Writers’ Forum Achievement Chart

Each month I pick up a copy of a British writing magazine called Writer’s Forum. It’s much like our American counterpart – Writer’s Digest, but it often offers a new perspective on the art and craft of writing.  Unfortunately it’s imported so by the time I get it most of the events listed have passed, but the technique and reflection articles remain as relevant as ever. In my humble opinion, it’s definitely worth the price of admission.

coverThe centerfold is always the current month’s calendar meant to be removed and hung near your desk. On each day of the month, various authors’ birthdays are listed. Garrison Keiller – August 7th, HP Lovecraft – August 20th, Mary Shelley – August 30th. For August 2015 there is not one day that doesn’t have an author listed. Authors are absolutely everywhere – if that’s not enough to keep you inspired, I’m not sure what is.

I love tools that help with writing and off to the side of each calendar is an invaluable form called “The Achievement Chart” with room for you to fill in what you have done during that month to achieve your writing goals. It is a tremendous tool – easy, succinct, and it forces you to take accountability for your actions.

Because, remember, if the desire to write is not followed by the act of writing then the desire is not to write.

This single, simple tool will keep you honest to your goal of being a writer and is intended for you to keep track of your ever forward movement (and if you’re not moving forward then consider this a kick in the butt to do so.)

Here are the monthly achievement items from Writer’s Forum:

MONTHLY ACHIEVEMENT CHART

Topics are ideas researched:
Number of words I will write each day/week:
Stories written/submitted:
Feature ideas sent out:
Agents approached:
Courses/workshops/events attended:
New things tried:
Books read:
Writing related income and expenditure:

Total earned:

Total spent:
Sum up your writing (for the month) in one word:

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That it, isn’t it beautiful? An easy, reflective tool that keeps you honest about your work and keeps track of your progress. Imagine filling this form out each month and then at the end of the year pulling them all up to evaluate your writing progress. I think you would be amazed at how much you actually did in the name of writing.

Give it a try and report back to us on how it worked. Did you love it? Was it too bothersome? In some cases did it call you out because you haven’t been working toward your goal or did it validate all your efforts toward being the writer that you really want to be?

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Wendy Thomas is an award winning journalist, columnist, and blogger who believes that taking challenges in life will always lead to goodness. She is the mother of 6 funny and creative kids and it is her goal to teach them through stories and lessons.

Wendy’s current project involves writing about her family’s experiences with chickens (yes, chickens). (http://www.simplethrift.wordpress.com) She writes about her chickens for GRIT, Backyard Poultry, Chicken Community, and Mother Earth News.

25 thoughts on “Writers’ Forum Achievement Chart

  1. I hope this doesn’t sound like shameless self promotion, (not something that sits easily with us Brits) but well, I enjoyed your blog for another reason; the first story I had published in that magazine appeared in that very issue. Ironically it takes place in the US; Before the Bubble Burst p39. It’s quite satisfying it might have been read over there too.
    And yes I would agree, the calendar is most certainly a motivational tool as is blog that points you in the direction – thank you.

    • Paul, that’s incredible.. Thank you for sharing that with us. I *love* that magazine and have used many of the techniques described both in my teaching and in my own personal writing. Because it’s an import I end up paying $10 U.S. but I still think it’s well worth the cost.

      Good luck getting more articles published.

      Wendy

  2. What a great idea! Although for me I should a weekly chart. If I count by the month, I know I’ll procrastinate until the last week and imagine somehow I’ll be able to catch up. (ugh)

    Like many “writing goals” ideas, though, it only has “number of words written.” I struggle for how to count / how to reward myself for spending time on revising. Some days my biggest accomplishment is *cutting* 400 words from a chapter! But I find myself feeling bad when my friends post their “wrote 1,027 words today!” achievements, and it took me all day to write and rewrite and fine-tune a 500-word story.

    If anyone has any idea how to do this, I’m all ears!

    • I have an easy solution how about trying to “pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.” Respect the way you work. Don’t compare yourself to others, who cares? As long as you are continuing to move forward, it’s all good.

      Wendy

      • Sure, ignoring my friends’ word count per day is probably a good idea.

        I guess I could just put “revise something” on my list of things to do, so that that counts as a writing achievement. It just doesn’t have the same ring as “write 1000 words today.”

    • Apparently Oscar Wilde once agonised over one sentence for two weeks.
      For me the editing process is never ending. Every time I read my work I want to change something or other, but I no longer see it as a problem just a part of a process.

    • I get my copy at Barnes and Noble. It’s an import and so it’s quite pricey at $10 but I’ve found it to be worth it. Here’s the kicker though, they carry it at the B&N to the south of me, but not the one that’s north. I suppose you can ask them to order it for you.

  3. Sure looks like a good thing, but I am not entirely sure if this is for me – I think it is relevant to the purpose/goal of writing the one has in mind. For me, I do not write for the sake of being recognised and/or published as some writer or intellectual. I am just an average research scholar, and in the course of my research I often come across things that make me want to express my thoughts (more casually than a formal research paper for a journal) – so I tried newspapers – but probably I was not good enough so I got only one op-ed published over the course of several years – but I still wanted to express. So I came to find out about blogging and so I made a blog – and better yet I got it self-hosted on a friends’ advice and it costs me money considering my exchange rate to dollar – but its feels and looks nicer that way. Now I have the liberty to write and publish whenever and whatever I have to say about a certain topic.

    Do you think this tool is for me? I will like to have your honest advice.

    P.S. I would like to reach such a magazine though, we don’t have such things here.

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