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New Year, New Concrete Goals

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Image by Лариса Мозговая from Pixabay

For me, the school year is much more significant than the calendar year. It has to do with a lot of things, including having kids and being out-of-commission writing-wise throughout school holidays, but also the fact we don't celebrate Christmas and New Year isn't such a big deal for us, and possibly being in school for such a long time (12 years regular school + 10 in university).

So, I've decided to spend some time thinking about the projects I'm taking on this school year, the goals I want to set for myself, and then break it up to terms and then months.

The most fundamental "trick" of goals-setting is to set SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. The idea is that this way, you can keep track of where you are, what you still need to do, and how well you're doing. Another essential idea is to reward yourself for each goal you achieve, to motivate yourself (celebrate your success, so to speak). I've tried to take all that into account when I set my goals for the year/term/month. As always, I'll update in all honesty.

Year Goals

By July 2020, I want to:

1. Find an agent and/or editor, have a finished book that we can send to publishers, and start the publishing process.

2. Enter at least one short-stories competition (we're doing a challenge at the writing group).

3. Read at least five books deeply (i.e., having discussions about them, reading around them, etc.). At least one non-fiction.

4. Perform at an open mic and release the album I've been working on. Be able to improvise freely.

5. Develop a habit of cardio activity (swimming/bike) for half an hour three times a week.

6. Finish and submit the last academic paper.

These goals are additions to what I already do, such as meditating and practising yoga every day, working on my languages (I'm currently studying Arabic and Spanish), getting my kids on time to their various activities, and so on.

Autumn Term Goals

Autumn term started last week and ends December 18, when we fly to Israel for my dad's memorial. So, I have three more weeks in September, then four weeks in October (not counting half-term), four weeks in November, and about two weeks in December. That's 13 weeks total, in which I should be able to:

1. Finish editing Labour Pains and have it ready for an agent to read.

2. Have at least three solid ideas for a short story that I have developed and can write during the Winter term.

3. Read Moby-Dick (I'm doing a study on it this term for which I'm super excited).

4. Work on chords and scales, go to three open mic evenings to see how they're run. Finish Album art.

5. Find a pool that doesn't suck, schedule an hour twice a week to go and swim as much as I can.

6. Go over feedback to my draft of the academic paper, re-write and send back to my supervisor.

September Goals

So, if I work from my term goals, over the next three weeks, I should:

1. Re-write the main scenes in the book in the first person; finish reading Fight Club (which I'm reading for an "unreliable narrator", particularly one who suffers from mental health issues). Reward: watch Fight Club on a girls night out.

2. Generate about twenty ideas for a short story. Reward: buy a short stories book to read just for fun.

3. Read through chapter 36 in Moby-Dick (as per our reading schedule). Reward: not feel like an idiot in the discussions. Also, in the studies I've done so far, the discussions themselves were usually rewarding.

4. Go to one open mic; learn seven chords with practice and be able to play and improv on at least seven songs. Reward: book a massage.

5. Find a pool (including tryouts), start a membership, go swim at least once a week. Reward: new swimming suit (and possibly goggles that are not pink, we'll see).

6. Go over feedback, chat to my supervisor about main issues with the draft, have an understanding of what needs fixing and a schedule for the re-write. Reward: book a play for my partner and me to watch.


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