Preptober Week 3 – Determining Your Goals

Happy Monday!

NaNoWriMo is fast approaching so now is the time to kick our prepping into high gear, and get some stories planned. Today we will be discussing all things goals for NaNoWriMo and how to have an overall successful and productive month!

 

Step 1: Create Big SMART Goals

I always bring up SMART goals whenever I make a blog post centred around goals because these are the type of goals you need to focus on making. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, Time-bound, and by following these five words, you will create goals you can ACTUALLY achieve! When making goals, it is important to make them as directed and specific as possible and to make sure they are goals you can achieve in the time given. Some examples of my big, overall NaNoWriMo goals are:

  • Edit and re-outline character profiles, world history, and act I, II, III by October 31st – I specify what I want to edit and re-outline and also by what date = SMART goal!
  • Write 50k words by November 30th – This is a SMART goal because I determine how many words I want to write by whatever date, and I have achieved it before so I know it is attainable!

Step 2: Create Smaller SMART Goals

Now it is time to narrow our focus into the individual days of November and figure out what daily goals we can make to help lead us to success. The main goal in NaNoWriMo is to write 50k words in 30 days but in order to do that, you need to write at least 1,667 words per day. Maybe you can’t write that much a day though, and 1,667 words in a writing session is a rare, amazing occurrence. Whatever the case, you need to tailor these daily goals to your life and make them attainable so you are not letting yourself down at the end of the day and month. While 1,667 words are the average daily goal, maybe your goal needs to only be 1,000 words a day or maybe you write a lot and want your daily goal to be 2,000 words!

I also recommend if you have the time during the day, to split your NaNo writing session into two or even three sessions. For example, on the weekends (this is only what happens during Camp NaNo or NaNo, I don’t do this every weekend!) I like to write for three 30 minute sessions because, in the end, I finish the day with up to 3,000 words! That way, I still have time to get other things done but still get a lot of writing done. Figure out what works best for you in order to attain your personal daily goal so you can finish the day with the largest amount of words possible!

Step 3: Set Up a Reward System

Now that you have your big and small goals created, it is time to put in place a fun reward system! Whenever you hit a big, overall goal, like you write 50,000 words in NaNoWriMo, reward yourself with a big reward! For example, when I reach 50k I plan on giving myself a weekend free of writing where I get to watch Netflix and basically do whatever I want. November is not only busy because of NaNoWriMo, but also because school really picks up for me during this month so I know I am going to be exhausted by the time November 30th rolls around. When it comes to the smaller, daily goals, I like to give myself little rewards at the end of the week if I have written 5-7 days of that last week. Here are some smaller reward ideas!:

  • 30 mins of Netflix
  • A writing session at a coffee shop!
  • 30 mins at the gym (I know this might not be a reward exactly, but if you use some spare time to workout you will feel AMAZING. Trust me)
  • Reading time! (I don’t know about you, but finding time to read the books I want has been incredibly hard, so this will definitely be a reward for me)
  • Adventure to the bookstore

Step 4: Displaying Your Goals

It is important to have these goals AND your possible rewards displayed somewhere you will always see them. Whether that is when you first wake up or when you sit down to write, have them put up somewhere looking all pretty and exciting for you to see and be reminded of. I know you probably already wrote these goals down, but now take a clean piece of paper and make them colourful and lively; something that will catch your eye.

Okay! Those are the four steps to creating smart goals for NaNoWriMo! Now, to make sure these are truly smart and achievable goals, ask yourself if you know what your overall goals are for the month and how you are going to achieve each one. Know each step, or at least have it written out for you, and remind yourself of the deadlines and rewards for when you finish them!

I hope you found this blog post helpful and that you enjoyed it! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post, as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below for more bookish and writing related content. Thanks 🙂

Last Blog Post: Reading + Writing Update

 

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Reading + Writing Goals – September + October

Summer 2018 was pretty productive for me this year, and while I didn’t accomplish all of my goals, I did accomplish a lot! Since this post is coming out a little early though, before August is even over, I won’t be adding a wrap up on my goals for July and August because there is still a liiiiitle more time to get stuff done. I will probably post on my Instagram what I DID manage to get done, so make sure you check it out if your curious 🙂 Anyways, here are my goals for September and October 2018!

