December 12 Journal Prompt: What to Write Next Year

What is your writing goal for the whole of 2020?

We’ve spent some time delving into the habits we can create to make our year successful, but now I’m going to switch gears a little bit. Knowing what you now know about yourself, we are going to look at what goals you can set for the whole of 2020.

Writing goals mean different things to different people. For those who write non-fiction, this might be querying a publisher with a book idea. For those who have an idea for a book but haven’t put any time into developing it, it might just be to outline it and get the first chapter done. For some it’s to write a book a month, and for others it might be to write a million words during the year.

All of these goals are set with the idea of what they want to develop in the long run.

Journal Prompt

This is going to be a two-part prompt. We’re going to look at the big picture and then shrink it right on down to the smaller picture.

Step 1: What Do You Want?

Fun Fact: If you want to write 1,000,000 words in 2020

You only need to develop the

right writing habit.

It only take 2,740 words each

day to write 1,000,000 words

in 356 days.

If boundaries were not a thing and wishes were fulfilled as easily as taken a breath, what would you want for your writing?

Do you want to build a career? Do you want to publish? Do you want to create stories for  those who are close to you? Do you have a message to share?

Over the span of the next decade, what do you want to happen with your writing?

Spent ten minutes or more writing everything you want for your writing. Think big, think about a world without limits, and consider everything you would want. Again, give yourself at least ten minutes of constant writing. That means no pausing once you’ve stopped. Let that pen flow, even if it means writing “I don’t know” 14 times before you finally figure out what you do know.

Don’t think about what is practical, don’t think about what is feasible. Think only about what you want.

Step 2: Your Writing Goal

Now you’re going to make your writing goal for 2020. Look at everything you’ve just written. It is possible. You just have to make the right steps.

List out the steps you would need to take in order to get to where you want. Write them out in detail, break them down. If your first step is to write your first book, then what steps do you have to take to make that happen? Break everything down as much as you can.

Now, that you have this list, ask yourself what you think you can get done in the first year. This is the time to be practical. But, at the same time, you want to challenge yourself.

Running with the example of writing your first book, maybe you not only want to write it, but have it completely squeaky polished and ready to send off to publication, or ready for beta readers, or ready to self-publish by the end of 2020.

Or maybe you want to write a million words in 2020. You could write a million words, or, you could really challenge yourself and aim for two million (5480 words a day!).

Bonus Step

When you have fun, you’re promoting joy, and that is what’s going to carry you to your goals.  

When you have yourself a writing goal, break it down, step by step. What do you need to do to write your first book? What do you need to do to write a million words? For each of these steps, create a reward system.

On of my favorite podcast hosts, Sara Werner of the Write Now Podcast, likes to reward herself when she reached word-count goals during her writing sessions with an M&M.

I’ve rewarded myself with cups of coffee. When I’m really struggling to put words on the page, I’ve told myself that when I get to x point, then I can have another cup of coffee (though I do have the fine print that I have to have a pint of water before I have my coffee as well).

Your reward systems should line up with your goal. If it’s something small, have a little—but joyful—reward for yourself. If it’s something bigger, then have a bigger reward. For example, if one of your steps is to read three books on writing, then celebrate each book by purchasing a song download, and when you finish all three, purchase a full album. Or if you want to need to finish your outline, then celebrate by spending a day out doing something you love but rarely get to do.

When you have things to look forward to, then it makes achieving the steps along the way that much more fun. When you have fun, you’re promoting joy, and that is what’s going to carry you to your goals.  

December Offer

January is a time of starting fresh, of setting up good habits to begin the new you.

Through December, to get excited and ready for January, I’m offering a Free 1-hour session in addition to any monthly package or the 6-month package. This means that if you sign up for either of the monthly packages, you’ll get 5 sessions instead of four.

This includes any of the additional bonuses included in the package. For example, if you sign up for the 6-month package, you will get an additional week of partial manuscript reading and critique.

This offer is only if you sign up for my packages through the month of December.Don’t miss out starting your 2020 new year write.

Book Your Free 30-Minute Call

Fill out the form below to talk to me about your piece. This is about getting to know you and your work, and deciding if we make a good pair to get you through your project.

