Where are you going?

"If we’re facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking." Joseph Goldstein

One of the high points of my December was hosting a group of retreat alumni here at olivewood & laurel headquarters. They had volunteered to test-drive Get Your Writing Year in Gear, my first workshop offering.

I’m super picky about the work I do and wanted to make sure it was the best it could be before I released it into the world. 


Did it do all I hoped it would? Oh, yeah!


There are some pretty happy campers out there, fortified with tips, strategies, and solid plans that I can guarantee will help them make more of their writing dreams this year. That's a great feeling. 


Each person left with a customized action plan, a kind of road map, to help her manage and make the most of her writing life in 2014. 

What about you? Do you know where you’re headed this year? Have you figured out how you’re going to get there? 


"A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity." ~ Franz Kafka


Here's a snapshot of what we did.

Name your destination.


We set aside three hours just for ourselves, our dreams, our paper and our pens. We imagined we were already at the close of next year, looking back. What was it we wanted to have accomplished in terms of our writing?


And you guessed it: we made a list.


Long list or short list, I challenged everyone to choose only her top one or two priorities, especially if she had big overarching goals like finishing a novel manuscript, or building her professional profile.


People commonly underestimate the amount of time and energy it takes to get things done, plus we all have other parts of our lives that need our care and attention. 


Pulled in too many places juggling too many things? I also challenged everyone to divest themselves anything she wished she hadn't taken on: ditch or delegate, and, most importantly, do not take on anything more. This year we were making room in our lives for the stuff we DID want to do. Like getting somewhere with our writing.


Figure our your route. In detail.


Once we clearly defined our goals and carved out some time to attend to them, we broke down the goals into the steps needed to achieve them. We wanted to get from here…to there. What did we need to do? By when?



Start walking.


All that was left was to begin at the beginning: Step 1. After that: Step 2…


(I love checking off the steps on these lists as items are accomplished; there is something just so damn satisfying about checkmarks!) 



Plan for backup.


Eventually, it’s going to happen. It's easy to lose steam after even the best start out the gate. I'll be following up with course participants during the year and offering a boost to those who get stalled.


If you’re inspired to write out and commit to your own plans, why not team up with a buddy to map out your year? Share your plans with each other and schedule check points. Throw each other a lifeline if needed. 



During the workshop, as we watched our writing hopes and dreams for the year take shape, we also watched them become more real, more achievable. The energy level in the room grew to the point where people couldn't wait to get started. That's kinda the beauty of knowing where you are headed. You can't wait to start the journey. 


When you have a goal or a plan, how do you keep yourself on track? Share your wisdom below.