Elizabeth: What’s Your Goal?

goal-setting-imageWelcome to the Eight Ladies Writing monthly goal-setting / holding-each-other-accountable post.

Last week many of us put our regular lives on hold to experience the wild and crazy ride known as the annual RWA conference. We attended workshops, met with agents and editors, networked with other writers, and even managed to fit in a little sight-seeing and a Broadway show or two.

But now, most of us are back home and/or back to work. With the suitcase unpacked, the accumulated mail dealt with, and the cat finally located, it’s time to go back through the notes and handouts from the conference and answer the burning question:

Now what?

People with goals succeed because they know where they are going.” ~ Earl Nightingale

As I mentioned in my recent motivation posts, my goal leading up to the conference was to get my manuscript finished and qualify for RWA PRO membership. Done and done. Now that the conference is over, I need a new goal. With requests for a full from two agents, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that polishing up the manuscript is the critical next step. Unfortunately, after attending some great workshops on character development, turning points, subtext, and story structure last week, I’m pretty sure I need more than a little “polishing.”

“A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline.” ~ Harvey Mackay

My specific goal for August is to complete the four scenes that I know are missing from the story. That’s one scene a week, which seems very achievable, and is a big step toward my longer-term goal to get the manuscript completely finished and off to the agents who have requested it by the end of September.

I’m confident I’ll be able to reach my goal, especially having made it public. I would hate to have to report a lack of success at the next check-in.

“Nothing is impossible. The word itself says I’m possible.” ~ Audrey Hepburn

So, what’s your (specific and achievable) goal for the upcoming month? What can we hold you accountable for?

10 thoughts on “Elizabeth: What’s Your Goal?

  1. An agent who requested my full manuscript after a contest told me my book lacks sexual chemistry. Kat and Jilly read for me (Jilly for the second time!) and gave me some very concrete suggestions on how to fix that. So, my goal is to complete that rewrite in the next week or so and, like you, send to the two agents who requested my manuscript during the conference.

  2. This is a terrific idea, Elizabeth. Let’s have some public deadlines, followed by naming and shaming. I’m just about to start the first draft of my shiny new WIP and intend to have written 50,000 by the end of August. Also, something I should have done ages ago… I need to send the draft of my previous book to the RNA critiquing person – it’s just been sitting there, ready to go for the past six weeks. The only reason I haven’t done it is because I can’t be bothered to write a synopsis – oh dear, that looks bad when I write it down. I must do it. See, public deadlines already working!

    • Rachel – glad the process is working for you already 🙂 I expect to hear that your synopsis was written and manuscript sent off to your critiquing person when we check in next time. Good luck on that 50,000 words.

  3. I also received agent/editor requests. Two fulls and one partial with synopsis and query letter. My goals are ambitious as hell but here goes:

    By end of July (yes, you heard that right):

    1) Complete a kick-ass synopsis and query letter.
    2) Make planned edits to my first scene (thank you Jeanne for your awesome suggestions).
    3) Write letters to both individuals that requested a full that will include my synopsis and a date when they can expect the full manuscript.

    My goal for August:

    Draft the last 1/3 of my book which will pretty much give me a full draft. Yes, the pages will be awful, but I’ll have something to work with come September (and my goal by end of September is to have something decent to send to the agent/editor that requested a full).

    • Kat, that sounds like an excellent (and ambitious) plan. Hopefully all of the energy generated by the conference will help keep us all moving forward.

  4. I’m chugging through revisions suggested by the beta readers (you know who you are) and then it’s off to those who requested it. Revisions definitely finished by the end of August. Also, perhaps, sent out. But revisions definitely completed.

  5. I’m done with the research, except as a sideline AFTER I FINISH MY DAILY WRITING. I’m going to aim for a scene a day, first draft quality. More is great, but I can’t fudge and say, “well, I did three yesterday, so I can skip today.” A new scene, no matter how terrible, every day. Unless I run out of book. (Should I allow myself to game the system? If the scene is more than 2000 words, can I do the rest the next day and count that, too? Hmmmm.)

    I don’t know why it is, but when I set goals, I automatically try to make them more complicated than they need to be.

    • Go for the simple plan Michaeline. One day = one scene, no matter the length. I’d love to do that too, but I find fixing scenes takes me a bit more time than drafting them. Hope we both wind up hitting our targets (I’m *sure* we will) 🙂

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