Monday, January 24th, 2011

Motivation for Meeting Writing Goals

SpreadsheetAs you know, last year I didn’t submit to magazines as many “pieces” — my generic term for both fiction and non-fiction — as I wanted to. Though, if I’d planned it better (rather than completely focusing on other things) I might have.

And I might have had more than the three pieces accepted for publication.

One of my 2011 goals is focused on making more submissions (which will, I hope, lead to more acceptances). But other than setting myself a reminder on the calendar, I wasn’t sure how to make this happen.

And even if I did schedule it, how could I guarantee I’d have something to submit when the time came?

Today I stumbled on a method which might work, and I wanted to share.

I keep this spreadsheet (I love me some spreadsheets) which tells me just about everything I need to know about submission I make:

  • Name of the story/article/query letter, etc.
  • Type of submission (Fiction, Non-Fiction, Microfiction [added in 2010!] Query, etc.)
  • Where it was submitted
  • Date Submitted
  • Whether it’s still out or not
  • How many days it’s been out
  • Date I received a reply
  • Notes

Over the years it’s evolved (via much writing procrastination and cat waxing) into a document which tells me yearly totals and percentages of each of those, how many total submissions I’ve made in my writing life, what kind of stories I’ve placed more often, average days out, etc.

(Yeah – there have been days when the spreadsheet, rather than the WIP, has ruled my life.

But, I digress.)

Spreadsheets being what they are, I add a line at the bottom when I’ve made a submission and all the formatting is automatic. I usually close it fairly quickly unless I need to reference something. End of file.

But, today, I added 30 blank lines at the bottom of the file….which are begging to be filled.

Such a small, visual change…but seeing the blank lines has me itching to fill them (and motivated to write something new to submit) – as soon as possible. I’m fairly confident I’ll make, and probably exceed, this 2011 goal.

What tricks do you use to motivate you?

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Organizing, anyone? I’m Open to Suggestions…

OrganizedI’m trying to get organized.

Every once in a while when things seem to get out of hand, I decide I need to be more organized.

The fact is: I am really organized. I’m just trying to do too much. I don’t have enough hours in the day to fit everything in.

(Whenever anyone asks me, “What do you want for ___ — fill in the blank: Christmas, Birthday, Other Special Event — I always answer “more time.”)

With the holidays approaching, I’ve reached crunch time again and I feel like everything is going to pieces (even if it’s not). So, I’m back in organization mode (and a bit of procrastinating, too…funny how those seem to go hand-in-hand.)

A while back I tried a “personal wiki” to get things organized, and I loaded one again tonight. I’m using the “GTD Plus” wiki which I can run on a thumb drive. It’s going to take some configuring to make it work, but it does have more going for it than the first version.

I’ve got some novel edits to finish (and then send off to prospective agents), I’ve got a short story to finish for a contest, and another to finish just because it needs to be done, and I’ve got “shared world” manuals to read so that I can submit some stories for that…

….and oh, there’s the cookie baking, and the gift shopping, and the wrapping, and house cleaning… Well, you get the idea.

So,how do you get it all done? What can I do to squeeze more time out of a day? How can I automate things to get more done?