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The thinky post

I liked the image I used in the post the other day so well that I am reusing it. Why not? Pinky and Brain are symbolic in a lot of ways of my thought process.

Brain represents my methodical planning part - the part that sat down with a pen and paper last night and started making lists. I'm not going to tell you what all my specific goals and dreams are for 2011, but I will tell you what the categories are and what some of the things on the list are after this digression about goals and dreams:

Goals v. Dreams: They are separate things, you know - make no mistake about it. A dream is something you wish or hope for, whereas a goal is a specific, measurable target that it is within your own power to complete. That's a little something I learned at a time management seminar I once took in order to fulfill my Continuing Education requirement back when I was an attorney. It's good to have both, but it can be bad to confuse them, because you start to feel like a failure when dreams don't come true, even if it's not something that was ever within your control.

In the world of publishing, you can dream of selling a particular manuscript or of becoming a best-selling author, but whether it sells or not is not usually up to you, because it requires someone else to decide to buy it. This holds true whether you are trying to sell a manuscript to a publisher (some publisher must want to buy it for this to work) or if you have a book out there in the wild (some purchaser must want to buy it).

Your goal can be to finish a particular manuscript by a certain date (specific and measurable - see?). Or to send out a certain number of queries or submissions each week/month/quarter. It has been handy for me to remember this sort of thing over the past few years, and on the occasions when I manage to remember it, I am far less downheartened. See, when some of my dreams keep carrying over from year to year, I can remember that I met my goals that were designed to try to move me toward those dreams, or (sometimes) I can acknowledge that I did NOT set goals that would help me to move toward those dreams. Either way, if I've done my part - completing the draft, the revisions, the additional revisions, sending out the submissions - then I know I'm still moving toward the dream, even if whoever it is out there in the wide world that needs to get involved for it to happen hasn't acted yet.

For 2011:

It will not come as a surprise to many of you to know that I set things up in categories and in list form, in part because many of you do the same thing and couldn't think of another way to do it (I'm guessing) and in part because if you read my blog, you know I like to compartmentalize. Compartmentalization is what gets me through life - sometimes it's good (as when I am able to pack away something horrible or stressful in favor of working on something else) and sometimes it's not (as when I am able to pack away something horrible or stressful in favor of working on something else - after all, packing it away doesn't actually DEAL with it). Anyhoo--

The first things I thought of were writing related, so I have two lists - WRITING and NON-WRITING. My writing dreams are probably similar to yours - they include things like "get an agent" and "sell the Jane project, the body poems, the gnomes, the Shakespeare poems", etc. My writing goals include these categories: submissions, new writing, revisions, conferences, retreats, events, marketing and web presence. For each of those headings, I try to set measurable goals - they tend to be monthly, weekly, or daily sorts of goals (e.g., "write at least one blog post per day" or "attend at least two writing conferences in 2011"). There are some categories that still need actual goals set - a goal needs to have a target end date, even if it's far off; the Jane Project, for instance, took over three years to complete, but I always had August of 2010 as a target end-date - and I ended up finishing early, actually (although had I required an extension, I'd have given it to myself - still, having the date in mind helps you shoot for something).

My NON-WRITING list is subtitled "goals for me (not kid-related)". It's really easy as a parent to put things like "take M to look at colleges" on your own list. And yeah, I have to start that next year, and I want to do it, and I will enjoy it, but it is not for me. It is for M. So this portion of the list is stuff that I want to do for me and only me. It includes things like "yoga, 4-5x/wk" and "go to at least one movie or theatre event/month (concerts count)".

It occurs to me that I need to add yet another category of goals - the goals that I'm setting that aren't exactly for me - goals that have to do with cooking and house-cleaning and home improvement projects and finances. They benefit me, but they're for the good of the family, not just me.

And I still have to go back through those categories and set specific goals. Like, I know my web site needs a re-design, and badly, but "NEEDS re-design!!" is not really a goal. It's an observation. And I need to make a real plan, because that item's been on my list for three years running now, and without specifics, it is never, ever going to happen.

So, there it is. A weird little window into my thought processes. Or a window into my weird little thought processes. Either way.

Edited to add: Pinky represents the part of me that is distracted by shiny things, prone to flights of fancy or digression. Like the way I initially forgot I was supposed to make this point. :P</b>

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( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
robinellen
Dec. 29th, 2010 06:44 pm (UTC)
My goals are all lumped together in a formless cluster in my mind -- I really need to go through and figure them out. First, however, I need to finish up my work for the year (I have until midnight tonight, and I'm procrastinating) so I can think, period :)

I like the window into your thought processes!
kellyrfineman
Dec. 29th, 2010 07:58 pm (UTC)
I wish you luck as you finish your year's work! Meanwhile, I've started cleaning. I'll say why that is in the next post. (And NO! I am not nesting!)
(Anonymous)
Dec. 29th, 2010 06:45 pm (UTC)
tanita says:
"Brain represents my methodical planning part - the part that sat down with a pen and paper last night and started making lists."

