HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
Did you set some good resolutions? That’s just a fancy word we use in January to mean goals.
I know, January is several months away in either direction, but goals shouldn’t be a once a year kind of thing.
Goals work best when they can be broken down into smaller pieces that can be checked off on a regular basis. Sure, I’d like to lose 50 pounds, but I’ll take that one pound drop as a victory for now. I would love to write a whole novel, but today I’ll just get this chapter done. Cleaning the house is too big to think about, so I’ll just focus on a load of laundry, vacuum the living room, dust the bookshelves, etc.
Breaking them down gives you the feeling of progress. It’s a true feeling, so don’t dismiss it. You are progressing. But if your New Year’s Resolution was to become a published author this year, you might have to wait until December to check it off your list. If however, you took that goal and broke it out, you’ll have already finished your first draft, sent the book to the beta readers, wrote a short story, practice that description technique your writing partner told you about in February, and started figuring out how to make a book cover. You still haven’t published yet, but you’ve done a heck of a lot of stuff.
Breaking things into smaller pieces makes it easier to get them done. There’s not the OMG it’s a mountain response. Yes, it’s a mountain. A big huge mountain that has a prize at the top. But if you can’t get off the ground because “OMG it’s a mountain” you’ll never get to the prize. Actually, mountain climbers wouldn’t get very far if they didn’t take that mountain and break it up into pieces. “So we’ll go up this way and camp here on night one. Then get to this ridge by night two, then we’ll be on the glacier for night three, get up early and make it to the peak on the fourth day.”
It’s the same with a novel, or anything worth doing. It’s a novel. That’s like 100,000 words. It’s a whole novel with a plot and sub plots and I have to remember my grammar and what did the characters do last chapter and how are they going to get to the happily ever after and… You see where this is going right? So you start with an outline, or character sketch. You write the first chapter, then the second. When you’re done you go back and makes sure the characters are doing the things that get them where they are going. You fill in the plot holes your beta readers pointed out and fix the grammar and spelling. Before you know it, you have a whole novel, ready and waiting for readers.
So, how are your goals?