What I'm reading: Summer by the Sea, by Susan Wiigs.
What I'm writing: Chapter 20. Goals for the year.
After yesterday's workshop on Goal Setting by Roxanne St. Claire, I'm crawling around feeling like a total slacker. It's not that she's the self-proclaimed Goddess of Goals—I have no aspirations to outdo her for the title. Heck, I have no aspirations of even coming in tenth. But she did make us examine how we were fooling ourselves with broad, generic dream-goals.
A goal is an objective, which has to be broken down into quantifiable and measurable units. With time limits, too. These are not things like, "Make the NY Times Best Seller List." Goals are attainable via means under your control, not someone else's. So, although I do have a real goal at the top of my list—"write at least 500 'new' words a day", there are a whole lot more vague things I need to sit down and plan out.
And you have to write them down. According to Roxanne, in a notebook, where you can look at them and see if you've accomplished anything.
Rather than 'improve my craft' I have to decide HOW I'm going to attack that. Read more examples of good writing? How many books a month? What about craft books. How many of those? Submitting to agents? That needs to be broken down into bite-sized chunks, too. For example:
Research the agent listings on the web and find 15 agents who represent what I write.
Draft a query letter.
Specialize the letter for each agency.
Mail the first 5 query letters no later than (set a date)!
Make sure I have 5 active queries at all times.
Those are goals that can be achieved.