...but, you didn't tell us what Pinky represents. The Real Kelly? The part that is distracted by squirrels? :D
kellyrfineman
Dec. 29th, 2010 07:59 pm (UTC)
Re: tanita says:
Precisely. The part that gets distracted and forgets there was a SECOND POINT to be made. Grrrr.
beckylevine
Dec. 29th, 2010 07:19 pm (UTC)
I like the goals vs dream thing. I've been thinking of my "resolutions" in terms of what I can and can't control--it's a good thing to remember that there are something we just can't!
kellyrfineman
Dec. 29th, 2010 08:00 pm (UTC)
There are always things we can't control, BUT if you stay steady on the things you can control, it makes success more likely. For instance, you can write all you want, but nothing will sell if you don't send it out. Not that all of it will sell if you do, but at least it has a chance.
lisa_schroeder
Dec. 29th, 2010 07:24 pm (UTC)
I love that personal goal of one movie/theater/concert per month. I think that would make me SO happy!!

I went with a friend and her kids yesterday to see TANGLED, which I loved, and saw the new trailer for Gnomio and Juliet. Not sure what I think about that, but it made me think of you and your gnome book. :)
kellyrfineman
Dec. 29th, 2010 08:02 pm (UTC)
Not sure what I think of Gnomio & Juliet either, although the online trailer made me laugh at one point due to some sort of physical humor.

Another personal goal for 2011 is one park/zoo/museum visit per month. (Something in that vein, anyhow.) I think filling the well is important.

And wasn't TANGLED fabulous? I want to hold it and pet it and call it George.
newport2newport
Dec. 29th, 2010 10:02 pm (UTC)
I loved TANGLED, too! I want to comb it and braid it and call it...uh, Rapunzel?
kellyrfineman
Dec. 29th, 2010 11:34 pm (UTC)
I'm toying with seeing it again before it leaves theatres.
angie_frazier
Dec. 29th, 2010 10:03 pm (UTC)
Goals vs. Dreams took me a long time to figure out. Once I realized they were two different things, requiring different approaches, I saw results :-) My goals for 2011 are like Robin's, a formless cluster in my brain! This reminds me I need to write them down...
kellyrfineman
Dec. 29th, 2010 11:36 pm (UTC)
It's amazing how much more productive I've been since I got that sorted out - and how much happier too, since letting go of the stuff out of my control makes me lighter somehow.
karenbschwartz
Dec. 29th, 2010 10:09 pm (UTC)
I agree it's so important to make measurable, attainable goals that are in your power (or a reach, but do-able). Still, looking at your goals and categories, I can't help but wonder just how many you've set for yourself. It seems like a LOT. I have 10, that includes writing and non-writing goals.
kellyrfineman
Dec. 30th, 2010 02:07 am (UTC)
Under writing, I actually have 9 categories. Most of them have one goal each, but revisions actually contains 4 manuscripts (one of which has two issues), for a total of 5 revision goals for 2011 - although one could argue that some of them are not goals so much as tasks (tasks are the steps you take in order to reach your goals, according to time planning folks). I tend to call them all the same thing, which is really part of an action plan, since some of them are to-dos, etc.

A further example (and sorry for being so wordy). Under non-writing, one of my goals is to engage in activities that fill the well (metaphorically). They include yoga, the movie/theatre/concert thing and a park/zoo/museum thing (one/month), plus playing music daily (piano, guitar, etc. - not just the listening part), etc. I was sort of counting all those sub-things as goals, but technically, they are tasks - the steps I'm taking to achieve my goal. Does that make sense?
karenbschwartz
Dec. 30th, 2010 02:30 am (UTC)
Yes, I see how it all works together. Sounds like a plan!
kellyrfineman
Dec. 30th, 2010 03:19 am (UTC)
Here's hoping!
bogwitch64
Dec. 29th, 2010 11:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the weird-window!

I hear you on so many levels. I like to compartmentalize too, and yet I don't make lists. The ONLY time I make a list is when I have to clean the house. If I don't, I forget to do something. Nice to see my priorities are properly placed. :)
kellyrfineman
Dec. 30th, 2010 02:09 am (UTC)
I hate cleaning the house. But since nobody else does it at ALL (gives husband and kids the stink-eye), I do it. I am, in fact, ostensibly doing that now. Only I am, of course, trying not to. Even though I want the damn house clean by Saturday, in accordance with my New Year's Day superstitions. More on that in a future post.
reneesweet
Dec. 30th, 2010 02:29 am (UTC)
omg I <3 Pinky and the Brain so much. I have little figurines of them on my desk at work. :) "Wot are we goin to do tonight, Brain?" heehee
kellyrfineman
Dec. 30th, 2010 03:20 am (UTC)
"Take over the world, Pinky, same as every night."
jessica_shea
Dec. 30th, 2010 04:34 am (UTC)
I <3 this so hard. Lists are my favorite. And I like the idea of separating goals vs. dreams, and then breaking the goals down into measurable tasks...I'm looking forward to doing some journaling tomorrow.

Also: going to one concert/play a month is a fantastic goal. I tend to see a lot of theatre with the playwright husband, but this year we've also seen more concerts, and live performances are so inspiring.
kellyrfineman
Dec. 30th, 2010 05:26 am (UTC)
You noticed that "movie" is in that same category, yes? There was a time I made it to the movies on average of 3 times/month, but I've dropped off dramatically in the past several years. So I figure one thing in a theatre-like setting (although concerts, plays & movies can also be outdoors) is a good plan. "One museum/park/zoo per month" is also one of my tasks - as I explained to Karen, it all goes toward the "filling the well" goal, along with yoga and some other stuff!
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )

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