The movie Paycheck featured Ben Affleck who played a reverse engineer. While it didn’t win any awards, I enjoyed the story concept, and the idea of reverse engineering, and was inspired by how the concept could be applied to goals.
We are in the middle of 2017. Are you happy with what you’ve accomplished with your writing? If not, and you want to mark complete by your goals before the end of the year, here are three ways you can reverse engineer your writing goals.
What big goal did you set at the beginning of the year? Was it written down on a piece of paper that’s now collecting dust in a tray or file folder somewhere? Maybe you decided the goal in your mind, but now it’s lost.
Whether you wrote it down or whispered it to yourself, take 5-10 minutes to find or remember your goal. It’s okay if you need to change or adjust it. Life happens, and we must adapt if we’re going to accomplish stuff.
STEPS TO ACCOMPLISH
Once you’ve identified your goal, write out all the steps needed to finish your goal by December. They don’t have to be in a specific order or perfectly written out. Just write them down as they come to you. They can be sorted later. An example might be:
- Submit my book to publishers
- Identify publishers for my book genre
- Confirm contact at publisher and their email
- Verify publisher’s submission requirements
- Write query letter
- Write synopsis
- Submit my book to one publisher each week
Next, count the days or weeks left until December. For example there are 20 weeks left until December 18 (I don’t recommend trying to schedule the last two week of the year due to the holidays). If you’ve listed 10 tasks needed to accomplish your goal, you can do one task a week and be finished long before the end of the year.
If more than 20 tasks are on your list, then consider breaking the tasks across the number of days instead of weeks. Make sure to give enough days to each task.
Next to each task, write the date you plan to complete and schedule those dates in your calendar with a reminder. The key is to take away every reason not to complete your task and reach your goal. Don’t give yourself an out.
REVIEW YOUR GOAL
This last step is a huge one! Too many times writers will pick the big goal of ‘write my book by the end of the year’ or ‘publish my book by the end of the year’ but they rarely glance at their goal throughout the year except when someone asks or to revel in good old fashion guilt.
Don’t put your list in a drawer or file folder somewhere it will never be seen. Stick it on the wall in front of your desk or on your bathroom mirror. Somewhere it won’t be missed. Review it every day or at minimum every week so you can see what task(s) you’ve check off the list as completed.
Use those check marks to motivate you: to track your progress, see what’s left to complete, and celebrate when you’ve checked another task off the list. Keep reviewing your goal, and before you know it, you’ll be bragging about the story you’ve written, the book you pitched to publishers, or the book you published at every Christmas party.
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If you’ve got the time, but you’re stumped for ideas or where to start. Check out my Jumpstart Your Writing Roadmap with 5 easy to implement steps that shows you where to find ideas and sets you up to start writing right away. Learn more.