Taking stock of 2014 at the halfway point

'Miss A Writes a Song' photo (c) 2012, Denise Krebs - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ Just as Wendy writes about the bones and structure supporting a book, I’m a firm believer that goals and planning are necessary to success. Back in January, I wrote about setting goals for 2014 and suggested a few programs that might help you release the challenges of last year and embrace what the new year has to offer.

Leonie Dawson author of the Amazing year workbooks encourages setting up planning retreats to review what you’ve accomplished and determine what is next. She suggests one thorough retreat mid-year and monthly check-ins. There is even a page in her workbook where you actually jot down a date and potential location for your planning retreat.

In January, a friend and I sat down and completed Susannah Conway’s Unraveling 2014 and I worked through Leonie Dawson and Tsh Oxenrider’s programs separately. Earlier this week, she and I took a day to evaluate our goals. Our kids will be out of school soon and she just accepted a full time job, so this day was was also the last hurrah before big changes set it. We headed for the beach. We walked, we ate, we sat and evaluated the past six months and planned for the next six. It was a lovely day. I came away feeling happy and rejuvenated.

It is my modus operandi to set my goals in the stratosphere and then get frustrated when I don’t reach them. This time around with the help of these programs, my goals were much more realistic. That’s not to say I’ve met every one, I haven’t. I’ve met some and made measurable progress on most of the others and I can live with that.

The evaluation was helpful because there are some goals that I either can’t accomplish or no longer make sense for me to accomplish. I resisted the urge to add new goals and instead forced myself to focus. I brainstormed ideas to make further progress on existing goals. It felt good to look things over and center myself again.

I highly recommend taking some time to reflect on where you are and where you want to go before the end of 2014. Although a week’s planning retreat in the Hawaiian Islands would be fabulous, your retreat doesn’t have to be that elaborate. We took eight hours away, but even that may be too much for some people. At minimum I’d recommend an afternoon, but even an hour can be enough time. I highly recommend getting away from your everyday environment and and unplugging. Give your brain an opportunity to bask in your successes and analyze the challenges. You won’t regret it.

If you haven’t created a list of goals for yourself, it’s not too late to start!

Lee Laughlin is a writer, wife, and mom, frequently all of those things at once. She blogs at Livefearlesslee.com. She is currently a member of the Concord Monitor Board of Contributors.  Her words have also appeared in a broad range of publications from community newspapers to the Boston Globe.

8 thoughts on “Taking stock of 2014 at the halfway point

  1. Excellent reminder. I started this year writing my first complete novel. It is longer in words and took longer to complete, but I have stayed the course and adjusted my plans. In another week I will taking a week of retreat with my manuscript complete before I work with my editor and coach to begin the rewrites and edits. Having a plan keeps me focused for such a task. It offers a vision of the favorable outcome.

  2. I tend to get too lofty when writing goals, so I had my highly realistic and numbers-oriented husband help me build goals for this year. I started blogging and working to get published in January. My mid year goals were to get 500 blog followers and submit 2 polished works to agents. I’m happy to say I hit 1000 followers today and have submitted 2 picture book manuscripts to 15+ agents and editors! Now, to survive my first conference without a panic attack (says the happily introverted writer.)

    • Way to go Katey!!! I love conferences, but even as an extrovert, I need to step away and take a break from all the networking. Deep breaths!

  3. This is a great idea. I tend to start a lot of projects at once — I’m currently working on three short stories and a novel — but I never end up finishing since I don’t set clear goals and deadlines. I think I’m going to take your advice and plan a personal writer’s retreat for myself in the next month.

    • My mind is an exceptionally frenetic place, I have my big goals, but I also keep my daily top 3 in my line of sight. It really helps me get things done. Good luck on your retreat!

  4. The problem it, it seems to me, and thus the need for orderly, goal-oriented thinking, is that the creative mind is messy. Ideas shoot here and there, often without rhyme or reason, and your heart beats faster–you have an idea and it wants to carry you away in whatever direction it wishes. So you must at some time or another, slow it down and say to it, “Let’s get organized.”

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