In Search of Goals

A few years ago, I got into the car and headed for Los Angeles and the SCBWI conference. Because of previous obligations, I was a day late and driving alone. Since I didn’t have my friend Marge in the passenger seat (Marge can find any destination in the world), I had to depend in I have news for you. Mapquest does not always send drivers on the most direct route to reach their goals. I took some scenic, gas-guzzling tours through several neighborhoods before arriving at the end of my journey.

Because I was at a writing conference, I began to think how this experience could be applied to me as a writer. Did I plan each project so that I could finish it with the least amount of detouring? Did I take a lot of wrong turns before I found the direction of my plot? Was I a creative gas-guzzler, idling instead of getting myself to the computer? Was I in such a hurry to get where I was going that I didn’t take time to write in my journal, sit in the shade with a cup of tea, ask for guidance in daily devotions?

It came as a shock to realize that my writing life was not guided by a reliable map or by an estimated time of arrival. I needed some goal-setting strategies! After a good deal of soul searching, I came up with the idea of creating a “Goal Notebook.”
I bought a small (1 1/2 inch spine) three-ring notebook and filled it with paper. I used dividers with tabs to separate the categories: meditation, long-term goals, short-term goals, progress diary, journaling ideas, images.

Meditation: This is where I do a little searching each morning and copy a Bible verse or other quotation that is meaningful to me. I like to do this in my back garden where violets grow beneath the roses. But in bad weather the kitchen table does nicely, for a bird bath sits beneath the window and our resident towhee likes to visit.

I write a few thoughts about the verse, then thank God for the sunshine warm on my back — or for the rain that keeps our hillsides green. Then I ask for guidance for that day.

Would you like to know more about my Goal Notebook? About long-term and short-term goals? Keeping a progress diary? Recording Journaling ideas? Or that intriguing word — images? Tune in two weeks from today, and I’ll tell you how my search for goals began to expand into some serious writing.

 Contributed by Marilyn Donahue





7 responses to “In Search of Goals

  1. Marilyn, I’ve already got a new goal this week: to get a notebook and “outfit” it to be my Goal Notebook! I can hardly wait to find out more next time about how to use it!

  2. Hi Marilyn,
    What a great idea! To keep everything in one place. Mine are all over the place. Journal here, calendar there, sketchbook over there. Thanks for the tip!

  3. Gloria McQueen Stockstill

    Marilyn, what a great idea! Like Nancy, I’m headed out to get my notebook!


  4. Marjorie Flathers

    What a GREAT post, Marilyn! This is a terrific idea we can ALL put to good use! And thanks for the “tip of the hat” to me, re being a good navigator! I appreciate that….and always try to do my best to find the easiest route possible. I’ll look forward to the next installment of your blog. Marge

  5. Sherri Crawford

    Marilyn, I LOVE the idea of a Goal Notebook! I’ve got many notebooks and idea folders and at times I feel overwhelmed. ONE notebook with the things you mentioned is a terrific idea! I can’t wait to read part II. Your analogy was great! Thank you for this practical help. Quiet time—just sitting still with the Lord is #1 for a Christian.

  6. Shirley Shibley

    Dear Marilyn,

    Good job, as usual. You’ve shown us a great way to be a constructive goal-setter! I see where I need to improve in this area, and I’m adding a goal-notebook to my list of goals I’ve already set up for July. (After vacation, of course).


  7. I am the creative gas guzzler! I’m glad to finally have a name for it! I did buy the notebook several months ago. I just haven’t taken advantage of.

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