  • Read 6 Books
  • Rewrite + Edit the First 20 Pages of WIP (for fellowship)
  • Submit to Fellowship by September 30th
  • Submit to 2 Writing Contests
  • Submit to 1 Literary Magazine
  • Post 30 Blog Posts

Those are all of my goals for the next two months and fingers crossed I can get at least 75% of it done. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post and all of my social media accounts linked down below for more writing and bookish related content 🙂

Last Blog Post: Reading + Writing Update

 

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Staying on Track with Your Goals

Hey guys! For today’s blog post I will be sharing my tips on staying on track with your goals, whatever they may be, for ultimate success in the last several months of 2018. Anyways, I hope this helps to inspire and motivate you and let’s get into the tips 🙂

  • Review Your Goals Weekly – This is really important because sometimes while working towards our goals, we forget what they originally were along the way. Personally, I get really distracted while doing my goals and sometimes forget what I am supposed to be working towards so reviewing my goals weekly, or even daily, is really helpful. This can involve writing your goals out at the end of each week, or just reading over your original copy.
  • Break Down Your Goals – Create stepping stones for yourself when it comes to your overall goals, because most are hard to swallow in one bite. When it comes to my writing goals, I break mine down to daily/weekly word counts so that I reach my deadline for the goal and get all I need done. For example, I aim for around 2,500 words a day and 15k a week so I can 50+k done each month.
  • Reward Yourself – To keep yourself motivated to achieve your goals, which can be a little stressful sometimes, reward yourself! Maybe once a week take yourself to the coffee shop and get some work done there, or give yourself an extra hour or two in the evening to just relax if you got a lot of work done the previous day. Whatever refreshes you to get back on track with your goals, do that.
  • YouTube Videos – Honestly, watching writing or reading vlogs gets me in a super productive and inspired mood so I recommend watching videos related to your goals! There are also lots of amazing videos talking about making and reaching goals, so type that into the search bar and watch a few!
  • Write Them Down Everywhere – I have my goal list on my phone and my notebook so that I wherever I am, I have them with me to refresh my mind and direct where I need to take my days.

Those are a few tips on how to stay on track with your goals, and I wish you the best of luck! Keep on working hard and good things will come, just don’t give up. Anyways, don’t forget to check out my last blog post and all my social media accounts which are linked below 🙂

Last Blog Post: Reading Update – BookTubeAThon Day 3

 

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Reading + Writing Goals – July + August

I cannot believe another two months have already passed, and that it is time to update you all on how I did with my goals for May and June! Let me just start by saying…May and June were not my most productive months, but you know what, sometimes that is how it goes. All you can do is work hard on your next handful of goals and try the best you can for those months. Let’s go over what I did and didn’t accomplish for my last set of bimonthly goals, and then let’s take a look at my goals for the months of July and August!

May + June Goals Overview:

  • Read 8 Books – Sadly I did not achieve this but I was so, so, so close! I ended up reading a total of 7 books, and was literally only 40 pages off from finishing my eighth book but ended up reading those pages the next day, which was July 1st. If I realized I was so close to achieving that goal, I would have pushed myself to finish it but what can you do?
  • Get Accepted into uStart – This is a program at my school that allows you to take a university class during your grade 12 year and I am happy to say I did achieve this goal! This was a “out of my hands” goal but I really wanted to put it on my goals list because I had high hopes I would get in, and I did so yay! I will be taking a first year writing class (Writing 100) and I am super excited.
  • Finish Draft 1 of My WIP – I also achieved this…kind of. I wrote what I could and am now currently working on draft 2 and ugh, it is so much fun. I wrote my first draft during Camp NaNoWriMo in April, and then wrote into May so if I keep up this pace, I am on my way to finishing draft 2 either in July or August.
  • Submit to 3 Writing Contests – Yeah, nope. I submitted to one but then got really busy but I am not too upset about that.
  • Submit to 1 Literary Magazine – …nope. Again, I just ran out of time!
  • Prep for Editing WIP Draft 2 – I did this! Mind you, it was during the last week of June but I did it, and feel more prepped and ready to dive into draft 2 then I did with draft 1.

Anyways, so I completed a solid 50% of my goals which is more than I originally thought. But without further ado, let’s take a look at my goals for the months of July and August!

July + August Goals

  • Finish Draft 2 of My WIP
  • Submit to 1 Writing Contest
  • Submit to 1 Literary Magazine
  • Write 3 NEW Short Stories (at least)
  • Read 12 Books

On top of these five goals, I have two personal goals which brings me to a total of seven goals. While it is a LOT less than what I usually have, I want to give myself a lighter load for the summer. Also because this summer I want to steer my focus on finishing draft 2 of my WIP and putting together my writing portfolios for writing scholarships so overall, it will still be a busy two months.

Anyways, that is all for this blog post, and I also wanted to say sorry for not having one up on Monday. I talked about it a bit on my Instagram (shameless self-promo-but check out my social media, all linked below!) but my mental health was really spiraling on Sunday and I just wasn’t in the mood to do anything creative. I feel a lot better now and am writing for Camp NaNoWriMo and ready to pump out some more blog posts as well 🙂

Last Blog Post: Reading + Writing Update!

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5 Goals Every Writer Should Set for Themselves

Even if you write for fun and that is all, it is still important (and fun) to set goals for yourself and motivate yourself to keep going. I love making goals for myself and here are 5 goals that I think every writer should have!