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December 11 Journal Prompt: First Quarter Season

What is your writing goal for the first quarter of 2020?

Yesterday we spent some time looking at what habits we can form during the first month of the year. Today we are going to look at how those habits can be implemented over the first quarter of 2020.

But we’re going to look at this a little bit differently than we did yesterday. Today, we’re going to look at the seasons, and we’re going to consider our personal seasons.

Learning Your Seasons

Rebecca Campbell, author of Rise Sister Rise and Light is the New Black, talks about personal seasons. Just like the planet, we experience times of fruitfulness and times of rest. There are times when we are productive and times when we just can’t begin to look at what to tackle.

And that’s okay.

Knowing how you function best is going to help you to be your best. Knowing yourself is going to be the key to the optimal you. Everyone needs to rest, and it’s good to know when your resting times are. These can happen monthly, daily, and annually.

For example, I, living in the northern hemisphere, discovered that I can get next to zero work done in the summer. I am highly productive in the winter and in the spring, but summer I go into my personal winter of work hibernation.

Does that mean I stop working altogether? Not at all. What it does mean is that I adjust my workload to accommodate my resting time.

Not all of us have this luxury—it’s one I have worked hard to cultivate, and I know that nothing is permanent. However, in terms of our goals for on-coming years, we can take these “winter” periods and adjust our goals to work around them. Likewise, we can adjust our goals to work around our energetic, “summer” periods.

Journal Prompt

Reflecting on Winter and Summer

Reflect over the last year and compare it to the year before, and the year before that. Do you recall when you were at the height of your energy each year? Do you remember when you struggled with your energy?

Spend some time journaling about the most productive times that you recall, and see if you can narrow it down to a time of the year, time of month, time of week, time of day. If you can’t pinpoint it, that’s alright. Perhaps you might want to make it a goal to pay attention this year to when your energy waxes and wanes.

If you’ve managed to do this, then we’re going to move on to the second part of the prompt: developing a first quarter goal.

Quarterly Goals

If you have an idea of how well you work during certain times or periods, then you can more readily make goals for the first quarter of the year.

If you find that your seasons line up nicely with the year, then you can consider spending the first part of the year gearing up for your more fruitful times. The first quarter should be a time of preparation, gathering momentum, and building to the “climax” of your year.

If you find that you’re more productive in the winter, or find that you have to be more productive in the winter (shout out to my SAD people!), then acknowledge that the first three months of 2020 will be preparing to take a little bit of a break during the summer to recharge your batteries.

Now look at how you function on a month. Campbell also mentions that she finds, as a women, she is more spiritually tuned in during her period, and thus will adjust her work schedule so that she can allow for lower-key days and meditation during that time. Some folks might find that they are more productive or less productive around a full or a new moon.

At the end of the day we are writers. As writers, we tap into out creative side which depending on who you talk to, is linked to our subconscious. Our subconscious is that deeper part of us that we allow to be expressed through our dreams and through our creative works. Thus, we may not know what rhythms our subconscious and our creative side might be aligned with, so we should explore every possibility.

Once you’ve spent some time considering how and when you work best, then you can begin setting your first quarterly goal. Consider the habits you want to form during the first month, and look at how they can contribute to a bigger goal for the first quarter.

Learning your own personal rhythms is going to be what sets you up for a successful year, and hopefully, a successful decade.

December Offer

January is a time of starting fresh, of setting up good habits to begin the new you.

Through December, to get excited and ready for January, I’m offering a Free 1-hour session in addition to any monthly package or the 6-month package.

This means that if you sign up for either of the monthly packages, you’ll get 5 sessions instead of four. This includes any of the additional bonuses included in the package. For example, if you sign up for the 6-month package, you will get an additional week of partial manuscript reading and critique.

This offer is only if you sign up for my packages through the month of December.

Don’t miss out starting your 2020 new year write.

Book Your Free 30-Minute Call

Fill out the form below to talk to me about your piece. This is about getting to know you and your work, and deciding if we make a good pair to get you through your project.

December 10 Journal Prompt: What Is Your January Goal?

What Is Your Writing Goal for January?

