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Review Often. Or, How I Don’t Follow my Own Advice

January 14th, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments
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So, how did your year go? No, I’m not interested in who you snogged at the new year’s eve party! I’m talking about writing. Focus!

Mine was… mixed. On the plus side I did slightly more writing than I did last year. On the minus side, I only did slightly more writing than last year. And I can’t say that I properly finished anything. Boo!

Of course, I know this because of my stats that I’ve been keeping every week. I’ve only just got round to reviewing them (is it a bit late? It is, isn’t it), and in doing so, I’ve also reviewed the list of goals I keep down the side of my numbers.

holey goal

Yes, I went for the obvious, cheesy image. Not the first time, won't be the last. Image from Swen-Peter Ekkebus.

In doing so, I realised something. I am one unobservant SOB. Okay, I knew that already, but this is really bad – I put number into that stat sheet nearly every day, and this is the first time in months that I’ve even glanced at my goals for the year!

So, what did I discover about my writing success? Some of my goals had shifted over the year, leaving a number of the targets on my sheet irrelevant. About half the information on that list is useless then. But out of the remaining goals, I had actually completed a few of them – go me! But, this is both good and bad.

I had actually completed some early on in the year – good! Had I reviewed this much earlier I could have set some new goals and reached further, but I didn’t – bad!

Also, I came very close to one of my goals, but it looks like I fell at the last hurdle. Again, a review of my targets could have seen me reach that little bit more and put another cross in a box.

The end result of all this? Missed opportunities. Obviously I don’t want this to happen again, so the first change I’ve made to my spreadsheet this year is to have an extra tickbox at the end of every month (I say “month”, but what I mean is four-week period, not calendar months). This is for my regular goal review, and it’s sitting neatly under every four-week block. It should serve as a reminder to check on my targets every month.

Plus, it’s another thing to tick off. We have to take every bit of gratification we can get!

And as a quick checklist, my review will ask the following questions:

  • Have I completed any of my goals?
  • Am I close to completing any more?
  • Have any goals become irrelevant?
  • What new goals have become relevant to my writing?

Okay, so that’s a good start anyway, if a little overdue. I might have said this at the end of my last post, but here’s to a good writing year! Stay focussed, peeps!

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  • Craig

    So would you say that overall, keeping this target list is a positive helpful thing?  I’ve never really had a target sheet of this kind (I know, I’m lazy, I don’t keep a journal either) and my writing has pretty much flatlined.  I was hoping to get a fresh start this year but y’know, distractions (Assassin’s Creed, Work, this fever I cant seem to shake…)

  • http://getmewriting.com Matt Roberts

    It’s a good motivator. But it helps if you take a good look at it now and again, otherwise you don’t really know how well you’re doing.

    If on the other hand, you take a good look at the numbers one day and see, “cool, I’m that close to beating my monthly record!” it gives you that extra boost.