Dec 31

Making S.M.A.R.T. resolutions

It’s almost 2016! How did this happen?!

I was thinking over possible New Year’s resolutions and, as usual, bemoaning that I haven’t achieved any of my writing goals yet. My dear husband asked, “Well, when will you be done? How can you break this up into small steps and turn them into a list you can check off?” (We are both engineers, so half of me loved this question.) The writer half of me was like, “That’s just not how it works!”

However, we did figure out that you can set lots of goals for Butt In Chair time. Coincidentally, creative output always and only follows BIC time, so ensuring the latter is pretty much the only way to (eventually) ensure the former. Hence, I am making BIC goals. But they should also be SMART goals. So, for your edification, and to provide some public accountability, here is my goal:

  • Specific: I will spend 8 hours a week doing actual plot work on my story (brainstorming, outlining, drafting, or editing).
  • Measurable: I will put a gold star on my calendar page for every hour thus spent, so that I can count them at the end of the week.
  • Attainable: As previously discussed, outcome measurements in creative work are demoralizing. But there is nothing that can prevent me from sitting down. (Or walking; I have a tread-desk.)
  • Realistic: I work three days a week, so between my two days off (during which I also do a fair amount of self-care, errand-running, and housework) and a few hours of naptime or in the evenings, 8 hours is realistic at this point in my life. Of course I wish it was more, but this is the minimum. And if I get past 8 hours? Gold star! 😉
  • Timely: Every week. Forever. (Yes, you’re supposed to kind-of time-box the goals, but again, the thing about outcome measurement being demoralizing.) The weekly nature fits in well with human psychology and will allow me to create carrots and/or sticks to ensure that I do this.

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