Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Be the Pretzel

*sitting in yoga pretzel pose* Take deep breaths and visualize. Good. Now think about your writing goals. Stop making that cringing face…you can totally do this. *falling out of my yoga pose and stomping away*

Okay, so I am really into goal making. I love setting goals, organizing goals, seeing goals through (Yeah, I’m a little OCD with that). But it has really helped my writing.

When I was a young teen, I read a book (I read lots of books, but this one was one of those “Goals and Their Destiny” books – or something like that). Anyways, it had all these steps to achieve your goals. I really can’t remember all of the steps, but there is one I remember and have used over and over.

Visualize. (Please read in breathy awe inspiring voice…thanks.)

To achieve your goal, you have to visualize yourself getting to the goal. Really. See yourself getting the goal in mind. (I know weird, right?)

Like my writing. I used to write on my couch (with my handful of chocolate chips and my cup of hot cocoa by my side…man I really do love that chocolate). But I wasn’t getting much writing done.

Then one day it hit me. If I had an agent and was writing full time, would I really be lounging on the couch, chomping on chocolate chips and painting my toenails (warning, please do not paint toes and write on laptops at the same time. It turns into a sticky mess).

NO. I always saw myself at my dining room table, sitting up straight with the sun shining through my front window as I typed my awesome stories (maybe with a pencil tucked behind my ear – for style).

But I wasn’t acting like that at all!

So the next day, I hooked my lappy up at my table and started writing. You won’t believe what happened! I typed twice the amount of words I had planned to. Yeah, I know, Sweet! And the best part…I was doing that amount of words everyday! (Plus I gave myself a deadline – like we will have when we have agents and publishers. Right? Right!) (Please remember there were always setbacks, but that made achieving the goal even better.)

I’m at the revising stage and have had to rework my goals (and working on those setbacks). But visualizing and tracking my progress has made all the difference. (Oh yeah! I so see some beta readers in my future.) I don’t know if this will always help me in my writing, but it has really helped my current wip. (I just hope it works next time, too!)

Now that you’ve heard what I do to help me reach my writing goals, what do you do? (Please say it doesn’t include eating chocolate, because I really need to cut back on that stuff…tomorrow. Hee hee hee. Maybe chocolate covered pretzels. Mmmm.)

23 comments:

Jen said...

You go girl!!! I've actually been inspired by several blogs today! Jackee at Winded Words is hosting a sort of blogfest type thing, write 1,000 words a day and comment on 10 new blogs a day, I can handle that! I'm going to take a leap of faith and put myself back to a place I used to love! Here I come starbucks... looking for some inspiration, smoothie and cookies! BRING IT!

Good Luck with your writing sessions. Sitting at the dining table with sunshine pouring in the window is something I would love right now.

For now I'll have to do my 8 hours of jail time (work) with four white walls and no windows as my view... joyous isn't it!

Sara B. Larson said...

I definitely agree that if you want writing to be your career, you have to act like it already is. That's how I and Trav have always approached it. When I went to write, he'd help me with the kids (if he was around) and we'd tell them I was working. I made it a priority and made sure I chose it instead of TV, or whatever else. Now that I have an agent, it hasn't been a big adjustment at all. (Other than being super excited that I finally have someone else setting my deadlines and helping me turn it into an actual career!!) :-) I'm so excited for you to keep moving forward. Woot!

Patti said...

I make goals all the time, but never write down what I need to do in order to achieve them.

Heidi Ashworth said...

It definitely helps me to have a plan, a number of hours of writing per week as well as a deadline to finish. It also helps to tell other people what the plan is so that you can be accountable (esp. if you don't have an agent or editor who is expecting something). Good for you for crystallizing your goals!

Kristina P. said...

Giood for you! I think you should reward yourself with something, every time you reach a goal.

Becca said...

I'm all about the word-count goal, and then giving myself a reward (not every day, you know - just at a few big milestones along the way: half-way, end of first draft, like that.)

Candyland said...

First, it should ALWAYS involve chocolate. There's no other way. And visualizing helps. It really does. You have to act like a pro writer to become one.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Sorry girl - ALL of my goals involve chocolate! DUH! I agree that visualization is key. I need to be better about actually writing my goals down and about making them a higher priority. :-)

Creepy Query Girl said...

That's so funny and I find it completely understandable- it's like 'living the dream'- even a little chunk of it, like writing at the table, will help the bigger dream come true! Just 'live the dream'!

Lynn Colt said...

I am a huge goal-setter, because even if I don't make my self-imposed deadlines at least I come close. I need routine to write well, and morning sunshine (I write in the mornings) always helps :)

I can't have any snacks around my writing desk or I'd eat everything as a procrastination technique :-/

Amparo Ortiz said...

Visualize--the best word I've seen all day!

Lazy is my middle name, so I know the feeling of s-t-a-l-l-i-n-g when I should be writing like a maniac. Plus, setting goals can be fun, especially after you achieve them.

Keep it up, Carol! Rooting for ya all the way over here :D

Angie said...

Visualizing. That's great advice. I really need something to get me jump-started again.

lotusgirl said...

Deadlines help me most. I work at the table mostly. There are too many distractions there right now. That's the thing about being a mom. Kids are always interrupting.

Jaydee Morgan said...

I'm big on visualizing too. I think it comes from having a sports background. It works in writing too :)

Solvang Sherrie said...

Excellent point! Acting like you're already a professional will get you there a lot faster.

L.T. Elliot said...

Great advice, Carolyn. I think I'd better visualize my butt in the chair and my hands on the keyboard. ;)

Lynn said...

I love goals! I try to read my goals everyday, and do one step a day to get closer to achieving the bigger ones. I used to visualize, but must admit haven't been lately. And guess what? I've been procrastinating my days away! It's time to get back to visualization. Thanks for the nudge!

Jackee said...

This has actually been on my mind a lot too. But you said it so much better than I! Thanks!

And I hear chocolate is necessary with writing... though in small quantities. :o)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Happy Friday, bff! I have an award for you at my blog today! :-)

Kasie West said...

Wait, does this mean I have to sit at the table and put my chocolate away now that I have an agent? Oh man. :)

Elana Johnson said...

I do so much better when I have a goal and someone to hold me accountable for that goal. When I don't have either... well, I spend a lot of time doing nothing.

Lola Sharp said...

Oh, it most certainly DOES include eating chocolate.

And, I get my best writing done in bed! Me and my MacBook lappy get snug as a bug and I pound the keys.
I also like to write outside in the sun, kicking back on my lawn chair.

I always love the energy you have here. I am ashamed to admit, I did not get on (Satan's) treadmill today. But, I'll check in with you next week and let you know that I'm running; doing the hard thing.


I left you some blog love on my blog today. :)

Happy Weekend!
Love,
Lola

Shelley Sly said...

Wow, you've made a great point! I totally don't act the way I would if I had an agent. I admit that sometimes I'm too lazy and unconcerned when it comes to my writing. I write wherever, whenever, and if I get interrupted, I sometimes just move onto something else. How awful! I need to visualize my goal and get into the routine that I'd like to eventually work in.

Have a wonderful weekend!