 

  1. To Finish That Story! – Whether it is a book or a short story you are trying to tackle, don’t procrastinate it, just finish the story! Remind yourself that the words don’t have to be good, just get them done and on the page. You don’t want to be a writer who starts things and then never finishes, because that is only setting yourself up for bad writing habits.
  2. To Write Every Week – I wanted to put to “Write Everyday” but I know for most of us (myself included) that is a struggle. However, still try to aim to write everyday if you can! Writing every week is a manageable goal and is really important because you want to keep that brain full of creativity. Whether you write 50 words or 6000 a week, some words are better than absolutely no words!
  3. To Read… A Lot! – Again, reading every day can be hard, but try to read as much as you can each month. Even if it is only one book a month that is still progress! You are still exercising your writing muscles by reading anything as little as one page of a book. Just keep finding books and stories you enjoy and keep reading. Here are some craft AND fiction books I recommend:
    • Stephen King: On Writing by Stephen King
    • Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
    • Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
    • Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
  4. To Connect With Other Writers – This is a goal I always set for myself each week, because I always want to be connecting and interacting with other writers. It helps make you feel not so alone in your passion, and can also be a way to gain valuable information from those on different walks of the writing path from you. I highly recommend jumping on social media to find writers like you, or finding a local writing group that you can join! This will make the world of a difference and even if it might be out of your comfort zone, will be worth it in the end. Here are some places where you can find some writing friends online:
    • Twitter
    • NaNoWriMo/Camp NaNoWriMo
    • Instagram
    • YouTube
  5. To Search for Your Voice and Style – This is a really important one because without your own unique voice and style, you won’t be able to reach your full potential as a writer. When you are first starting out it is natural to mimic a favourite author of yours until you find your own voice and style, but as you write more and more your voice and style will start to filter through. It is essential for you to harness all that and dive deeper into it so that you understand how you write because then your readers will too!

Those are my 5 goals that I think every writer should make for themselves and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post and also my social media links below 🙂

Last Blog Post: Reading + Writing Update!

Other Places You Can Find Me:

Twitter:@zoermathers

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Reading + Writing Goals – May + June 2018

It is that time again already where I go over everything I accomplished in March and April, and then what I hope to accomplish in May and June. March and April were actually very productive months and I am incredibly proud of what I got done, so fingers crossed the next two months will be the same!

For March and April I had a total of 7 goals and if you want to see what they were check out that blog post here but out of of those 7, I accomplished 6! The only one I didn’t accomplish was to read ten books but you know what, sometimes you just can’t read all the books!

May + June Goals:

  • Read 8 Books – Since 10 was a little too much, I thought I would bring it down a bit. However, I think this will still be a challenge considering May and June are extremely busy months school wise. I have high hopes though!
  • Get Accepted into My Universities uStart Program for Writing – This is a program that allows you to take a university level course during your grade 12 year, and has been something I really wanted to do for a while now. If I get accepted, I would be taking Writing 100, so fingers crossed it will happen! I don’t usually write down goals that I can’t control the outcome of, but I am making an acception for this one.
  • Finish Draft 1 of WIP by May 31 – I am currently halfway through my WIP, so I am almost positive I can get this done. That is, unless I decide to continue being lazy and NOT write.
  • Submit to 3 Writing Contests – This was the number (I think) I submitted to in the last few months, so I am sure I will easily be able to do it again. There are a lot of writing contests that are catching my eye for the next two months, so hopefully I have enough time and inspiration to pump out a few stories for them!
  • Submit to 1 Literary Magazine – Again, I submitted to 1 literary magazine last time, so I am sure I will be able to do it again!
  • Prep for Editing WIP – This is definitely one of my most important goals because my first drafts are always so random and bare that I need to fill in a LOT of things during the next write. In June, while I am taking my break from writing, I need to just sit down and get all my new thoughts down so I can write an even better second draft.

That is all for this post and I hope you enjoyed! Make sure to comment some of your monthly goals that you want to achieve, and also check out my last blog post and follow me on social media 🙂

Last Blog Post: Writing About Young Adults

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Reading + Writing Goals – March + April 2018

So I made a blog post for my January and February goals back in January, and while I said I was going to recap them when I got around to writing my March and April goals, I’m just going to pretend I never said that. Basically the first two months of 2018 were fails for the goals I set because I set goals that were way out of reach. I wouldn’t say the months were unsuccessful because I did accomplish some things, but overall it was a flop on my goals. Anyways, now I know what kind of goals to set for myself so I made a list of my March and April goals that are ambitious but not too ambitious!

