure.  Thankfully, I have come across many wonderful tools that have helped get me back on track.  One of my "go to" articles for setting effective writing goals is written by a freelance writer and author I follow often, Moira Allen.  

Setting Effective Writing Goals shares some smart, insightful and doable strategies for writers just starting out or who have been writing for years.  

You can read the entire article by clicking on the link above, but I will share below one of my favorite tips from Moira Allen's well-stated advice:

Meaningful. In writing, it's easy to be sidetracked by goals that appear worthwhile, but that don't lead in the direction you want to go. This can often be the result of competing goals. For example, you may dream of becoming a novelist, but face the very real need to put food on the table. Consequently, it's easy to postpone that novel (which won't earn you a dime until it's finished) for more immediately lucrative projects. In a situation like this, remember that competing goals don't have to be an either/or proposition: You could resolve this problem by devoting 25% of your writing time to your novel, and the other 75% to income-producing articles.

Another source of sidetracking is the pursuit of someone else's goals or recommendations for "success." Writing magazines are full of sure-fire secrets and formulas, but often fail to mention that these strategies don't work for everyone. For example, if you've set the goal of "getting up every morning to write before work," that may work fine -- unless you happen to be a natural night person, in which case you'll either hate those hours of writing, or hate yourself for being unable to achieve the goal you've set. Similarly, if you've been told that a good writer always keeps a journal, but yours bores you to tears, you may come to the mistaken conclusion that you aren't a "real" writer -- or simply waste a lot of time in a pursuit that has no real meaning for you. At the same time, be careful about passing up opportunities just because they don't seem immediately fulfilling. Taking a writing class, for example, may not seem exciting, but it could help you toward your long-term goals.

How do you set effective goals for your writing?  Does back-to-school inspire you as well?

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