Hectic Lives and Kicking Goals

Hello again, I know I haven’t been posting regularly like I used to. I’ve been busy working on my book, but I am making progress, hitting 16,500 words this weekend. Apologies for not keeping my online presence up, but it is so hard trying to juggle everything. In addition to the writing, I’ve been reading as part of a reading challenge I’ve set myself. I’ve also been reading up on plotting, seeking those little nuggets of advice that might help things click into place and help me to write better. I’ve also been trying to maintain a bit of a social life, going out for a meal with my sister to celebrate her birthday. On top of that, I’ve been doing some work around the garden and trying to organize a present for my better half, who’s birthday is next month – all while working full time.

Incidentally, work often provides me with some great tips for my writing. As a leader of a team, I often come across articles on team building and the like, and I am always looking at how I can apply these as an author. The latest article was about motivation, and I thought I would share this with you. The article explains that motivation consists of feedback, goals and rewards. Here is a summary:

Feedback: 

Positive feedback can increase confidence and commitment, motivating when you start your goals. i.e. “So, you’re writing a novel? That’s awesome, I’d love to read it when it’s done.”

Negative feedback emphasising a lack of progress when your nearing the end of something, can motivate you when you need a push. i.e. “You’ve written three quarters of your novel and now your just going to leave it in a box under your bed. What’s the deal with that? I really think you should plug away and get it finished.”

Goal Setting:

This one really works for me, it’s about breaking down a big task into small goals. i.e. I am going to write 200 words a day. It has to be something achievable in a short time, so you feel like you are making progress every time you hit that target. You should focus on the progress you’ve made at the start of a project. Then as you get nearer the end, switch your focus to the distance left to achieve your goal.

Rewards:

Rewards work better if you can get them in a short space of time and if you get them when your target is met. A reward can be as simple as a bar of chocolate, a glass of wine, or a pat on the back. You could try buying a bar of your favourite chocolate and telling yourself, “I can have some of that as soon as I hit my goal for the day.” Or if you have someone supportive around you, why not let them know you just hit your goal for the day. I’m sure they will congratulate you with a “Well done!” Who knows, it may be just what you need to keep you on track.

If you’re not a writer, I’m sure you can apply these principles to another part of your life. Why not give it a go, it might just work for you.

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2 thoughts on “Hectic Lives and Kicking Goals

  1. Aloha Allen,

    Pertinent post! I too am caught up in the whirlpool of life. Writing is what I ‘want’ to do – but there are other things I ‘have’ to do. I feel your pain.

    On a different topic; a while back you asked how my efforts to increase my name recognition were going. An excellent question and I sat down to formulate an answer, but got pulled under by life and didn’t finish. Let me try that now.

    I’m still pretty much in the dark and continuing on faith alone. However, recently I had an epiphany. While researching social media marketing I realized that what I am selling is “Wayne Halm the writer”. That helped me focus my efforts.

    I don’t feel they are particularly insightful, but below are some of the things I have done to increase my name recognition. Perhaps there will be something of value to you there.

    One – I blog. I picked out a large audience (golfers) and began writing for them. Each post is a chance to put my name in front of people and show off my writing talents, I want people to enjoy reading the posts and associate my name with fun writing. As my job puts me on the course so often, this was a natural fit. To separate myself from the pack I took a stance against professional golf – this may have been a mistake. The stance alienated me from the hero worshiping couch potatoes and there are a lot of them.

    Two – I announce my blog posts on Facebook and Google+. I’ve joined some large groups on each and thousands of people can potentially see my name and posts. I try to reply to every comment I receive (Facebook, Google+, and blog). Particularly on Facebook people read the comment stream, I want to be witty and personable there so they remember me.

    Three – I’ve had some good looking business cards printed and hand them out at every excuse. “Every excuse” being at every golf game and anytime I can work my writing or golf into the conversation. Does this do any good? I think it does. The blog is getting and increasing number of hits from people who type in the URL or have it saved in favorites on their browser.

    Four – I message Facebook friends and ask them to share the announcement of some of my blog posts. Some do, and I can see the blog stats jump. At first I found this forward and uncomfortable, then I looked at the pictures of food, cats, puppies, and witty sayings they are sharing – my writing is as good as that stuff, so I ask.

    Five – I frequently comment of other blogs – but only when I can think of something useful to say and express it well. I do this in the hope that their readers will see my name and think, “Wow, this guy can write.”

    Six – Recently I discovered that large companies hire communications companies to monitor the Internet and report on what people are saying about them. I think this could be useful. Last month I published a post about playing golf on the Manele Golf Course, in the post I included an link to the Four Seasons Resort website. The next morning I emailed the Director of Golf to inform him of the post. He told me, “I already know, the resort General Manager mentioned it in the morning meeting. He liked it.” Executive meeting have to be a good place to have your name mentioned in a positive light, I will include more links in my posts.

    Seven – I’ve been promising myself that I would sit down and learn what Twitter is and how to use it to increase my name recognition. I need to do that. I need to step it up a bit.

    Allen, this has gotten longer than I intended. At some point I realized that I was writing as much for me as for you, now I’ve got my initial marketing plan on paper. Now I can start adjusting it towards what works best. I do hope this rambling has helped you – it helped me.

    A Hui Hou,
    Wayne

    • Hi Wayne, thanks for the comment, I really appreciate you sharing your information on building your brand and getting your name out there. I have my blog set up so that it automatically posts on FB and Goodreads whenever I publish a post. I too try to comment on other blogs I follow, but it is hard to gauge the traction that comes from this. I’d be interested to see how you go on Twitter. I don’t use it myself, I figure the Social media sites I have now is sufficient and I would have to adapt my posts for Twitter as from what I understand, the audience responds better to short, but frequent tweets. I don’t see an issue with asking your friends to share posts, I think that is a great way to get your name out there. Anyway, good luck with what you are doing. I’m a member of a group on Goodreads called ‘Support for Indie Writers’ and other members often ask for stuff to review. I was thinking of offering up some of my work there when it is ready, to see if that gives me a boost with their followers. If I come up with anything that works well for me, I will let you know.

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