Sunday, 29 January 2017

How Expectation Can Help You

We are near the end of the first month of 2017. How are you doing on your new year goals?

Previously, I mentioned that goals needed to be SMART, but knowing what keeps you motivated will help you in achieving them. When we set a goal, we are setting expectations. Gretchen Rubin, author of 'Better Than Before', describes two types of expectations: outer and inner.

Outer expectations are those placed on us by others (deadlines, law) and inner expectations are those we place on ourselves (cut back sugar, get out more).

Gretchen also explains, how we all possess one or more of four tendencies: Upholder, Questioner, Obliger or Rebel. - and these are closely linked with how we respond to expectations, and therefore whether we are likely to meet our goals.

Upholders generally respond to both inner and outer expectations.
Questioners question expectations. But if they agree with the expectation, they will follow it.
Obligers can meet outer expectations more easily than inner expectations.
Rebels resist all expectations.

I am an obliger and as such  I have a blog buddy, and I have joined in a word war with a writer friend. This keeps me accountable. And as long as I remember I am an obliger, I can always make my goals work for me.

So, to figure out what type of tendency you have and for advice on how to make it work for you to meet your goals visit the four tendencies quiz page and answer the questions! It takes around 10 minutes, and at the end, you have your answer. You also get the opportunity to download a free report on your tendency. I hope this helps you stick to your goals, and you can be proud of all you have achieved in 2017.

I would love to know if you do the test, and what the outcome is. Feel free to put it in the comments below.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

On Being A Writer - Part One

What makes a writer? I am afraid to say I cannot answer that question. I guess the answer is as individual as each of us.

However this is what has been posed to me as I read 'On being A Writer'. I'm currently working towards identifying as a writer.

Now I have already written one full length novel, tried to edit it (to no avail! It is beyond help), and moved on to write a few short stories. I have restarted the same writing course, again to no avail. But I am always writing.

I have started many blogs, but never followed them through. Yet here I am again. Right now, on my hard drive is over 2000 words across a variety of projects. The thing I need to do is write. When I think of my dream job, I am the novelist. My fantasy is to write stories, to tell stories. There is nothing in me more than this.

My fiance says I am a writer because I write. I challenged him to NaNoWriMo last year. He was full of ideas, yet not a word was written. He says that is because he isn't a writer. When I asked him what I put as occupation on our marriage certificate, he said writer. Even if I haven't sold a word. Because I am, apparently.

So for me to identify as a writer, I need to have been published, and to have sold my work.

One thing I have learnt as I explore what it means to be a writer, is that it takes all sorts to be a writer. I find this odd, as no one is reluctant to call themselves an engineer, or a sales assistant. I think writers hide from the world. No one really knows who is a writer, as we sit silently behind our computer screens typing out the next best seller (we hope). 

Being a writer is like being a mum. If you are a mum, you start meeting lots of other mums. But you soon learn that just because you share the same identity tag, that you aren't the same. Because we are all very different. I have met lots of wonderful mums - and writers, but the title is as loose as it can be.

Are you a writer? What comes to mind when you hear the word 'writer'? Please let me know.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Murder in Mind

In my last post I mentioned I wanted to read 12 books this year, to do with writing. I chose 'On Being A Writer', and I have started on that. However, in my desire to write a story, I have also started reading two others: 'From Story Idea to Reader' by Patsy Collins and Rosemary J Kind, and 'Writing Crime Fiction' by Rosemary Rowe.

I am not yet ready to talk about what I have learned from On Being A Writer, but I look forward to working my way through it. I haven't completed the other two, but I will say that 'From Story Idea to Reader' is a good all round guide, for anyone interested in writing fiction, in any genre. I have found it informative and useful. Through reading it, even though not even a quarter of the way through, I now have a possible setting for a story I am working on. I will be continuing reading it, and see how it helps. No doubt it will be one of those books I turn to again and again.

