Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Guest Jennifer Ann Coffeen Sets Goals

Summer is a very productive time in our household. In between work, family, vacations and long lazy beach days I try to get as much writing done as possible. My goals this summer include finishing the second WIP in a series, a holiday short story, and submitting my latest novella. Halfway through the summer season I am knee deep in writing deadlines but progress is being made! This leaves me wondering if goal setting is the key to success. 

Maybe it’s just my inner optimist chatting away, but I believe that setting high goals can be a great motivating tool for writing. Setting goals allows you to sit down and figure out what you really want. Hoping to publish this year? Knock out a first draft? Or build up your fan base? While all the goals include writing, they can take you in very different direction. Learning to set the right goals helps to keep you on track especially when work and laundry start piling up. Here are a couple of goal setting tips to get you started.

1.  Start out small. Goal #1 shouldn’t be climbing Mt. Everest. Begin with small, achievable goals and build up. When I started my first novel I didn’t think about selling it. I simply set a daily goal of 500 words. Then I moved up to 1,000 and 1,500 until one day I had a first draft!                                                                   
2. Write them down. Something about the act of sitting down and writing out your goals makes them more real. You can post your goals on the fridge as a daily reminder or keep them in a private journal.                       
3. Make yourself accountable to someone. A writer friend of mine tells everyone from her boss to the next door neighbors about her goals. While you don’t have to be quite so public about them it’s always a good idea to tell your goals to a trusted person in your life. Find a writing partner to set goals with or have a friend call you once a week to cheer you on. It’s all about staying focused and motivated.                                
4. Know your limitations. I tend to set very high goals for myself especially when I have a lot to accomplish. But I also accept that sometimes life simply gets in the way. As a full time mom, wife, friend, and writer I only have so much time in my day. If I’m a little short on my goals this month I don’t let it get me down. I simply put it on the list for next month and keep writing.                                                                                
5.  Reevaluate every few weeks. Life changes and so do your goals. You may have a busy month at work and can only manage a few words a day on your novel. Instead of abandoning your goals just change them to fit your current time limits.

“The French Blue diamond must be destroyed.” Haunted by the words of her dying father, Lady Madeline Sinclair arrives for the London Season with more than parties and the latest fashion on her mind. She has sworn a vow, and the beautifully headstrong and fearless Madeline will allow nothing to distract her…until she meets the infamous Lord Colin, Duke of Douglas, a man known for his scandalous past engagement. With a dark grin and stormy eyes, he threatens to make her forget her duty, along with her manners.
Bound together by the mysterious diamond, Madeline and Colin soon succumb to the passion raging between them, even as the diamond eludes their grasp. But the true threat lies in the hands of an enemy whose dangerous obsession with the past has the power to destroy them both.
“I promise not to hit you again,” she replied, forcing a light tone. “If you promise not to throw me to the ground and—”
“And?” One eyebrow shot up.
“Provoke me.”
He laughed then, a full, rich sound that seemed to drop the tension from his face. He was more recognizable now, and Madeline felt her shoulders relax.
“I am sorry,” she added. “My behavior that day was unforgivable. I do hope we can start over as friends, Lord Douglas.”
She held out her hand, the small warning bell in her head quickly silenced.
“It would be my pleasure.” He took the offered fingers, bending slightly to press them against his lips. Not a trace of impropriety, but a sigh caught in her throat all the same, and she held it there, no longer breathing.
In the back of her mind she knew this was not a good idea. She knew perfectly well she should invent some excuse, run straight back into the ballroom and discuss Lady Farris’s flowers. She didn’t move.
“And since we are already intimately acquainted, I must insist you call me Colin.”
“Colin,” she said, finally exhaling so the name rushed out in a breathless tone. She wildly searched her mind for something else to say but never managed a word.
Colin pulled her to him, the kiss as much a surprise as her own response to it. Madeline’s body instantly betrayed her, melting against the strong arms that held her until she had lost all sense of her earlier outrage. The world fell away, leaving nothing but Colin’s searing lips blistering her own—and the faint smell of lilacs.
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Jennifer Ann Coffeen said...

Thanks so much for hosting me! I hope everyone has a great writing day.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Excellent advice, Jennifer. Beautiful covers. Entertaining excerpts. Nicely done.

Brenda Whiteside said...

So true about goals, Jennifer. I have over all goals and then daily goals. I'm a list maker. Keeps me on track to check them off as accomplished. Your book sounds like an exciting (and romantic) read.

Jannine Gallant said...

Writing down your goals seems like an excellent idea. That way you can't cheat and extend your deadlines in your mind. Thanks for visiting us today, Jennifer.

Jennifer Ann Coffeen said...

Thanks for your comments everyone. Brenda- I'm a list maker too. It's the only thing that helps me remember what to do next!