It’s 2023 and there’s no better way to start the year than by creating a writing goal…but not just any writing goal – a SMART writing goal! In this podcast episode, Chris and Gena talk about how to create actionable, 6-week goals as authors that you can actually meet!
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Episode 52 Transcription:
[00:00:14].130] - Gena Hi. Hey. And welcome to the Writing Momentum podcast. I'm Gena Maselli, and this is my husband, Christopher Maselli. [00:00:21].070] - Chris Hey. [00:00:21].590] - Gena And we are thrilled to be here. It's the beginning of 2023. [00:00:28].570] - Chris I like New Years. [00:00:29].790] - Gena I know. [00:00:30].240] - Chris It's like a new beginning. It's like something new. [00:00:34].410] - Gena There's a newness to it that just gives us that kind of charges us up. And I also think that it's because we've come off the holidays that this is the time that we kind of take a break between Christmas and the New Year, that we kind of take a break. We kind of slow down. And I think that slowing down seems to charge us up and reenergize us and gets us ready, and it makes us we start having all these conversations. [00:01:03].690] - Chris About that because we always start thinking about what do we want to do in 2023? We look a little bit back on what we did in 2022, but we're always looking forward, right? We're looking forward to what do we want to do in 2023, where do we want to go, what do we want to do differently, what do we want to do the same? And then so, yeah, we've had some good conversations about that already, Gena and I have. And I wonder, how about you? Have you been thinking about your book? Have you been thinking about a presentation you want to do or marketing that you want to do for your book? What is it that's been on your mind as far as what you want to do in 2023? [00:01:43].810] - Gena Right. [00:01:44].370] - Chris And you may not have an answer for that yet. Maybe you haven't thought much about it, and we just want to encourage you. Yeah, think about that. And in fact, Gena, that's what we're going to talk about today, isn't it? [00:01:53].570] - Gena It is. We started talking about what do we want to talk about on this podcast? And it's the first podcast of the year. And we started talking about different things. We could do kind of a retrospective of 2022. And then we kind of thought, no, what do you what do you need? [00:02:11].070] - Chris Yeah. [00:02:11].370] - Gena What do you want to talk about? And so we thought, well, let's talk about where you're going in 2023, and let's talk about how maybe we can help you get there. [00:02:23].020] - Chris Yeah. [00:02:23].380] - Chris So what we like to do when we're planning for the year is set goals for that year. And what I like to call them are small victories all year long. So we like to typically create goals that are in six week increments, right? So that we're not just saying, okay, by December of next year, I have this big goal I want to try and reach. We're saying, okay, in the next six weeks, like, by mid February, what are we going to have accomplished? Because that's something we can put on our calendar. And we don't just put the one goal on there, we actually break it down. And we're going to talk a little bit about that. So what we encourage you to do is think about what might some of your goals be and then turn them into what are called smart goals. So smart goals are like a filter that you can put your goals through. Smart goals were created back in 1981 by a gentleman who wrote an article for a business article and like a business journal, but they just stuck. And you've probably heard of smart goals if you've been in the business space at all. [00:03:28].470] - Chris But they actually work for us really well for us as writers, don't they, Gena? [00:03:33].100] - Gena Well, they do, because you are a business. If you are a writer, you are a business. You need to be thinking about your writing not just from a creative place, but also from a business place of how am I going to do this? What are the steps I'm going to take? Am I going to traditionally publish? Am I going to independently publish? Am I going to do a hybrid publisher? How am I going to get my message out there? So there's a lot of questions that you ask that are very much their production questions, their marketing questions, their strategy type questions. I mean, there's just a lot of business that goes into it, bottom line. [00:04:15].010] - Chris So in creating your goals, what we want to do is we'd like to do this together with you. And so to do that, we have created a PDF. It's called "Move the Needle". And it's absolutely free to you as a listener of this Writing Momentum podcast. And to get it, all you have to do is go WritingMomentum.com. We've put it right there on the front page where you can download it. And for those of you who are watching us on YouTube, I'm actually going to bring it up here on the screen so you can see what it looks like. It's called "Move the Needle: Six Weeks to Your Next Major Accomplishment". And this is a really actionable ebook because in here you can write down what your goals are, break them into smaller bite size pieces, put dates to them, and then start taking action. And then we work regularly with people who do this. They'll set their goals in six week increments and accomplish a lot. I'm getting all tripping