Two weeks ago, I described my “Goal Notebook,” starting with Meditation, the way I have learned to start my day. I promised you more. Here it is:
Long Term Goals are projects that won’t be finished in a day, or even a month. They are books I want to write, major articles that require extensive research, family and church histories. On a separate piece of paper, I list ideas for these in no particular order. Order is not a criteria here. The idea is what counts. This list serves as a kind of working table of contents. Now comes the fun part. Each separate idea has 5-6 blank pages of its own. On the first page, I write “Synopsis.” and an estimated time frame for completion The second page is for “Potential Markets, and the third page is for “Research Information.” On subsequent pages, I write bits of narrative and dialogue. I ad lib. I free write. These meanderings, through some literary metamorphosis, eventually combine to form whole thoughts and cohesive paragraphs. When this happens, it’s time to move this particular long term project to a notebook or folder of its own.
Short Term Goals are projects that I plan to finish in less than a week, like an article that doesn’t require research, a poem, a rebus, a letter to the editor. Again, I make a list, which grows daily. Then, for each idea, I use one page to create a working outline. When the outline suits me, I print it out and put it in a standing file on my desk and cross it off my short term list.
The Progress Diary is one of the most vital sections of the Goal Notebook. It keeps me honest. In it, I list everything I am working on and its status: date started, progress in pages completed, ready for editing. Just those three categories — no more. I force myself to update current projects daily. Even a negative entry has a positive effect in that I have to deal with the “Why nots?” of procrastination.
Sections on Journals and Images complete the Goal Notebook. Tune in on July 29, and I’ll tell you about the value of journaling and the importance of collecting descriptive phrases, metaphors, and similes.
Contributed by Marilyn Donahue