'Writing Crime Fiction' is especially useful for wannabe crime writers like myself. I always struggled as crime fiction doesn't follow the exact same rules as other genres. Not that it doesn't follow those rules at all, just that they are a little more blurred. And so i found it difficult to come up with a coherent plot. I also have three pages in my notebook filled with possible motives for murder. Should I disappear abruptly, assume the police have take me in for questioning! I am also learning what crime I should be writing (and reading!). Today, I bought my first Agatha Christie book - The Murder at the Vicarage - and cannot wait to read it! I have a list of authors the book recommends for my area of crime expertise. It will really widen my horizons!

So this week has been spent mostly thinking of murder. And it has been so much fun!

How has your week been spent? Anything exciting happen?

Sunday, 8 January 2017

SMART Goals are Clever

The kids are back at school this week following Christmas break. December 2016 saw me running around like a headless chicken, with school plays, craft mornings, additional church services and family commitments weighing in on any time I had. Not to mention shopping for presents and food! I do hope that this year, when Christmas comes back around that I am far more organised.

But now the kids are back at school, I have more time to pursue this main goal in my life. Last time I wrote, I gave vague ideas as to my writing goals. Now I have had the time and space to think, I have been able to nail the ideas down into something solid and S.M.A.R.T.

S.M.A,R.T goals are ones that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.

So here are my long term goals:

To submit 12 short stories

I have earmarked a few competitions, but this goal will keep me writing!

To submit 12 Articles

These can either be ones written for the course, or independent ones. Submission to my tutor does not count!

To read 12 books on writing

I am sure I can smash this. Last year I read 20 something books - both fiction and non-fiction. But these have to be aimed specifically at writing.

To complete 12 assignments

I have to complete my course by October 2019. I am quite behind. I really need to focus on this.

To write 52 blog posts

That's 1 a week. I have already written 2 this year. So 50 more to go!

To complete 'Life, curated' and 'plotting workshop'.

These are e-mail courses for Ninja Writers. To find out how to become a Ninja Writer, head on over to here. But don't forget to pop back and leave a comment!

To write more snail mail letters

I stumbled across this blog post, and it made so much sense. I shall try for an average of 1 a month.

I want to have these as monthly goals, but I shan't bore you with that level of detail!

I hope that you have written your goals down - whatever they may be. How are you doing? Have you made a start, and made your goals S.M.A.R.T.?

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Happy New Year

As I write this, 2017 is just days away. I have been very fortunate to find someone who has similar goals as I do, and we have buddied up. This is my first post, not only of 2017 but since I have found a 'Blog Buddy'.

The brief was to get a post up on January 1st. Through our conversations I have learnt that I have quite a bit to blog about. So before I get down to the meat of this post, I thought I ought to get one thing clear. I am going to be going against the rules. All the stuff I read about blogging says that I should focus on one thing, and one thing only. Well, I guess I am not really going against the rules, as that thing is me! I know, it sounds narcissistic, and it really won't be 'me, me, me' but more of a 'what is happening in my little part of the world'. There will be a bit about writing, as that is my main focus. There will probably be a lot about wedding planning as 2017 is the year I finally get married. And after careful consideration, I will probably write about the Special Needs jungle, as my son has as yet undiagnosed difficulties.

And to start the year off, I shall lay my goals out, and be accountable.

The blog will be updated weekly.

Instead of trying to accomplish many things, I will try to accomplish one or two at a time. One thing I learnt in 2016 is that I wasn't great at finishing. I was always ready for the next new thing. I have many books I want to work through, and was bought a 'Teach Yourself' one for Christmas which I am eager to start. However, I want to finish the others that I started first! No order has been decided yet. I will choose the first one by January 1st and update in the blog due on January 7th!

I will continue with the Writers Bureau course I am on.

I will enter more writing competitions and write more self-decided articles.

The biggest goal, which will help me achieve all others, is to get organised - both at home and with work.

Do you have any goals for 2017, or any tips?