over my words. I'm so excited. [00:05:15].320] - Gena Well, and you were talking about how, you know, you don't want to just throw out a goal for December 2023, this is where I want to be, or this is what I want to do. And we are talking about how these are six week goal, but you can even take that big goal that you have. But back it up and say, okay, let's break this, this down into six week increments. So you're moving your needle toward that bigger goal, but then you break it down into these bite size six week periods. And then like Chris said, within that six weeks you're going to break it down even more. And so you're actually putting, I guess, steps to the journey as well. Like your journey and your vision is where you want to go. But the steps are the little things that you do along the way to help you move that needle. And I think that's one of the biggest things that we've seen is that the small movement to your needle really leads to something big and something wonderful. Let's get started. [00:06:21].240] - Chris So let's get started. So go to writingmomentum.com, writingmomentum.com and download the "Move the Needle" PDF ebook. It's absolutely free. You'll find it right there, big on the front page. And when you open it up, a lot of the things we're going to talk about today are written in this ebook. So you can go over them again or you can listen to this podcast a second time and go through it with us. But the first thing you want to do, step one, is to create your six week smart goal. Now, again, remember, this is a six week smart goal. So don't feel like you're trying to figure out what you're going to do all over this whole next year. You may, let's say by the end of the year you want to have a book published. Okay? But that's not something you're probably going to do within six weeks. You might, but probably not. So what we want you to do is start off by saying what is your overall goal? So your goal might be write a book, right? Could that be your overall goal? [00:07:20].090] - Gena It could be. And depending on how big the book is, how elaborate it is, you might say, well, my six week goal is to outline that book. That might be maybe you're in the fiction or nonfiction space, maybe you want to outline that book and you want to really spend some time thinking about everything you could put in it and then really choosing that path. So your six week goal could be a variety of things. There's not just one thing, but it'll. [00:07:49].040] - Chris Probably be something overall like write your book. Let's start there because we're going to break it down after you've come up with that bigger item. So after you've written that down, now is where you're going to go. Start going through that Smart filter. [00:08:02].070] - Gena Okay? [00:08:02].520] - Chris Smart is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound. So first we're going to start with specific. If you said I want to write a book, now I want you to get more specific. What exactly are you going to do over the next six weeks in that book? Are you going to write five chapters of your book? Are you going to write the outline like Gena said. Right. What is it exactly that you want to do? Get specific here and then you have a higher chance of attaining it, right, absolutely. [00:08:39].430] - Gena Like Chris said, we're going to break these down even more. You're going to see where we're going with that. But you do want to be specific. You don't want it to be this kind of arbitrary I want to write a book. No. What kind of book do you want to write? Who is your market that you're writing for? What are you trying to say in it? Just really be specific about what it is that you're going to tackle in the six weeks. [00:09:00].140] - Chris Yeah. So the next thing is after you've become more specific. I want to write five chapters of my book. Now we want to make it measurable. [00:09:09].110] - Gena Okay. [00:09:09].660] - Chris Measurable is so that you can know whether you actually accomplish that goal. So in business they have these things called KPIs or key performance indicators. What that means is you've got specific things that you can look at that can say whether you were successful or not in your goal. Okay, so in our example above, I'm going to write five chapters of a book. What's your key performance indicator? Well, one might just be those five chapters, but another one I think is the word count. So if you know you want to write, let's say, 5000 words per chapter, then that's what you're going to put in here. I'm going to write 25,000 words over five chapters. [00:09:53].780] - Gena Okay. [00:09:54].240] - Chris That's measurable, isn't it? And, and this also I'm sure you might feel your stress level and begin to rise right here. Right. Because you're starting to realize, oh my goodness, this is becoming real. And it's becoming, you know, kind of a little overwhelming. But that's okay because we're going to relieve that stress here in just a moment. Okay, so that's specific then. Measurable. The next thing we want you to do is make it achievable. And this is where you start asking yourself questions. Okay? So if you've written those two things down in the ebook that we provided at WritingMomentum.com, now you're going to look at those things that you wrote down and say, is this achievable? Is it achievable for you to write 5000 words? Well, not 5000. We said 25,000 words over five