For those of us in Europe and America, today is the Summer Solstice (for those in Australia and the rest of the southern hemisphere it’s the Winter Solstice, of course). Either late this evening or early Tuesday morning, depending on the time zone where you are, we move on to the next season in the year. For those of us in the northern hemisphere, winter and spring have passed and we are moving into the third quarter of the year: summer.
It’s also almost the end of June. At the end of this month, six months of the year will have passed. Any way you look at it, we are almost halfway through this year.
A writer friend of mine, in a Facebook writers’ group I belong to, pointed out to the group recently that this is a good time for writers to take stock of our writing progress for the year. In Writers Abroad each January Jo sets up a Writing Goals for the year thread on our forums. Some years I post my goals in early January and then forget to refer to the post again for the rest of the year. But last night I re-read my post for 2016. The short version of it basically says that I will devote this year to finishing the third Short Read in The Yankee Years series, edit a novel for the series, work on a couple new Short Reads for it and compile a collection of the Short Reads into a print book. That should keep me going all year.
But how much of that have I done so far? This spring I added another unexpected project to my list and working on it has set me back a bit. So I’ve almost finished that third Short Read for the series and plan to put together the print book this summer. Then I will start work on another new Short Read. And I still have to fit in the revision for the novel. In other words, I did write an extra story I hadn’t planned to write, but I’m a bit behind on my original goals...
If we browse the Writing Goals for 2016 forum, we may find that some of us are super organised and motivated, and have met and even surpassed theirr goals. If you’re one of them – congratulations! But, if you’re like me and have fallen behind, it can be discouraging to look back at the plans we had for the year that seem to be fizzling out or have already gone up in a puff of smoke.
If you read your goals post and feel disheartened by falling short of your plans, you have a couple options. You can sit there and feel deflated. You didn’t meet your goals and it’s too late now. Just forget you ever wrote them – Jo archives the Writing Goals at the end of the year anyway. In a few months no one will ever see them again.
Or you can review your goals and decide where to go from here. You still have 6 months left in the year. Check off those goals that you have accomplished and give yourself a pat on the back, even if they were minor ones.
Then look at the ones that remain. Analyse them carefully. Do you still want to accomplish all of them? If not, scrub off the list the ones that are no longer important to you. Now look at the ones that are left. List them in their order of importance and estimate how long each one will take to complete. Divide the next six months into weeks and months on a spreadsheet, diary, calendar or even a sheet of paper torn out of a notebook. Allocate the time you need to accomplish each goal on your planner. Be realistic about how much time you have available each day to devote to your tasks. You may not finish everything you originally planned to do in the shortened space of time but you can still salvage some of it. Get your revised Writing Goals for 2016 written and post it to our Writing Goals for 2016 forum – as an update to your original post or a new post if you didn’t post your goals in January. Then get on with meeting those goals during the coming six months. It’s not too late yet.