For some of us, we have monthly goals. We want to start a novel, or participate in (Camp) NaNoWriMo, begin editing, or even start getting the garden ready or planning or saving for a trip at the beginning of the month.

But January isn’t just another month. It’s a whole new year. As a result, there is a lot of pressure to have bigger goals, goals that will follow you through the whole year.

Knowing yourself is the first step
in creating attainable goals
forthe upcoming year.

It doesn’t help that January 2020 is the beginning of a whole new decade as well. Which is why we’re starting our planning now.

Yesterday I asked you to review your journal prompts so far. What did you learn about yourself that you didn’t know before? What did you already know, but now you know that you have to incorporate that knowledge in your next steps?

We’re going to start out simple and just make a goal for January, then we’ll move on to the full year, and then the decade.

Setting Up the Goal

The purpose of looking at your goal just for January is that you can start your year off right. Many of us make goals for the whole year and fail to neglect the smaller steps it’s going to take to create the habits to make the resolution pan out.

For example, a common one is to loose weight. How? How are you going to do this? Go to the gym? Eat better? Go for more walks? A whole 356 days can be daunting, but if you make it a goal to just go to the gym every day for January, the finish line is more reachable. Once you have one month down, you can up the ante for the next month.

Feel Your Goal

The most important thing you can do is to look at yourself and know what goal is truly in alignment with you. What jives well with you, what gets you excited? While the rest of the world is trying to loose weight for the New Year, it doesn’t mean that you need to fall into that category as well. You might be comfortable in your skin and feel no need to improve upon your health. Yet you might still feel urged to join in on the weight-loss frenzy.

You don’t have to, though.

When you look at your goals, look at what lights you up.
What is going to make you feel the best when you achieve it?
And, as always, why?

When you follow what feels good because it actually feels good to you, not because everyone else thinks it will feel good, you’ll be more likely to follow through and reach the goal.

Journal Prompt

January is a month of developing good habits. Because of the pressure of the New Year, we’re more likely to stick to the habits at least until the end of the month.

So today you are going to make a list of habits you want to try just for January.

Go crazy with them. Make a list of things you think you might want to try, things you think you should try,  and things you’re told you need to do that just don’t make you happy.

Keep in mind, all of these things are just for January. Try not to look too much further past that.

Once you’re done with your list, make three columns. They don’t have to be big, you’re only going to write numbers in each of them.

What makes me feel goodWhat I feel is importantWhat is important to others

Your first column is going to be what makes you feel good. The second column is going to be what you feel is important, regardless of how you feel, and the third column is importance to other people.

Go through your list and number each item 0-10. 10 is going to represent the most important/best feeling/most important to other people.

By “important to other people,” I mean what other people think you should do/expect you to do. This might be being on time to pick your kids up from school, eating salad instead of pasta, make more money, etc. The idea is that as you get to this column, you really think about the item on your list and examine if it’s something that you think is important, or if it’s something that other people think is important.

Go through and number your items. Spend time really thinking about each item.

After you’ve numbered them, write about what you discovered regarding your list of January goals.
Were you surprised at how much you were doing for other people?
Were you surprised at how focused you were?
What will these habits do for you in the long run?
Which will bring you the most joy?

As the month goes on, you can alter this list however you want. As you set your goals for the year and the decade later on, you might realize that there are some other good habits to develop during the first month of the year.

Keep in mind what you’ve learned about yourself over the last nine days, as well. Stay in alignment with who you are. When you feel good about what you’re doing, then you’re more likely to succeed in your goals.

December Offer

January is a time of starting fresh, of setting up good habits to begin the new you.

Through December, to get excited and ready for January, I’m offering a Free 1-hour session in addition to any monthly package or the 6-month package.

This means that if you sign up for either of the monthly packages, you’ll get 5 sessions instead of four. This includes any of the additional bonuses included in the package. For example, if you sign up for the 6-month package, you will get an additional week of partial manuscript reading and critique.

This offer is only if you sign up for my packages through the month of December.Don’t miss out starting your 2020 new year write.

Book Your Free 30-Minute Call

Fill out the form below to talk to me about your piece. This is about getting to know you and your work, and deciding if we make a good pair to get you through your project.

