Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Tips for Setting 2017 Realistic Writing Goals

What do you think about goals?

Check out the graphic below. This picture was taken of the wall in the kitchen where my "corner office" is located and was probably taken 2 years ago. I soon realized I could not diversify my life into SIX income areas like this. Two of them took up way too much time and saw little return (Younique and Jamberry direct sales), plus I felt like I was alienating friends and family. 

I stopped posting all the time about makeup and nail wraps and spent more time focusing on posting about my books and -- guess what? -- I sold more books. Plus that time I was spending on direct sales, something that I'm not even good at or that I love, took away from writing time ... blogging, magazine articles, books. I don't know about you, but my time is extremely limited. Seems like I sit down to write and someone needs me to come sit outside the bathroom with them so the monsters don't get them.

What's my point? I have a few.

If you're going to set goals, make them real. You won't ever hear me saying, "I'm going to write 10 books this year and homeschool my kids so they can all recite every piece of literature ever written by the end of this year plus weekly dates with my husband and soup kitchen volunteering every day. Oh, and I'm going to get 6-pack abs and lose 30 pounds." No, my goals are more like write an article a month at this point. Part of the reason for my limited time is that my family lately needs my proofreading income for anything fun or extra we might want to do, including any sports or Scouts or camps or movies.

My other point is that you need to get rid of a bunch of mental stuff before you can set those goals. You have to take a hard look at your calendar. You have to sometimes ask for help in carpooling and playdates and sleepovers for kids. If you are beyond the little kid stage or don't have any, you have to block out Netflix, Facebook, friends thinking your writing time is not sacred, family members asking for favors constantly. I am telling you right now that it's okay to say NO. And get used to that pouty look on your teen's face when you say no, you are not driving him/her to yet another location this week and they can just hang out for ONE DAY! Boredom breeds creativity, kid.

*Check out my post on Time Management for Writers here
*And my post about putting your butt in your seat here

A goal doesn't have to be set on January 1st or forget it. You can start on April 17th and set a 100-day goal to finish something. Or just set a goal that you are going to write 200 words every single day for 100 days then revisit. Check out my review post here of The Nifty 15, where the author talks about just sitting down for 15 minutes a day to work on your goal. You can set income goals (I'll make $1,000 this month), writing goals (I'll write 1 article per week), or time goals (I'll write for one hour a day). Slow progress is still progress.

Also, use any tools you can find to help you out! For instance, in order to get in some FitBit steps while also grabbing a library book or returning a Redbox or paying my house payment or grabbing some milk, I take along my iPhone and I use the dictation feature in Notes. I dictate article ideas and book sections as I walk. I call it triple-tasking. If you don't have an iPhone, or even if you do, there are great free apps for dictation. I come home and upload my note to email, then copy it to a new document or to the book I'm working on currently.

Okay, so it's time for my goals. It's going to be an insane year once again as I check out my calendar, and also my husband might be gone for weeks at a time overseas for work, so that always throws a wrench into life and sends the pizza delivery person a callin'.


  1. Write and submit one original regional parenting article per month for a total of 12 for the year.
  2. Blog when an idea hits me that I think would benefit other writers (this blog) and other parents (The Kerrie Show) and homeschoolers (Homeschooling Mommybot).
  3. Publish 3 books this year on Kindle (ebook) and CreateSpace (print). This will include the 7th edition of Make Money to Write About Your Kids, as well as The Ultimate Busy Parents on the Go Cookbook, plus one other that I can decide later.

Please share your goals with me, big and small, in the comments section! Do you set income goals or writing goals or time goals? I'd love to see how we all do at the end of the year! And come and see us here, in the Regional Parenting Magazine Writers Facebook group. Please join and converse with us!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Time Management for Writers at Home

Tonight I was doing random household tasks and thinking about how much writing and proofreading work I still had to do. I thought about all the laundry, dishes, homeschooling, meals, phone calls, errands and details I handle or take care of every day and how often people are amazed that I can crank out articles and ebooks while (mostly) keeping my sanity, maintaining marriage and having a blast with my kids.

And it came to me.

We all have the same amount of time every day to with what we want/need to do.

So how do I fit it all in?
  1. Well, I start by making sure I get enough sleep so I am in premium condition. I don't try to get by on 6 hours when I know I need 8 to be a kind, functioning human being.
  2. I plan our meals in advance so I'm not scrambling at the last minute for something for us to eat. I try to double meals when I make them so I have another in the freezer for another time.
  3. I make a Work Sandwich. I do a chunk of my work in the morning when most of the kids are asleep, then fill up the Attention Tanks of my kids the rest of the day. At night when they are worn out and watching a movie, I flop down by them with my laptop and crank out another hour or so of work.
  4. I do things as fast as I can and try to focus on one task at a time. It's hard! But if I keep getting distracted, ADD-style, the job takes FOREVER!
  5. I keep a list in pencil of everything I need/want to do and put a number priority next to each thing up to only 10. As I finish something, I erase it. That leaves room for something else to fill its spot, but hopefully only after I've finished two more things!!!! Update: I use Pilot FriXion Clicker Retractable Erasable Gel Pens now and use a Moleskine Classic Notebook for a bullet journal!
  6. Oh, and of course I have the kids help out around the house. After all, I'm working to pay for gymnastics and other fun things, so they can certainly toss the dry laundry in a basket and bring it up to my bedroom, right?

I'd love to hear how you get it all done! Even if your kids are in school during the day while you work from home, I'm pretty sure you still have some challenges with keeping on task. How do you power through?

And speaking of SAVING TIME, I have saved you hours by compiling editor email addresses and popping them into this affordable book full of advice, tips and writer's guidelines.

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