March + April Goals:

  • Finish my Creative Writing 12 by March 16
  • Write + publish 30 blog posts
  • Submit to 3 short story contests
  • Submit to 1 literary magazine
  • Finish outlining novel
  • Write 40,000 words during Camp NaNoWriMo in April
  • Read 10 books

These goals are much more reachable than my past goals, and I am already chugging along to completing some of them already! Fingers crossed though that my wrap up on these goals in May is way more successful than January and February, but honestly no month could be as lazy as them!

Anyways that is all for my reading and writing goals for the months of March and April, and I hope you enjoyed. Make sure you comment some goals you have for the coming months, and also check out my last blog post: Prepping for Camp NaNoWriMo #2

Other Places You Can Find Me:

Twitter:@zoermathers

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5 Goals Every Writer Should Set + How to Stay Accountable

It is essential to have goals if you are a writer, especially if you plan on going somewhere with your writing. Most important though, it is essential to actually stick to those goals because otherwise you won’t find yourself where you want to be by the time the next year comes rolling around, and trust me, it will come a lot faster than anticipated. A lot of people make the mistake of setting these massive goals and then giving up two weeks into the new year, so today I will be sharing some of my personal ideas, goals and tips centered around creating and sticking to writing related goals!

BeFunky Design

 

  1. Write Everyday – If you are a writer, you probably already write everyday. I know I do, even if it is not related to my fiction writing. Writing everyday includes writing a story, essay, blog post, or even a journal entry, really anything that relates to using your writing muscle. This is a really easy goal to make, and honestly it may be the easiest one to keep up with. Just set aside anywhere between ten minutes to even an hour in the morning, afternoon or evening and write in your journal or even a quick blog post. The point is, to be a writer, you have to actually write.
  2. Submit to At Least One Literary Magazine or Writing Contest – It amazes me how many people don’t take the opportunity to submit their work to literary magazines or writing contests, especially if it is completely free for you to do! Submitting your work to magazines is a great way to get your name and work out there and the writing world, and even possibly make some money off of the thing you love to do. If you need some recommendations for literary magazines to submit to, definitely check out my blog post where I share 10 literary magazines that are completely free to submit to!
  3. Read, Read, Read – This is an obvious one, but it is one that needs to be  enforced because sometimes we get so caught up with our writing that we forget to read. Reading helps motivate and inspire us to write, and is an essential ingredient to creating a story. Even if you are caught up in writing your own story, don’t forget to crack open a book even if it is just for 15 minutes a day.
  4. Participate in Camp NaNoWriMo/NaNoWriMo – Camp NaNoWriMo and NaNoWriMo give you the motivation (and excuse) to write during the month of July and November, and give you a reason to connect with other writers from around the world. Even if you do not reach the goal of 50k words in a month, as long as NaNoWriMo gets you to write something I see that as a huge success! So definitely add participating in Camp NaNoWriMo or NaNoWriMo to your goals for 2018 because it is such a fun and beneficial experience. it will amaze you how much of a manuscript you can get done in a short period of time.
  5. Connect With Other Writers – This had never been a goal of mine until this year, when I realized how important it is to connect with other writers. Writing is a lonely task, and if you have someone else to discuss writing with, it will make it less lonely. Also, by connecting with other writers you can share your work with each other, get feedback and learn how to give feedback too; all things that benefit and create a well-rounded writer!

BeFunky Design

When it comes to staying accountable to your goals, it is important to one, create goals that are not too far out of reach, but just far enough to get you out of your comfort zone and two, create goals that you control the outcome of. By this I mean not writing down I resolve to win one writing contest this year…because while that would be amazing, you are not in control of who the judges choose. Instead, choose a broader goal like I resolve to enter one writing contest this year. Now that is something you can control. And finally third, create goals but also create a plan to achieve those goals. It is easy to write down I resolve to enter one writing contest this year, but how are you going to actually do this? Are you going to write everyday for two weeks before the contest? Are you going to start editing three days before? These are important things to think of when writing down your goals, and it will make them so much easier to achieve when you know exactly how you are going to do it.

Ways I stay accountable to my goals are by treating myself to a reward if I write everyday for a week, or accomplish a goal by submitting different pieces of work to a few literary magazines or writing contests. If you reward yourself, you will find yourself feeling more motivated to accomplishing the goals on your list. Another way I make sure I accomplish my goals, is by setting reminders on my phone because sometimes I honestly just forget. Sometimes I need that reminder to sit down and write for thirty minutes, or sometimes I forget that a writing contest deadline is coming up. Writing it down isn’t always enough.

 

Those are some goals every writer should set and also how to stay accountable. Hopefully this was somewhat helpful to you, and gave you some ideas of what goals you should set of yourself as a writer, but if you have some more goal ideas definitely leave them in the comments! If you liked this blog post please like it so I know to make more, and also don’t forget to check out my last blog post: 10 Literary Magazines To Submit To (NO FEES) 🙂