I started making quarterly writing goals in 2017. When I first began this adventure, I most certainly did not think that it was going to be much of an improvement over whatever yearly goals I was making before. It couldn’t be any worse though, so I gave it a try and it has made a huge impact on my writing career.
I started a quarterly goal planning schedule as opposed to a daily/weekly/monthly goal schedule for quite a few reasons. I am a list maker, and I like to have lists and cross things off of them. It makes me feel super accomplished. However, when I plan every hour, every day, every week, or even every month, these small periods of time, I find that I give over more time to planning out every moment, and I actually somehow manage to accomplish little of what I have planned in any given period of time.
As I’m sure you know, life never manages to go as planned, and even planning a week in advance is difficult, since I end up getting further and further behind as the week progresses. For this reason alone, planning one day at a time seems the most effective use, and yet that doesn’t really seem to work either, because I have to use a portion of every day, and stay on top of doing it, in order to make it 100% relevant.
So I decided this year to try out quarterly goals, and lo and behold, I have been kicking ass all year. The idea is to achieve at least half of the goals you set per quarter. I typically set 10-20 goals per quarter that I simply have to achieve. At the end of the quarter, you re-evaluate your list, make a new one, and continue kicking ass. This is way more effective than any other goal setting method because of the way you need to broadly word things.
Here’s an example. With other goal setting methods, you typically make goals that say specific things, for instance, “Write 500 words per day” or “Edit 6 pages per day.” With a quarterly goal count, it covers a longer period of time, while still being specific. In this manner, you would say, “Write 60,000 words of my Work-in-Progress,” or “Edit 100 pages.” If you can’t see the difference yet, let me explain.
There are about 90 days (give or take) in any given quarter. If you make daily goals, you have to count the number of times you reached 500 words every day. No lesser amount will count, even if you only achieved 492 that day. So in this example, in a 90 day period when I was doing daily word count goals, I would have achieved this count perhaps only 50 or 60 times per quarter. Which means that even though I did really good, really often, I still failed 30 or 40 times. In my mind, those are 30 complete failures. If I instead set the goal to write 60,000 words in three months, I win or I lose, and even if I lose, I’ve only felt like a failure once, instead of 30 days in a period.
This is the method that has really worked for me this year. I don’t have all the stats to show you, but I wanted to share with you how I did for the previous quarter’s goals and set new goals for the first quarter of 2018. Just as a note, I tend to break my quarterly goals up into categories, so that I can work on several aspects at once.
I know the quarter isn’t officially out yet, but here were the goals I set for 2017 Q4:
1. Write Multiverse Story – I’ve been realizing more and more that I haven’t figured the last part of the story out, though I do have 2/3 of it finished. I haven’t completed this, but I am getting closer to being ready to write the last part, working towards filling in some blanks every week.
2. Find 10 Beta Readers – I have had exactly one person apply to be a Beta reader. If you are interested in applying for the position, I could really use the help! You can find the application here: Zoe’s Awesome Beta Application
3. Finish a Round of Critiques – I am 14 of 22 chapters into this. While I started off the quarter strong, I wasn’t able to finish that way due to some crazy things happening around the holidays.
4. Look into Word Press for Websites – If you’re reading this, you’ll know this one is DONE! 5. Evaluate the current Social Media Situation – I made a spreadsheet. I love me some spreadsheets. DONE! 6. Find 10 Marketing Opportunities – I’m happy to say I thought this goal would be too lofty, but I nailed this one! 7. Look into making Youtube Videos – I have some content I am working on. I am not ready to share it just yet, as I do not quite have the hang of exporting my finished files and uploading them, but in the meantime, you can go over and visit my YouTube channel, hit ‘Subscribe’ and it will notify you when my first video goes live! Zoe’s YouTube 8. Upload Patreon-Only Content – I was a little late to the game because I made my Q4 Goals list late in October, but November and December saw tons of Patreon-Only exclusives, so I’m counting this as a WIN! 9. Make a Kindle Countdown Deal – You can only make one deal per book per quarter, but this I did for all of my books in November and December. Look for more deals next quarter. and as always, my Kindle e-books are available to read for free if you have Kindle Unlimited or Amazon Prime, so go check them out. Read Zoe’s Books
10. Undisclosed Sales Goal – I didn’t meet the goal, but I did see an increase in sales this quarter. It’s a failure, but hopefully, I won’t keep failing it for long.
