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Write From Home
Kim Wilson
P.O. Box 4145
Hamilton, NJ 08610

E-mail: kim @ writefromhome.com

Off the Page...
January 2004 Column


Goals Remove Gloom & Get You Going

by Tama Westman

For many of us, January is cold, gray and blustery—both outside and in. The holidays are over, visiting family members have gone home, and we wonder what to do with ourselves. As writers, now is the perfect time to pick up our pens and scratch out new goals for the coming year. Not weight loss numbers and new year resolutions, the idea is to put on paper what we would like to see happen in our own writing life this year.

Pull it together
Start out with a blank page. List every accomplishment you would like to see happen in your writing career, both realistic, attainable goals and the way-out-there, wacky dreams too. Narrow your list to ten items and label it, something snazzy like Top Ten Steps to Writing Success in 2004! When you prioritize your list, like a ladder, place the most easily accomplished goal on the bottom rung. That's step one.

Step two, write down the next hardest goal. Keep going until you reach the very top goal, closest to the title, the one that will make you beam with glorious writing success. Are you hoping to be published this year? Write it down. Looking to become a columnist? Add this to your list. Seeking an agent or publisher for your novel? That one's a biggie, put it towards the top. Want to become the next Nora Roberts or Stephen King? Well...oh, go ahead and write it down. This is your list. Have fun with it.

Post to boast
Take your refined list of ten writing goals and tack or tape it nearby your computer. Be sure to put it someplace where you will see it every day. (I dislike the refrigerator as a posting center because I always end up eating every time I look at the list.)

Be prepared to be amazed. there is something about having the list in front of you, whether you are looking at it or not, subconsciously, your mind and all your efforts work towards the completion of your list. You push yourself harder just for the incentive of checking a goal off. On my list, I use a bright red marker to place a check by each item once it is met. I yell to no one in particular, "Accomplished! I'm on my way!" Then, I secretly smile to myself for days as I work towards the next step.

An exercise that works
I find that I generally reach 8 of my 10 goals each year. That's an 80% success rate! No, I am not the new Nora Roberts, yet, and as yet, do not write from my laptop aboard a yacht. (But, I'm working on it.) With a list of goals before you, your mind becomes focused, your path clear. You are energized by the hope of attaining further writing success—of seeing your dreams come true.

It can happen! All you need is a pen, paper and a bright red marker. Do your writing career a favor and take a few moments this week to sort out what you would like to see happen in your writer's life this year. Step up onto the ladder of your own success. And please report back. I want to hear how you are attaining your goals and reaching your dreams. Even with little ones underfoot, it is possible—extremely possible. With the path set before you, what can't you do?

Tama Westman writes the Off the Page column for Write From Home. As a correspondent and columnist, she publishes news articles, feature stories and her column, Cuppa Thoughts, regularly with her local paper, the Chaska Herald. She has served as the editor of the award-winning literary and arts magazine, Haute Dish. As a freelancer, her articles appear in several local newspapers and, nationally in The Gathering and Light & Life Magazine.

She teaches creative writing and poetry classes with the AHEAD program (Achieving Higher Education and Dreams) at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, MN, mentors high school journalism students and helps to edit the column of her 18-year old, British-bred cat on coolpetsites.com, Purrfect Gypsy – The Cat’s Eye View. She is married with two college-enrolled children, and keeps her balance with a cup of tea taken in the afternoon in her English garden. Her published clips can be viewed via her Web site, http://www.tamawestman.com and she can be reached at tamajoy@earthlink.net.









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