I hate wrestling the perfectionist demon. He's time consuming, and never satisfied.
“To be published” isn’t a plan. After all, it’s largely out of my control. It’s more accurately a hope. A dream. A vision of what I want to happen in the future. It so happens, this is the definition of “Intention,” and identifying my Intention is step one on Aaron's Goal-setting Worksheet.
STEP ONE: identify Intention: to be published
This step is easy. Since I have a completed novel, and since I plan to pursue publishing in the “traditional” model, my next step on the road to publication is to submit my work to agents.
STEP TWO: identify Focus: submission
How about this: I'll write a good book and show it to good agents.
Wrong. Apparently all goals aren’t created equal. The statements “write a good book” and “show it to good agents” are too vague. Too subjective. It would be almost impossible to know if I’ve achieved them or not.
Dang. Step Three is complicated. I need to break it down. I’ll go backward since Aaron's worksheet provides the answer for “T” so I don't have to think about it.
Relevant: it has to relate to my Focus and Intention
Attainable: it must be reasonable for me to accomplish in the time allowed
Measurable: there should be a gauge by which to assess failure or success
Specific: the goal should be explicit, clear-cut, and well defined
Yes, I used a thesaurus and I’m not ashamed.
I can do that.
STEP THREE: S.M.A.R.T. goal for this week – revise the first 50 pages of my novel, write a cover letter, and submit these to Agent A.
The last step on Aaron’s Goal-setting Worksheet is to commit to working toward my goal at specific times this week.
Okay, I did that. But forgive me if I decline to tell you when. I don’t want a scolding if you happen to see me on Facebook or at a coffee shop during those times.
Then again, maybe that’s exactly that kind of public shame (Aaron prefers to call it “accountability”) that will keep me on track….
STEP FOUR: commit to schedule – Tuesday through Friday mornings
So permit me another revision.
STEP FIVE: commit to schedule – Tuesday through Friday mornings, plus Sunday if needed
I feel pretty good about this. With a clear plan, the daunting task of sending a 50 page submission to Agent A seems a lot less daunting.
You’ll have to check back to find out if I get distracted by creating a shiny new name, allow my demon (Bob? Joe?) to derail me, or if I actually make progress on revisions of my 50 pages.
I love revision. Almost as much as I love naming. And contingency plans.