December 9: How Your Beliefs Shape Your Writing

How Do Your Beliefs Affect Your Writing?

Yesterday we delved into what it is we believe. This isn’t just about what we spiritually believe, though that can play a role, but what is that we believe about ourselves.

Story-telling is a method of
explain the world around us.

Story-telling is about showing and sharing our experiences in life and examining the human condition. Historically, it would be a means to explain the changing seasons, the migrating animals, the truly amazing and horrifying occurrences in the past. It was a way of depicting the world our ancestors lived in, and we do the same thing today.

As writers, we are story-tellers. Even if your medium is non-fiction, you are putting your own flavor and perspective into your writing, You shine through with the words you choose.

The downside of this is that we also tell ourselves stories. All the time. Every minute of every day. This isn’t just writers who do this, but every single one of us. When we look at how we perceive the person who cut us off in traffic, we’re telling a story. That story could either be that they just didn’t see us when they changed lanes, or that they’re personally attacking us, or that they’re just arrogant enough to believe that you should yield to them.

How we tell our stories in our lives shapes how we see the world. The drive for the stories we tell is anchored in our beliefs.

Journal Prompt

Today’s journal prompt looks at the beliefs you analyzed yesterday and consider how they affect your writing.

Pull out your list of beliefs, and ask yourself what they do regarding your writing. Do they inspire? Do they hinder? Do they influence the genre you write? What kind of endings on your stories do you have? Why?

Take the time to consider what you generally like to write, and how they correspond to your beliefs.

Once you have done that, spend some time asking yourself what you can do to alter the beliefs that are negatively influencing your writing practices or habits. Ask yourself what your writing or life might look like if you changed these beliefs. Spend some time journaling about this. Really challenge yourself to look into these questions and the correspondences. You’ll be surprised by what you find.

Tomorrow

Today is the last day that we focus on you, the writer. Tomorrow we begin to look more specifically at your 2020 goals. However, the last 9 prompts have been to help you get to know yourself so that you can make effective goals in 2020 that are in alignment with you.

By knowing yourself, you can know that sure, you want to sell 100,000 books next year, but because you know that you detest marketing, you’ll have to hire someone to do the marketing for you, or develop a marketing strategy that you can abide by. Knowing yourself means you can create plans that you are more likely to follow.

Knowing what brings you Joy can also mean using that as the inspiration to propel you toward achieving your goals.

Using a personal example, I adore working with writers. It lights me the f up. This is why I became a writing coach. For 2020, I of course am going to have goals for my business. But, I hate marketing, if you recall. But, by keeping in mind my love for working with writers, I can create a goal that involves working with writers and knowing that every step I take toward that goal will keep lighting me up. This might mean finding writing groups to just exchange stories with outside of being a coach, or beta reading. Both of these allow me to interact with writers and it can also be a way that I can network and market at the same time. Finding a path that lights me up is how I will succeed in my 2020 coaching-related goals.

To prepare for the next few journal prompts, look back at the journaling you have done so far. Look at how what you’ve learned about yourself can potentially work toward enhancing and empowering your 2020 goals, even if you don’t have them developed yet.

Designing your 2020 goals begins tomorrow.

December Offer

January is a time of starting fresh, of setting up good habits to begin the new you.

Through December, to get excited and ready for January, I’m offering a Free 1-hour session in addition to any monthly package or the 6-month package.

This means that if you sign up for either of the monthly packages, you’ll get 5 sessions instead of four. This includes any of the additional bonuses included in the package. For example, if you sign up for the 6-month package, you will get an additional week of partial manuscript reading and critique.

This offer is only if you sign up for my packages through the month of December.Don’t miss out starting your 2020 new year write.

Sign up to my mailing list to receive a FREE 3-day mini course on planning and outlining tips to start your novel!

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December 7 Journal Prompt: What is Revolting?

What in life revolts you?

This exercise can be fun, or it can be dark. I’ll let you decide where you want to put it.