chapters in the next six weeks. Is that achievable? For some people? They're like, they look at them, they're like, yeah, I can do that. I can write 50 thousand words a week. Right, that's five chapters. I can write a chapter a week. Other people look at that and say, oh, there's no way, my life is way too busy. [00:10:56].460] - Chris I've got too much going on. I can't do that. This is where the rubber meets the road. And you can just see if something is possible. [00:11:05].090] - Gena And then if it's not, if 5000 words doesn't work for you, then maybe you go. Okay, well then I'm not going to do five chapters of the book. Maybe I'm only going to do four, or maybe I'm only going to do three or whatever that is. Or maybe you're going to need two weeks to finish a chapter and so you're only going to get maybe two and a half chapters written and that's fine. That's still two and a half chapters that you didn't have before you got started. [00:11:32].590] - Chris Yeah, that's really good. This whole thing is about adjusting as we go. That's why we're breaking this into a smart goal. We don't want to write down a goal like, I'm going to finish a book in a year and then six months from now not have started because we didn't really know whether we could do we hadn't defined things. You define them all now and then you have a higher chance of success. All right, the next one after a specific, measurable, achievable, is our relevant. [00:12:00].240] - Gena Okay. [00:12:00].740] - Chris Now this one is a bit of a judgment call. This is where you have to ask yourself, is what you're creating this goal that you're creating congruent with who you are? Right? Is this what you really want to do if you are planning on writing a business book but what you really want to write are children's books, is this going to be a little too tough to do because it doesn't line up with what you're wanting to do? Or if your goal is, I want to make a lot of money, but you're writing a children's book, you may say, hey, I need to do something different. They may not make that much, you might, but generally they don't pay quite as well, do they? Definitely. You want to see what is it that you want to do to make sure that this matters? Now, honestly, I would normally do this first before you even get to the SM smart, I would look and see if it's relevant, but then the acronyms out of order, right? So they put relevant here. Fine. But you do want to ask yourself this, is this smart? Is it relevant and will it be a smart goal. [00:13:07].330] - Gena And does it align with not only who you are, but what your bigger vision is? If your vision and goal is to become a speaker of a certain topic, then you probably need to write your book on that topic. If you're a speaker who's wanting to do time management skills, then you probably don't need to spend your time on a novel or a children's book. You need to make sure that it is in line with where your bigger vision is and where your bigger vision. Now you can have those passion projects. We all have those passion projects we want to do, but make sure that the real work is done before you tackle those probably. [00:13:47].480] [00:13:47].880] - Chris Well, and it may seem obvious, but the truth is I think if you look back at your last I know if we look back at our last years, we look at a lot of things that we did that were just kind of spinning our wheels, right? Things that were we looking at, we go, Why did we do that again? And it's because we hadn't really defined certain things. And so because of that, we got a little off the rails, right? In order to stay on the proper road, you've got to make sure you got to have a map to know where you're going. All right, next one, the very last one is time bound. There's nothing that is more motivating than a good deadline, right? You want to have a deadline for what you do because that keeps you motivated. And that's why we like these six week pushes. Because anyone can do anything for six weeks. As hard as it can be to write that novel, you can do it for six weeks, can you? I mean, you can do it for six weeks. So here's what we want you to do is we want you to look at your goal, look at your calendar, and put that final due date right down here in this ebook that you downloaded. [00:14:50].000] - Chris And when you look at that due date, you're going to see, oh, that's not that far off. It may be like in mid February, let's say. Let's say it's February 15. So you're going to say, hey, by Valentine's Day, I'm going to have this goal completed. Oh, man, I'm excited because I can just imagine now a bunch of you are going to set Valentine's Day as your goal. And our Valentine's Day gift is going to be getting emails from you guys saying, guess what I just accomplished here on Valentine's Day. [00:15:16].220] - Gena That would be huge. We love hearing about the success of the people that are connecting with us. [00:15:23].560] - Chris Please be our valentine. [00:15:25].390] - Gena Send us your success stories. We're all about it. [00:15:28].500] - Chris Okay, now here's the big key to this. Now we've set all these smart goals. You may have heard of this before, but here's where this is a little bit different from what you a lot of times. Here what we want you to do. Now after having created that smart goal, is to create five smart actions. Five actions that will take you toward reaching that goal. In other words, break