Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Planning for 2011: Procrastination is My Middle Name

If you read Janet Fogg's Citation: The Order of the Chocolate Donut yesterday, and are totally bummed because you couldn't claim you'd written a complete To Do List during 2010 and are therefore an undeserving goof-off, then I'm frankly amazed you showed your face here today.

But you are here.

That means you want to do better next year. Me, too.

I did complete one first draft in 2010, so I'm not a total loser. Overall, however, I wrote blog posts, blog-hopped, blog-challenged, e-mailed, wrote Facebook status updates, tweeted, surfed the Internet, and played more than I wrote.

Time management seems like a common sense issue. Doesn't it? Yet, here I am, learning another innovative way to procrastinate:

Don't worry. I have no intention of giving up fun. My plan is pretty simple.

1. Focus on long-term goals.
2. Set reasonable weekly and daily benchmarks.
3. Keep track.
4. Adjust benchmarks as needed.
5. Don't sweat the small stuff.

In addition to my regular calendar, I now have a 2011 writing planner dedicated to goals and deadlines for writing new stuff, revising old stuff, queries and submissions, and de-stressing (also known as exercise). Keeping word counts worked for me in the past, so I'm adding that technique back to my plan.

If procrastination is also your middle name, and you need to rethink the way you spend your time, read a few of the articles in The Unsurpassable Productivity List: A Handy Guide to Getting Important Things Done at Leo Babauta's zenhabits.

There are several helpful posts at Fuel Your Writing, including 7 Writing Distractions I'm Kissing Goodbye by Suzannah Freeman and After the Break: How to Get Writing Again by Robert Smedley.

The first goal on my list is to write at least 500 words every day. Blog posts and e-mails do not count as part of that total.

What goal is at the top of your list for 2011?

Pat Stoltey


Margot Kinberg said...

Pat - I think you're so wise to set reasonable goals for yourself. There's a real balance between goals that are lofty enough to challenge one, and goals that are easy enough that they can be reached. I think yours strike that balance very well!

Janet Fogg said...

In my Sisters of the Quill critique group we regularly report our daily progress. Having support, but also accountability to achieve our own goals, made me far more productive! Thanks to Julie, Karen, and Shannon I'm (mostly) staying on track!

Thanks, Pat, for such a timely reminder!

Clarissa Draper said...

My goal is to write 1000 words a day, each day of the year, that will help me finish all my books.

Mason Canyon said...

This is just another reason I am in awe of writers - focus and dedication. I don't have to think about any of the worries of a writer - word count, submissions, etc. - and I still procrastinate. Good luck with your goals.

Thoughts in Progress

Patricia Stoltey said...

Good morning, everyone. Taking a blogging and partial Internet vacation, as I did last week, was a great opportunity to see just how much time I really have for writing, revisions, and submissions. I can do a lot a better than I did in 2010.

Kerrie said...

My number one goal for NCW is to figure out how to do webinars and online classes. For my writing, I want to be a consistent contributor to WOW! Women on Writing.

Shannon said...

I intend to make some writing goals for 2011. I'll do it later.

Patricia Stoltey said...


Clarissa's 1,000 words per day and Kerrie's two primary goals are great examples of being specific about your intentions.

Monti said...

I like the idea of a specific goal. It's just a lot more difficult if there are issues involved that are not writing-related, such as art teaching and art work. The 1000 words a day for Clarissa is a great goal. Also, your 500 words a day, Pat. Good luck!


Padraic Murray said...

Greetings from Ireland! I do admire your typically American get up and go attitude. Some of it might even rub off on me, although I doubt it! Anyway, thanks for all your posts in 2010 and looking forward to many more in 2011 (funny to be using that number already - what will we call it? Two-eleven, Twenty-eleven, Zero-eleven?). Health and Happiness in two days time for the full year ahead!