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Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Process Of Goal Setting In Writing

What I am going to talk about today is not my idea, and I cannot remember the link to the blog where I encountered it. If anyone reading this knows the link to the blog with the original idea, please let me know so I can credit them. The basic premise was that we can do a better job of setting goals – writing or otherwise – by asking ourselves something referred to as “small questions”.

Essentially, when we start asking ourselves questions we are setting up a “mindmap” for the article, book or project that we are working on. We are attempting to see clearly what is important from our personal point of view, and how that will progress in our project. For me, this method is much easier than just setting down goals, and trying to keep them in perspective, and in a “doable” order.

I see more success when doing this, I think, because I am not focused on each goal per se, but on the bigger picture – what I want to accomplish, and how I want to accomplish it. As I was reading the article that I mentioned above, I realized that this is something that I already do, but that it is in the background of setting up a plan for my projects. Now that I am conscious of this I will move it into the foreground – give it more importance.

What kind of questions do we want to ask ourselves? It depends on the project(s) we are working on. I am almost always working on multiple projects, of varying importance, with varying deadlines. Here I might ask myself the following questions:

1. What projects do I have on board at this moment?

2. Where am I on each project?

3. What are the deadlines for each project?

4. What is the next step for each project?

5. What does my total schedule look like? Where am I going to be able to fit writing time in?

6. Am I getting burned out on one or more projects? If so, what can I do to bring that project back into alignment with my total life, and put some fun back into it?

7. Is it time to ask for help on a project? Is it time to let a project go?

In asking questions about a specific writing project, I might ask myself the following questions:

1. How do I feel about what I have written to date?

2. Will what I have written so far stand on its own legs, or do I need to do some rewriting?

3. Is the storyline hanging together?

4. Are my characters portrayed in a manner that defines each of them clearly?

5. Are my characters interacting in a consistent manner?

6. Am I allowing my characters to evolve?

7. Where do I want the story to go?

8. Where do my characters want the story to go?

9. Is there enough tension in the storyline?

10. How can I best move the storyline forward?

These are small questions that will allow me to move my projects forward in a manner that is consistent, cohesive, and will draw and keep the attention of my readers. Your projects will differ, your questions will differ. Make use of the process, and the questions will begin to flow naturally, as will you projects!

© May 2011 Bonnie Cehovet

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