Wannabe goals. We all made them for the new year, right? Unbelievably, we're now knocking on the door to June.
Often our goals are unspoken but sincere, something we know we need to accomplish to advance our writing. They inspire us for a moment then, in the face of our busy lives, we allow them to fade.
Write my synopsis. Develop my marketing plan. Finish my outline. Finish/Revise my book. Query my top five publishers. Learn how to blog. Get reviews. (Fill in your goals here.)
Read this. Follow the steps, and you’ll do it.
It starts with number one. Three Dog Night sang, “One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do.” When it comes to goals, I consider it the most difficult number.
If you're having trouble reaching your goals, try starting with number one. It will help you progress to number two. If you’re not prepared to tackle number one, don’t read this blog. This information is only for those who are tired of letting important goals evaporate in the face of procrastination, laziness or fear.
Still reading? Okay, here’s the not-so-secret formula.
NUMBER ONE. Tell someone important. Your critique group. Your most stalwart friend who supports your dreams. “I am going to (specific goal) this (week/month/summer).
It must be specific. Not, “I’m going to write more,” but “I am going to write to The End by August.” Not, “I’m going to market more,” or “I am going to develop a marketing plan,” but rather, “I’m going to write a marketing plan by August.”
Something good happens when you commit to another person or group. The goal becomes real. Increase your odds of success further by insisting that your friend follows up weekly to ask about your progress.
NUMBER TWO. Generate ideas. Browse the Internet, searching for topics such as “How To (Goal)” and “Top 10 Ways to (Goal).” Then create a mind map, incorporating what you’ve learned from your initial research.
You complete number two to better achieve your number three goal.
NUMBER THREE. Brainstorm with someone with RMFW who has accomplished this goal. (Having completed number two, you will have learned enough to ask good questions and you will demonstrate to your expert RMFW member that you’ve given this some thought, and have taken those first steps already. Show you’re committed to learning, and others will be more willing to help you.)
Many RMFW members have become known for their expertise in writing, editing, public speaking, workshops, book tours, blogs, reviews, podcasts—the list is extensive. Connect with fellow members through the on-line loop, the free monthly educational programs, and special events such as our upcoming annual conference. Browse the workshops and see who’s presenting a workshop in your area of interest. Most are free with your conference registration, some are reasonably priced master classes. Your RMFW membership is a big, big asset. Harness it and feel the power and inspiration of having even more friends cheering you on.
Remember that this is brainstorming, not mentoring, which represents an extensive commitment that may scare off your targeted expert. Make it clear you’re only looking for suggestions and resources that you will pursue to complete your own plan of action.
NUMBER FOUR. By now, you will have gathered a daunting amount of information and options to consider. Sort by level of difficulty, easiest to most challenging. If your goal includes some area of marketing, sort by affordability. Sort also by effectiveness, based on what you learned in steps three and four.
NUMBER FIVE. Create your action list. Based on the completion date you initially told your critique group or stalwart supporter, put dates on this action list that will reasonably bring you to the finish line.
Make adjustments, if needed. Share your list, and if you keep a hard copy or digital planning calendar, insert those dates with a big star, color code—whatever triggers you to remember the importance of your intermediate goals.
It’s a simple concept, proven over time and as reliable as gravity. It’s also proven over time that you must take step one first.
Go for it!