A Plan for 2017: An IWSG Post

This is my first post ever for the Insecure Writers Support Group. A friend on Twitter suggested I start writing posts for this group, which is weird because I feel like I’m one of the writers that need encouragement. But I am reminded that I can encourage others with my experiences. So, here goes. 

As we’re a few days into the new year, I thought I’d share about goals. By now, most writers have an idea of goals they want to see come to fruition. And they most likely have a plan. That was certainly not me last year. I made an egregious error in not putting a plan to progress toward my goals of writing a novel or starting a short story series. But I will add two other mistakes that kept me from reaching my goals.

One, I broadcasted my goals on my blog and social media. Now to some people, this is not a big deal. It might even be a good thing. Posting your goals can push accountability and discipline. And there will be people who will support your endeavors. On the flip side, it creates a tremendous amount of pressure to perform. And some people may struggle with “performance anxiety.” I was on the negative end of the spectrum. Lacking discipline was surely a factor in not meeting, even scrapping my goals. But I put a lot of pressure on myself to take on something I probably wasn’t ready for. And that brings me to number two. Succumbing to peer pressure. Just because you see or read about someone else’s writing endeavor doesn’t mean you can do the same. It kind of falls along the lines of “if he can do it, I can do it, too.” The one thing I learned from my failures of last year is that I can’t do what everyone else does. Some people might excel in churning out 1000 words a day or writing a short story in one sitting. I can’t because I’m not the person who can. I shouldn’t try to be someone I’m not. That’s not to say that I shouldn’t push myself to be better, but my writing life shouldn’t revolve around someone else’s.

I spent the past week thinking about what I want to accomplish in 2017. The list is not long; last year’s wasn’t either. The difference is that I made a plan on how to accomplish these goals. I have a page on Evernote breaking down what I need to do to meet those goals. And I’m allowing room for flexibility. Not every plan is going to go off without a hitch. I have to allow room for error. It’s the best way to learn. Also, I decided not to broadcast them on social media. Is there pressure to perform? Absolutely. But rather than broadcasting to the entire world, I’m keeping it to a few close-knit people. (I’m still working on developing said circle of writers.)

I wish all my writing friends and fellow bloggers the best of luck in 2017. I hope you meet your writing goals, along with anything else you hope to accomplish. By the end of this year, I want to say that I met my goals. But there is no shame if I don’t. I just have to try harder.


10 thoughts on “A Plan for 2017: An IWSG Post

  1. It’s funny how we’re all different, but we’re educated and encouraged to ignore this fact. Good for you in finding your own rhythm and pace. That planner Tui shared on the chat this week was excellent for looking back at 2016 and planning for this year, if you’re interested I’d check it out. Happy New Year!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I think you’re sensible – I had a big project to finsih by the first of Jan and only shared the deadline (and the forfeit) with close friends that were nice enough to be supportive but mean enough to make sure the forfeit was carried out if I failed.

    Plus it was something I knew was doable with the right amount of effort from me. You know, the sort where you actually turn up every day rather than wondering off to watch box sets.

    Best of luck with your own goals and finding a circle that you can trust and share your aspirations with

    Will you share when they are accomplished? (I like cheering people on)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for the encouragement. Developing a circle has taken a lot of time. I post requests for stories I want read. I get responses from various people. It’s not always the same person. Although, I have one accountability partner that I need to contact more. There are a few people on Twitter who I share my work with. Again, the people vary but it’s a little more close-knit. I think I need two or three more people who will really hold me accountable.

      As far as posting my accomplishments, I thought about it. Sometimes, I feel like my accomplishments are something to brag about. But it might encourage someone to finish their work, which is what I want to do.

      Thank you again for the comments.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. First off, welcome aboard. I haven’t been a part of IWSG for all that long, but I’ve found it to be a wonderfully supportive group of folks. I’m sure you will, too.

    You’re wise to set flexible goals for yourself and to have plans in place to help you achieve them. We may not always achieve our goals, but we must always aspire.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. So glad you’ve jumped into the #IWSG group! Like you, I find Evernote super helpful. I do so much research for my various non-fiction projects, that I would be lost without it.

    Also, I know what you mean about keeping your goals to yourself. Sometimes it feels right to share them publicly, but other times it doesn’t. For instance, I really enjoyed doing Nanowrimo this year, which is certainly quite public. I guess what I liked about it wasn’t so much making my goals public as it was feeling the momentum of all those other writers alongside me.

    I think it’s good to share your ups and your downs with other writers. If all I ever see is someone else’s successes, then I think they never fail and vice versa. Seeing the entire picture is what inspires me the most.

    Once again, glad to see you’re giving #IWSG a try! 😀

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Great post. Goals are tough. Anytime I post what I’m doing, things go wrong, so I don’t blame you for keeping it close. But, we should all try to push ourselves to do better.
    Best of luck to you!
    Heather M. Gardner
    Co-Host – The Insecure Writer’s Support Group

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Like you, I also learned a valuable lesson about peer pressure in the writing community in 2016. We tend to say, “Well, so and so can write X words a day,” so why shouldn’t I be able to? But we all have our own challenges, obstacles, and personalities. And if you look at 100 successful authors, they each have their own challenges and processes. There’s no one right way to approach the writing life.

    I commend you for keeping your specific goals close to your chest. I’ve set some modest word-count targets, but I’m not sharing as much about my deadlines for specific projects, etc., because I need more flexibility at the moment.

    Good luck!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. George, like you, putting my goals out there for everyone to gawk at puts me in the negative mood. I truly believe that if I keep good intentions to myself, I’m more likely to see them through. Keeping it all to myself puts about the right amount of pressure on me so that I see the task to the end without making me feel that I’m not measuring up in some way. I know, weird, but this really seems to be the case with me. Is this what is called a lack of self-esteem?

    Liked by 3 people

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