I am horrible at following through on a goal once I’ve set one. And I know I’m not the only one.
I’ve already done a post about the things I’ve learned from my year of writing short stories. However, since I finished the project, I’ve learned something important about myself, especially as it is related to following through on goals.
I follow through when I have a deadline.
This is not to say that I don’t work at all without one, just that with one, I tend to work harder in order to reach it. The deadline gives me focus, a goal to aim for, and some disappointment with myself that I really don’t want to face if I miss it.
So, as one of my goals for this year is to start submitting my stories and novel to magazines and agents, I am giving myself a deadline. Here it is:
I will be submitting either my novel or a short story at least once a week.
There, now that it’s up on this blog, I have a bigger inclination to follow through, because now I have to come back here and report. It worked with the short story project, I’m confident that it will work here as well. I’ll report on Monday how I did this week.
I highly recommend giving yourself deadlines. NaNoWriMo does this very well, with a deadline of 50,000 by the end of 30 days. I did it with a 5,000 to 7,500 word story every week. Now I’m doing it again with one submission a week. Your deadline doesn’t have to be so ambitious. Maybe something as simple as “I will get 1,000 words written a week.” Something that you feel is completely achievable.
Here’s the secret to them, though. You need to find a way to make yourself accountable. I’m using this blog for that accountable. Maybe you can tell your spouse what your goal is, and you have to turn in your 1,000 words to them by the end of the week. It could be your writing group, some twitter friends, a blog like I am doing. Whatever will work for you.
So, if you find that you’re having trouble following through with goals once you’ve set them, try giving yourself a deadline with accountability. It works for me, maybe it will work for you.