11. Look into setting up a P.O. Box – I did this. I’m adulting hardcore right now. If you want to send me snail mail, please send it to Zoe Jane Carmina, P.O. Box 289, Riverton, WY. 82501. 12. Redo Chrome’s New Tab Page on Laptop – I love using Google Chrome as my web browser (Internet Explorer? People still use that?) but I hate the standard new tab page. I downloaded an extension that replaces Chrome’s new tab page with one that you can customize. This is a must because I am now on so many social media sites that it is much easier to click on them one by one and post updates and comment responses. ANYWAY~ I recently had an update on my laptop that basically broke the wireless internet card’s driver, and I ended up having to revert to a clean install of the system (it sucked). Now that I’m back online I had to redo the new tab page whose data was lost in the reversion. Um, so yeah. Long story short, that one is also DONE!
So if you were counting, I completed 8/12 goals this quarter, despite the chaos of the holidays. #WinningAtLife #LikeABoss
Now let me tell you my goals for 2018 Q1!
1. Write Multiverse Story – Hokay, so. Here we has ze Earth. “Zat is a sweet Earth” you might say. “Round.” Hokay so. I know that once I have this thing figured out, writing it will not take me very long at all, so I’m going to put in some extra effort to try to accomplish this goal.
2. Find 10 Beta Readers – Let me just say again that I have had exactly one person apply to be a Beta Reader. (Unless you count my entry, testing the form). If you are interested in applying for the position, I could really use the help! Zoe’s Awesome Beta Application
3. Finish a Round of Critiques – I am 14 of 22 chapters into this. I am literally over halfway finished, so I really need to get this done.
4. Decide on an Editor – If you can recommend anyone who works on Urban Fantasy novels, let me know in the comments!
5. Start an Email Newsletter – I’ve been trying to get this off the ground for some time now. The idea is that I will recap all the highlights on my social media sites ICYMI. I have not figured out how my current newsletter provider collects emails and sends the newsletters out, so I need to do some more poking around the site, and you can look forward to something in the near future.
6. Upload YouTube Videos – I have some content I am working on, that I hope to be rolling out soon, but in the meantime, you can go over and visit my YouTube channel, hit ‘Subscribe’ and it will notify you when my first video goes live! Zoe’s YouTube
7. Upload Patreon-Only Content – Remember those nifty spreadsheets that I like to use? I made one to help keep me on track with this goal.
8. Make another Kindle Countdown Deal – Look for more deals this quarter. I announce them on social media sites when they go live. As always, my Kindle e-books are available to read for free if you have Kindle Unlimited or Amazon Prime, so go check them out. Read Zoe’s Books
9. Undisclosed Sales Goal – We’ll try this again, shall we?
10. Start selling Signed Copies of my books – I’m not totally certain how to accomplish this, but it is something I am looking into.
11. Make Sure Google Drive and Flash Drive files are up to date – I am really bad about saving something to my flash drive, and then looking for the file on Google Drive (or vice-versa). Once in a while, I need to make sure I’m using the same version of the file throughout, or I could write something in an old version and never find it again. ;_;
12. Deep clean my life, the universe, and everything – Okay, maybe not the universe (could you actually reverse entropy?), but my desk and the office both need a serious deep cleaning before the quarter is out. I have bits of packaging supplies all over the place now that Christmas is through, so the office needs an overhaul.
I have 12 goals to complete this quarter, assuming I don’t go crazy and add a million more.
What do your goals look like? How often do you evaluate and goal plan? What are your strategies for getting things done? Let me know in the comments below!