Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Ready or Not. It's Time to Show Up. ~By Suzy Leopold

Perhaps there are times when you think it isn't the right time to write.  

I'm not ready to write that book. I can't write because I have so much to do.

Perhaps you are a writer, or desire to be a writer, but you are stuck in a pattern of defeat. Dismiss the negative thoughts. You have been given a life that includes goodness, frustrations, blessings, distractions, beliefs and doubts. Dismiss the self-doubt.

In the midst of all of the items on your daily to-do list, your family needs, the demands at work, numerous deadlines, and so forth, don't forget about you and your needs and desires. Sure you have needs for happiness, comfort and good health for you and your loved ones. These are all good desires that everyone deserves in life.

With a new year around the corner, it is time to uncover the needs and desires that make an imprint on your soul and express who you are as a writer. 

Begin thinking about bite-size goals and resolutions for 2016.
One of the greatest road blocks a writer faces is the lack of structure. There is no one to tell you what to do and when to do it.

A writer needs goals.

If you don't know where you are headed or what road to take, how will you know when you are there?

Start small. Show a willingness. Begin with an open heart. This is about an emotion of readiness and not a feeling of courage. If you wait to feel courageous before you begin writing, you may be waiting forever.

Learn how to set specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely goals for your writing career.

Specific: Write clear, precise and definite goals that provide a target. If goals are too broad or too general they will be hard to achieve. 
Measurable: Goals must be written so that a writer can measure progress and know when the goals are achieved. Goals are useless if they can't be measured.
Attainable: Think about the steps to take to achieve the goals.
Relevant: Make sure the goals are just right; not too easy and not too challenging.
Timely: Follow a definite timeline. As you check your progress, adjust as need be.

Perhaps you could begin with the Five Ws. Include the word How.

First Step: Set Goals
Second Step: Get to Work
Third Step: Stick to It
Fourth Step: Make a Plan
Fifth Step: Achieve
Consider setting up a list of short-term goals and a list of long-term goals. Short-term goals are reasonable goals that can be accomplished during 2016. The other list will include reasonable goals that will take longer and eventually be accomplished over time.

Which of the following examples are SMART Goals? Which are only dreams that will cause frustration?

I will read X number of books on the craft of writing during 2016.

I will become a published writer in 2016. 

I will research and write X number of picture book manuscripts in 2016.

I will become a famous author in 2016.

I will attend X number of writing retreats, conferences and/or workshops in 2016.

I will write and sell my first chapter book for $100 k.

I will study and examine X number of picture books as mentor texts.

I will purchase all recently published picture books.

If we are to live our lives fully and well, we must learn to embrace the opposites, to live in a creative tension between our limits and our potentials. We must honor our limitations in ways that do not distort our nature, and we must trust and use our gifts in ways that fulfill the potentials God gave us.
~Parker Palmer

Don't sit down to write without a set of goals. A writer needs goals to have a direction and a purpose.

Showing up where you are with what you have is what good writers do. Time to write. Time to create. 


  1. Setting goals is the important first step - and making sure they are things you can do.
    Then - show up at the page. So much of the valuable stuff we do is accomplished by showing up. Even if it's a crappy writing day, show up. Because you never know what's gonna happen on that page.

    1. So very true, Sue. Goals are important and give a writer the path to follow. A writer does need to show up to write.
      ~Sue Leopold

    2. Great post! Getting ready to write my goals. After I wrap a few more presents. LOL Thanks for the inspiration!

    3. My pleasure, Ellen. Wrap and then write.
      ~Suzy Leopold

  2. Replies
    1. Excellent! Super! Thank YOU, Jane.
      ~Suzy Leopold

  3. Suzy, your graphics are so much fun to see and make this post entertaining! The way to approach goals, bite by bite, in doable form is great. Very SMART!

    1. Creating and setting up for photos to support a post is always fun to do, Kathy. Since we both are educators, a librarian and an educator, you and I understand the importance of visuals.
      ~Prairie Garden Girl

  4. Beautiful post, Suzy! Thank you for the extra end-of-the year push.

    1. All the best, Christy, as you think about goals that will support you and your writing.

  5. What a wonderful post! This is so important and you make it organized and doable!!!

    1. And thank you, Kristi, for your thoughts. May you continue to move forward and celebrate success as you prepare a list of SMART goals to inspire your writing.

  6. Thank you, Suzy, for this inspiring post. You have given me impetus to set my goals in place for 2016!

    1. May your 2016 SMART goals move you in the right direction to achieve and accomplish picture book manuscripts ready for publication, Cute Charlotte. ~Suzy

  7. So true, Suzy. I only recently figured this out in the past year. I have a mild goal phobia (kidding, but kind of not) and discovered that if I look at the idea of setting goals from a different angle, then it's not so scary or intimidating (i.e. Schedule specific writing tasks in my personal planner, which is literally the same thing as setting small, attainable goals. For some reason, this method of using a word other than "goal" tricks my brain into feeling more capable and less worried about failing). Thanks for the great post. :)

    1. Thank you, Christie, for your idea of what works for you while *tricking your brain*. All the best to you with your specific writing tasks in the new year.