Another year is about to come to an end like a toilet roll. Before we curse the fool who didn’t micro-manage their use of the toilet paper and replace it for you, we take a moment to pause and think about the year that was, which is currently floating in the bowl beneath our bum.
Two years ago I wrote about the beginning of my writing journey and the need to plan not for lists, but for goals.
At the beginning of this year I wrote down three words to help me focus on my goals: Disciplined, Dedication, Purposeful.
A quick reflection shows I haven’t met my goals, nor have I utilised the power of the three words I choose to help keep me on track.
I haven’t finished a number of projects I had on my goal list: I didn’t submit any short stories for publication; I haven’t finished editing my collaborative novel (there are 40 pages of edits to complete); I haven’t finished a multimedia short story; I haven’t finished my novella even though I set out to write a minimum of 100 words a day, five days a week (that came to a grinding halt at the 5K mark).
Which means what, exactly? Nothing really. The world didn’t end. My pen didn’t run out of ink and I judicially used the end of the roll of toilet paper.
There is always a story behind why something did or didn’t happen. My story is simple: my job (I am a high school English teacher) demanded a lot of my time this year, especially at certain points; I was mentally and emotionally exhausted by the end of the year. I was ill-disciplined and mastered the art of procrastination at times. I didn’t focus on my goals and set specific time frames to achieve things. I aimed to achieve too much in the year. I compared myself to others who were writing copiously and submitting regularly or churning out huge words counts in short, concentrated bursts.
Stuff happened. It just does. That’s how the toilet roll comes to an end.
Everyone has their own reasons for why they didn’t get something done.
But what have I done? I wrote.
I finished my collaborative novel and we began the editing process. I began writing my novella. I dragged out the file of my multimedia short story. I wrote a month of Post It Note Poetry. I wrote a series, and continue to write, Post It Note Philosophy on creativity. I wrote the occasional poem. I blogged about creativity. I wrote a series of twitfic to keep me writing when I couldn’t commit to long periods of concentrated time to write. I used what time I had to think about projects, make notes, scribble sentences.
The end of each year provides a moment to reflect, reevaluate and redefine what we want to achieve in the following year. I am trying to build momentum in my writing career.
Here’s what I will be doing:
- I will find three new words for 2014.
- I will establish my project goals for the year.
- I will set up time lines for my projects.
- I will allow life to happen.
- I will continue to write (in whatever form it may be)
What do you do about it?
- Tick off the things you have done (always look for the positives)
- Rewrite your goals/project list (and be reasonable about what you can achieve)
- Specify when and how you are going to go about completing your goals/projects
- Give yourself permission to stop when you need to and give yourself a date when you will restart.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to see a man about changing a toilet roll.