down this big goal into five bite size pieces. Something that you can do each week that brings you to the end. So, for instance, if you want to write 25,000 words between now and six weeks from now, then that means your goal is 5000 words a week. Those are your five goals. So that's easy, right? But let's say your goal is to create a presentation. Well, now they may be slightly different each week, maybe. Week one, you want to do your outline. Week two, you want to create your presentation slides. Week three, you want to practice. Week four, you want to create a handout, right? So each week you might have something different. But what we want you to do is come up with five smart actions, and we call them smart actions because you can, again, put them through this filter and make sure that every one of those actions is specific, is measurable, is achievable, is relevant to this project, and again, is time bound to the week. [00:16:52].210] - Chris When you've done that, you will have a list of goals here at the end of the ebook that you can put up. You can print it out and put it right up by your computer and make sure that you're accomplishing that goal. [00:17:05].670] - Gena It's true. And that's where Chris was talking earlier about being overwhelmed. You're thinking about the bigger goal that you want to do at the end of the year. You've broken it down into these six week goals, and maybe the six week goal still feels overwhelming, but when you start breaking down these actions, the smart actions, then it becomes like, okay, so all I have to do is this week, I have to bite off this little part. [00:17:31].900] - Chris Yes. [00:17:32].320] - Gena I have to tackle this little bit here. And before you know it, at the end of that six weeks, it's huge. [00:17:38].310] - Chris Absolutely. And if you're doing this alone, as a lot of us do, because writing can feel like a solitary venture, you may have heard me say it before. Writing is not a solitary venture. That is something that we have made it. We have said that the writer is the person who goes to a cabin in the woods and sits by themselves. But we have found that writing is something that we do best together. We have writing momentum when we work together. And so we encourage you to get together with a group of other writers. Or if you want to, you can join Gena and I and Rene Gutteridge. And we have every Wednesday, we have a thing called Writing Moments. And you can go to writingmoments.com, or if you go writingmomentum.com to download your ebook, you'll see a link to Writing Moments there too. And what we do is we get together every single Wednesday, everyone, and we sit for an hour every Wednesday, the first 15 minutes we have training on writing, on publishing, on marketing, on branding, something to do with writing. And then we just sit and we all write on our individual projects together. [00:18:47].030] - Chris And we have already had some really good successes. We've had one writer in the group who just finished and published their book. Some others are getting really close to finishing theirs. Like, it's exciting to see what people are doing, and we'd love to have you be a part of that. And so it's super affordable, and we'd love to have you join in. So please check out writingmoments.com and move the needle with us. We'd love to have you well, and. [00:19:10].060] - Gena I want to say we meet on Wednesdays at noon Central. And we do that so that even if you're at work, hopefully you can that is within the time frame that you could take a lunch break and join us there. [00:19:23].460] - Chris Yes. [00:19:23].730] - Gena And I'll also say that everybody has things that come up. They don't always aren't able to always meet with us, but the trainings we record and then those who are in the Writing Moments group are able those are always available to them in their library that they're able to go back and listen to. And we regularly have people show up that they'll be in their car driving somewhere. [00:19:48].570] - Chris I can't write today, but I'm still showing up. [00:19:51].410] - Gena Yes, I'm on my way to a lunch meeting or I'm on my way to do something, but I wanted to make sure I got the training. So it's just really valuable. And I also want to point out that we do take time at the beginning to make everybody feel welcome. We have experienced writers in there. We have new writers in there. So no matter what your level is, you are welcome. You are always welcome. I promise you will not feel anything but encouraged in that. [00:20:26].320] - Chris You'll feel very comfortable. It's just a small group. Everyone's very encouraged, everyone's at a different level. [00:20:30].200] - Gena And we're getting to know one another. We're talking and chatting and hearing about different projects. And so I'm really looking forward to seeing what happens with this group as we just kind of bond together even more, not only the projects that come out of it, but also the relationships that come out of it too. [00:20:47].820] - Chris Hey, if you're ready to move the needle, come move with us. Be sure to go. WritingMomentum.com download this free ebook. We want you to have it. We created it just for you. It's really good. It's actionable, and I think you'll enjoy it. Until next time, that's what we've got today. We hope that you join us. And it's always fun because together we have Writing Momentum. Bye bye.