While getting to know yourself and your writing, you’ll come across practices that might pertain to your goal that just make you feel gross. For example, many writers detest the idea of marketing (I’m one of them!). There’s good ways of marketing which don’t feel slimy, and then there’s disgusting methods of marketing that make my skin crawl. Everyone’s different, so I won’t list anything here.

Why You Should Know This

So far we’ve looked at what inspires you, what scares you, and what brings you joy. All of these have been aimed at personal development as well as potential prompts or things to consider while you’re developing your character.

Today’s journal prompt is purely for inspiration.

Often when we develop a character, we might think about what the character likes and dislikes, but going so far as knowing what revolts them is the opportunity to give that character just a little bit more depth.

Furthermore, in knowing what revolts you, you gain some insight as to what might revolt a reader. Depending on the genre you’re writing in, this has the potential to create a more gripping effect in your writing.

For example, a client of mine who wrote a beautiful short piece for a competition (and was successful!) had a character lift a lock of hair to his noseless face, where a nose used to be, and sniff it. That image made my skin crawl and I loved it. I was invested in the story completely with that detail.

However, there is definitely a fine line here.

While it can be affective in creating a capturing piece, it can also have the opposite effect. If it’s too revolting, it might make your reader close the book and be done with it.

Chuck Palahniuk certainly walks this line, and for many readers, crosses it. His short stories can be absolutely horrific to read, though are of outstanding quality. I won’t go too into it, but let’s just say that Fight Club is easily the tamest thing he’s ever written.

The Journal Prompt

Your prompt is to look at what revolts you. Make a list of things that just creep you out, that you can’t stand the idea of, or that will make you close a book instantly and never look back.

Once you’ve made your list, ask  yourself what about it gives you this reaction. Some will be obvious, while some will really make you think. Try to avoid answers like “It’s just too much,” or “It just creeps me out,” or anything that fails to give an actual reason for why it revolts you.

Ask yourself why and interrogate this list as much as you can within comfort. If you feel up for it, push past your comfort level, though I do acknowledge there are somethings on the list that might be triggering. If you feel that it’s going to be problematic to your mental or emotional health, please don’t push yourself.

After you’ve completed this list and asked each item “why?” a few times, spend sometime freewriting about what you discovered. What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about writing? What can you use from this exercise to your advantage in your writing?

December Offer

January is a time of starting fresh, of setting up good habits to begin the new you.

Through December, to get excited and ready for January, I’m offering a Free 1-hour session in addition to any monthly package or the 6-month package.

This means that if you sign up for either of the monthly packages, you’ll get 5 sessions instead of four. This includes any of the additional bonuses included in the package. For example, if you sign up for the 6-month package, you will get an additional week of partial manuscript reading and critique.

This offer is only if you sign up for my packages through the month of December.

Don’t miss out starting your 2020 new year write.

Decebmer 6: Where Is Your Joy?

What in Life Brings You Joy?

Yesterday’s journaling exercise was intense. It meant delving into that which makes us uncomfortable. We looked at what we are afraid of that might block us from our paths to success.

Today we are going a different route. Today we are looking what in life brings you joy.

Joy

Joy is going to be the thing we chase when things get dark. When we feel like giving up, joy is going to be what motivates us to keep going.

Non-Fiction Recommendation:
I highly recommend
Danielle LaPorte’s books
and her podcast,
With Love

Yes, there is plenty of non-joy-based motivation, such as love. Alice Hoffman, author of Practical Magic, writes regularly of love so intense that it hurts (I highly recommend reading her work), and the things we do for that love. But that love is its own form of joy. Knowing the person you love is doing well, seeing your family thrive, seeing your dog run through the mud having a grand old time are all forms of joy.

Danielle LaPorte in her books The Fire-Starter Sessions and The Desire Map writes about the importance of chasing what feels good. I have made it a regular practice of mine, and I encourage all my writing clients to do the same. This is why I encourage them to celebrate their achievements, however small, and create a list of what feels good to them.

What Feels Good

I used to have a journal that I got while visiting Vancouver. It was red, had different colored pages. And had a little red mushroom with white spots, and a ladybug hugging the mushroom (because it thought the mushroom was another ladybug, and it wasn’t actually hugging per se…). I called this my Book of Things that Makes Me Happy. In it I wrote every little thing that made me smile. It might be song lyrics (I’m pretty certain Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant” and “The Significance of a Pickle” were in there), words that you enjoy, a cartoon, a thought, an amusing conversation—whatever.

