February Goal: Mid-month Update

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My goal for February, according to “My Monthly Goals for 2018” is to write four new chapters for my second book.  My first book, “Do What I Say: Life as my Mother Predicted” came out one year ago this week and had been a life long goal of mine.  I was able to brainstorm, create, and release that book thanks to setting monthly goals as a part of my Gals with Goals blog, so I figured I’d take the same approach for book #2.  Here’s how things are shaking out at the mid-point of the month . . .

As a side note, since many have asked — the idea for my second book will serve as almost a sequel to my first book.  It will be a similar format of short essays about my life (some serious, some humorous) and each chapter will open with a piece of advice my father has given me.

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My goal this month:  Write four new chapters for my second book

How it’s going:  Great!  As of mid-month, I’ve been able to write three chapters.  These chapters are what famous author Anne Lamott would call an “SFD” (“shitty first draft”).  Out of the three chapters I’ve written so far this month, one I’m like “eh, this could be better and I’m sure the creative pieces will hit me soon,” one I’m like “this idea will be so relatable for people, I need to go back and edit this one for sure,” and the other one I’m like “glad I finally got that story out on paper, it’s been a year in the making in my brain.”

Things that have helped:  After a couple weeks of this goal, here are the things that have kept me going so far . . .

*Being okay with “shitty first drafts.”  Trying to self edit is so hard when you’re writing, and to be honest, after you’ve published one book it becomes even harder to fight that urge because you’re typing what is loose and unedited and the whole time you’re like “this is terrible, it’s so elementary, am I even going to use this?”  So writing with the mindset of a first time author instead of a second time author has helped.

*Setting the actual goal.  It’s common knowledge that writing a book is hard, and it’s common knowledge that it takes a long time, but the level of accountability I feel when I set monthly goals and blog about it really helps me out.  I knew on February 1 that I was going to have to have four new chapters by February 28, even if only one actually makes it into the book.  So that has helped.

*Taking a day off work to write.  I was heading to a retreat with some girlfriends this past weekend which started Friday evening, so I took Friday off work and didn’t waste time driving to a coffee shop and making a whole production of all of it — I got up, went downstairs to get water, tea, supplements, and a granola bar, and then headed back upstairs to make the bed and then climb into the bed again (I’m one of those people — I just need a made bed, okay?!) and then I just wrote.  I turned off my work email notifications and just simply wrote the words.  Thank God I fell into a writers flow.

*I prepped for writing times.  I have a really hard time writing if I have a lingering work project on my mind, or if I haven’t talked to my parents yet that day but anticipate they may text me, or if I haven’t done that one chore at home, or if we need things from the grocery, etc.  Before I write now I’m noticing if I get the calls, texts, and some of those lingering things done then I’m more what I call “free of mind” to write.  Additionally, I find that just listening to some music, scrolling through photos from the last year on my phone, and just calming my mind and getting in a place of reflection helps a lot.  If you have writers block, scan through your photos and think about how you felt at the time they were taken . . . 20 minutes later you’ll find words flowing.

*I started using Instacart.  You know how I referenced above that I can’t write if I have lingering chores?  Well, making a weekly grocery run is one of my chores.  I signed up for Instacart which now delivers food from Whole Foods, and long story short, what used to be an hour and a half production for me is now five minutes worth of opening my door, grabbing the bags from the person who did my shopping, and putting the groceries away.  Some may argue that it’s pricey, but the groceries are the same cost, the service is $14.99 per month, and then I give a tip.  It’s worth the price of the tip to save myself the time.  Last Friday when I took the day off, I would’ve spent an hour and a half shopping but instead used that time for writing.

*I had ideas saved in my phone.  Many times, I will get an idea for a story at an inopportune time (like when I’m driving or at work), so I simply put the idea in my phone and save it for later.  Sometimes, later comes, and then the idea has left me or doesn’t feel quite as clever, but going into this month I had probably 20+ ideas so by the time I actually sat down to write it was a matter of which would be left standing and which I was in the mood to write.

*I reminded myself I love writing.  I love words and creating blogs and books, so I’ve kept a mindset of being excited about spending time doing something I love.

*I booked my editor.  I contacted my editor and let him know I’d have a manuscript ready to review by late summer/early fall.  It was just a self imposed deadline but helped make it all become real.

Stay tuned for how the rest of the month shakes out . . .