Each week, I check in with myself and review what I'm working on, what's exciting me, what I'm struggling with, and what I'm looking forward to in the next week.
I share my Sunday check-ins with the hope that you might do the same. If you do, please let me know! Leave a comment here, or if you'd rather, you can always email me at email@example.com.
Celebrate Your Achievements
This week I'm doing something a little different for my Sunday check-in. Today is a celebration of all I've achieved recently, and a look at how I did it.
A New Approach to Planning
I spent the last week of August planning for September through December. I'm calling it my Fall Semester. I've been playing around with a different approach to planning and goal-setting for a while and it's starting to come together. Since I've been missing the kind of structure and guided learning of a university, I've decided to try approaching my own interests as self-directed classes. I select which interests to focus on in a given "semester" and create goals based on what I want to achieve in that time.
This semester, I'm focused on a few areas:
- Developing Curious Journals - the blog, Instagram, and the Vacation Dream Book project.
- Personal essay writing - for blogging and publication.
- Novel writing - learning to get into the flow of the "shitty first draft."
During my planning, I committed to treating each of these as I would a college course. I would set deadlines and assignments, and meet those commitments. I believe a few key principles will help me follow through:
Doable tasks and deadlines
I've failed in the past when I set goals and tasks that were just too ambitious for the amount of time and energy I would have to follow through. Over-commiting is the best way to guarantee a sense of failure because of missed deadlines.
For me, meaningful deadlines mean some kind of external event. A few months ago I was looking at writers' conferences to attend next year. I discovered the Surrey International Writing Conference in British Colombia, which is a professional development conference specifically for new writers held every October. When I was setting my goals for September, i knew that I needed to move on from the planning stages to actually writing prose. Just setting a daily writing goal was probably not enough to motivate me, without a sense of an end date or ultimate goal. An October 2018 conference gave me the perfect deadline for finishing a first draft, needing just 250 words a day.
If you're familiar with Gretchen Rubin's Four Tendencies, you'll understand when I say I'm a Rebel (if you're not, read an overview here). It's true, as she says, that Rebels can do whatever we want, but we're naturally going to buck against expectations and obligations. Putting some flexibility into my schedule is important for me to have a sense that I'm choosing what I want to do from a few options. For example, I'd set a novel writing goal of 250 words a day, but a weekly target of 1750. If I miss a day, or just can't hit that 250, I can make it up later in the week without getting so far behind I would miss my ultimate goal of a first draft next year.
Flexibility also comes into play with what I've set as my daily and weekly routines and tasks. It's an ongoing an experiment, to see what I can fit in, what's too much, and what I can accomplish when I'm truly focused. I'll change it up as needed.
It's Your Turn!
What accomplishments are you celebrating this week? Does your current planning process work? If not, what will you try next? Share on Instagram with the hashtag #curiousjournals or #sundaycheckin