The purpose of the book was that every time I was feeling down, I could flip through it and smile again.

I think everyone should create their very own Book of Things that Makes Them Feel Good, and I certainly encourage you to do so.

But for now, this exercise is simply to write out at least 10 things that bring you joy.

But don’t stop there. If they keep coming, keep writing them out. They can be family related, work related, nature related, writing related—if it puts a genuine smile on your face then write it down.

Once you have your list, spend some time with it. Look it over. Ask yourself what on this list you can add to your daily or weekly life. How can you bring these joyful experiences into your goals? How can you bring them into your writing?

Remembering to bring joy into what you are working on or what you are doing can be the difference between a horrible day and a wonderful day. It can be the difference between quitting a writing piece and carrying it through to the end.

Be sure to make yourself a List of Things that Make You Happy, and remember to look at it from time to time. It could be what gets you through to the finish line.

Sometimes in life, we become so focused on the finish line
that we fail to find joy in the journey

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

December Offer

January is a time of starting fresh, of setting up good habits to begin the new you.

Through December, to get excited and ready for January, I’m offering a Free 1-hour session in addition to any monthly package or the 6-month package.

This means that if you sign up for either of the monthly packages, you’ll get 5 sessions instead of four. This includes any of the additional bonuses included in the package. For example, if you sign up for the 6-month package, you will get an additional week of partial manuscript reading and critique.

This offer is only if you sign up for my packages through the month of December.Don’t miss out starting your 2020 new year write.

Sign up to my mailing list to receive a FREE 3-day mini course on planning and outlining tips to start your novel!

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December 4 Journal Prompt: What Inspires You?

Dec 4: What in life inspires you?

The next few days is going to focus on where you can look for writing ideas in general. By getting to know what affects you in your daily life and in general, you can find a hearty store of prompts to pull from. Knowing yourself means that you can know what to write. You just have to cultivate that knowledge.

The first thing I want you to do is ask yourself—and without cheating and looking up the definition—what inspiration means to you. When you hear this word, what does it make you think of? Does inspiration mean joy? Does it mean motivation?

Once you’ve answered what inspiration means to you, keep your answer in mind as you move on to the next question.

What inspires you in life?

Get really deep with this question. Is it the ever-changing seasons? Is it laughter? Is it seeing the accomplishments of others? Is it motivational music? Movies? Books?

When you know what inspires you personally, you have two benefits:

  1. You can use this inspiration to motivate you toward your goals.
  2. You can use this inspiration as a source of story ideas.

Let’s look at the second on for a moment.

Let us use the example of being inspired by the accomplishments of others. This means that when you’re needing a writing prompt, you can look toward the story of say Jim Morrison and the development of the band, the Doors, and compare it to the struggles of Nicola Tesla, and pull small incidents from their lives and use them as a writing prompt. You might look at the development of a brilliant and revolutionary invention/idea and see what the character who developed this might be like if they took copious amounts of hallucinogenic drugs.

Or perhaps your grandfather was a local hero in the 40’s, and you’ve heard just about every story he has to tell about his life (lucky you!). Where can you pull inspiration from those stories?

These are writing prompts, not full on story ideas, mind you. Keep in mind that those are other people’s intellectual property/stories. But, you can use something from them as a premise to develop your own stories from them.

Feel free to share what you came up with!

December Offer

January is a time of starting fresh, of setting up good habits to begin the new you.

Through December, to get excited and ready for January, I’m offering a Free 1-hour session in addition to any monthly package or the 6-month package. This means that if you sign up for either of the monthly packages, you’ll get 5 sessions instead of four. This includes any of the additional bonuses included in the package. For example, if you sign up for the 6-month package, you will get an additional week of partial manuscript reading and critique.

This offer is only if you sign up for my packages through the month of December.

Don’t miss out starting your 2020 new year write.

Sign up to my mailing list to receive a FREE 3-day mini course on planning and outlining tips to start your novel!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.