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Goalsetting, Episode II

In a previous discourse, we started discussing setting goals for your poetic education, practice, and production. We covered how to formulate your goals well, and left in the air how to build a system to keep your goals in mind and working, unlike those New Year’s Resolutions that have already died.

The first step in paying attention to and following up on your goals is, “Know thyself!” If you’re good at follow-up and already have systems in place for tracking your goals, great! If you don’t you need to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Here are some things to think about:

What’s the first thing you look at in the morning? Is it your bathroom mirror? That might be a good place for a reminder of your goals. First thing you do is make coffee? How about a note on the coffeepot? Is it your computer you first go to? Do you have a calendar program? Use it to program in reminders of your goals. No calendar program? What’s the first thing you start up on your computer? Can you get a reminder into there? For instance, in Word, you can change the Normal Template. You could put a text reminder of your goals into the template. First thing you start in the morning is an Internet browser window? Set its default homepage to a file on your computer with a reminder of your goals. You do different things with your computer everyday? So, put those goals in multiple places.

The main thing is to find ways for you to see, and read and pay attention to, those goals at the beginning of each day. If possible, start your day with your writing. That way, you won’t forget about those writing goals through a hectic day.

If you don’t write until the evening, have a copy of your goals where you write. When you sit down, read your list of goals first thing.

At whatever time of day you review your writing goals, give yourself a check-up. How are you doing with them? Are you on schedule? Were the goals too aggressive or not aggressive enough? If you aren’t meeting the goals, is it because you made it too hard or because you aren’t trying hard enough? If you’re exceeding the goals, is it just initial enthusiasm or do you need to revise them upward to make yourself stretch for more?

The main thing about setting up ways to keep to your goals is finding ways that you’ll see them often, pay attention to them, and think about them. How to make that work for each individual is as different as they are.

Happy writing!

The Gnostic Poet


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