Saturday, July 3, 2010

Writing Journeys & Goal Setting

Here’s a way to think about goal setting accountability.

I like to think of a long piece of writing as a nice adventurous trip (comes from my fondness for road trips and hiking I guess – best way to see any country). As with an
y kind of journey, there will be stops and starts and you may find your goals need revising, re-routing etc.

So our Monday meetings are just great opportunities along the way where you meet fellow travellers and share where you’ve been and where you’re going. It’s not about reporting a perfect arrival at a goal, and therefore feeling guilty about route changes. Don’t get stressed out by shifts and changes. It’s just the process of logging the journey with fellow travellers, which really helps you navigate.

You learn a great deal about your writing process when you pay attention to the kinds of goals you set, your patterns of revision, the distance between your milestones etc. If you keep with the practice of goal setting-reflecting-revising, you’ll find yourself getting better and better at moving happily along your writing journeys.

Dissertation Boot Camp June 26th & 27th

Slide show from Boot Camp on the weekend of June 26 and 27. This was a quick, put together Boot Camp, but we had 10 people who showed up to writewritewrite and we all managed to get a lot done.

Take Aways From This Boot Camp

Make Goals Visible - write them out, put them where you can see them as you work. WRITE THEM LARGE. They will gently nag in a most friendly way, especially if you use colours - crayons or markers. We had 'pure colour pencils' - imagine only the inside of a colour pencil without the wood!

Write Mini Goals - on the way to the main goal for the day. If you want to complete a chapter, you might want to write some interim milestones to get to that goal like the different sections for the chapter. That way you can track your progress to the end of the chapter through the day. This also makes the writing process more concrete and gives you specific writing tasks to work at. Do them, one by one by one ... and voila! Suddenly you're at Chapter's End!

Cross Goals Out along the way. As you meet each mini goal, what satisfaction there is in crossing them out with a big fat marker! DONE! .... on to the next.

Hydrate. Remember to drink water as you work. When you're feeling tired, more often than not it's a lack of water. Keep a large mug or bottle of water next to you so you can take large swigs from it as you work. Coffee's ok, but really .... your body desires water.

Breathe. You'd be surprised how often you stop breathing when you are really focused on writing. Take Breathing Breaks: Stop - Sit up straight - Focus on your breath - Breath in and feel your ribcage expand - Hold - Breath out through your mouth for a count of 8. Close your eyes through this process to give them a rest from the screen/paper. Repeat a few times. This takes just a few minutes, but can re-energize your body and mind to work again with renewed focus and energy. Especially if you have a drink of water before you resume work.

You're Not Alone - Here are some of the members of our group!