When I write, I am waging war. Carving out the time to write is a daily battle (as I write this, my 5 year old is having a raging tantrum), sitting in the chair is a daily battle, and the long term objective is to win the war and write the books. All the books.
So I looked for inspiration from the Army Field Manual 100-5, Principles of War.
Here’s the one that is helping me the most. ”
“OBJECTIVE – Direct every military operation toward a clearly defined, decisive and attainable objective.”
In other words, if you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.
So I have a long term objective, a mid range objective, and short term goals.
- Long term objective – finish the book.
- Mid range objective – build my author platform.
- Short term goals – write every day, two blog posts a week (Monday and Wednesday)
I have been breaking down each long term objective into smaller and smaller pieces until they are concrete actions that I can complete. This is how I make my objective “attainable”.
You can use an acronym like “SMART” for measurable but I just keep it simple. Can I tell when I have completed the objective? If the answer is yes, then I know the objective is attainable.
This is the genius of NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo, you have 50k words to complete in 30 days. At the end of the 30 days, you can tell if you have attained this goal. At the end of each day, you can tell if you have completed 1,667 words. This is a well defined, decisive, attainable objective.
Long term: For the book, I have a scene list. For each scene, I have beats. For each writing session, I have elements I want to include. I make a short list of bullet points at the end of each scene that must be in the next writing session. Drilling down piece by piece like this has stopped the overwhelm. Also, it has speeded up scene writing because I have the beats. That’s not to say I don’t deviate when I’m actually making the words happen but at least I had a starting point.
Similarly, for the marketing, I do small bits each week. Mostly this has been about learning the marketing ropes, such as reading Heinlein’s Rules, taking courses, listening to podcasts like Self Publishing Formula. I aim for 30 minutes to 1 hr each day of passive learning/reading.
The short term goals satisfy both the long term and midterm objectives. When I write two blog posts, I hone my focus and improve the content richness of my author website. When I write every day, my body of fiction writing increases and my storycraft improves as well.
I found that articulating the long term object of finishing books made it easier to generate the action lists for each step there after. In the end, it’s glorified list making that gets you marching continuously in the right direction.