What are your March writing goals?

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold:  when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.” ~Charles Dickens (Great Expectations)

photo of hand-painted March calendarI love beginnings, change, transitions, especially when the calendar rolls over to a new, fresh, clean month. Or, in the case of our calendar, which was a wedding gift over 20 years ago from a dear uncle, when my husband changes the painted wood tiles.

My overall goals for 2011 are still a work in progress, month by month. So far I’ve committed to posting on this blog every day, submitting a new short story every month (January: ☑ , February: will be a ☑ by the end of this week), and writing morning pages for 20 minutes each day before going online. My K.I.S.S. plan for February went well.

For March, I want to turn my attention to reading. It has taken me literally months to get through The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, so long that I had to renew the book twice from the library, then return it and get it again. I am enjoying the book. That’s not the problem. The problem is that I don’t deliberately set aside time for reading, so while I read quite a bit here and there, it’s in the form of miscellaneous chapters and excerpts.

I’m thinking that I’ll set one of three March goals:

  1. Read one book per week.
  2. Read one fiction book per week.
  3. Read one fiction and one non-fiction book per week.

1, 2, or 3? It depends on how comfortable I am with setting a goal I might not be able to reach. I know for a fact I can accomplish #1 and most probably #2. The third is what I most want to accomplish, however, so I’m going with that one, even if I fall a little short. After all, I won’t submit my February short story until a couple of days into March, but I can live with that (progress, not perfection).

I’ll post the books I’m reading on the right-hand side of the blog page for accountability. (And I won’t count Hornet’s Nest once I’ve finished. 🙂 )

What are your plans or hopes for March?

17 thoughts on “What are your March writing goals?

  1. I think it’s a really good idea to set monthly goals instead of just writing a long list on January 1st without planning out how you will reach each of those goals. I suffer from CFS/ME and Fibromyalgia so often I can feel that I drift from month to month without achieving anything. I’ve started setting myself a few achievable weekly goals, but I haven’t thought to do that with my writing. I have been sticking to the challenge to write for at least 5minutes a day for the past week or so, which is working so well. I never thought I could achieve so much by doing little bits daily instead of waiting until I feel like writing for a couple of hours. Are there any similar goals you could suggest for me? I have an idea for a story, and another for a novel, but I don’t know really know what sort of goals to set myself, do you have any ideas?
    Katie xx

    • Katie, you bring up a really good point, which is that when we set a big list of yearly goals, we have no way of knowing how our needs might change as we go along.

      Congratulations on your writing last week! Baby steps are definitely the way to go, IMO. In terms of starting a larger work, Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method (http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/art/snowflake.php does a good job of breaking the planning process down into manageable steps, that you could do ten or fifteen minutes at a time.

      Something else that comes to mind is a strategy that worked for me to write a children’s historical fiction book. My son knew how much I wanted to finish the project, so he told me to email him 250 words a day from the book, any 250 words. It worked. 🙂

      I’m sure that others will have more and better ideas. Go for it, Katie!

  2. I also like the idea of monthly goals. Life changes from month to month, so you may have more (or less) time, and your interests/focus may also need to change.

    My March goal is to have the first draft of my current WIP completed, and also send out a few shorts stories. We’ll see what happens. I think reading goals are great, since that time tends to get pushed aside. #3 would be too ambitious for me — maybe you could alternate fiction and nonfiction? Good luck!

    • Amanda, congratulations on being so close to finishing your WIP! March will be an exciting month for you.

      Alternating fiction and non-fiction is a good idea. I’m kind of curious myself to see what I’ll be able to do. 🙂

  3. I am aiming to keep up the momentum of my blog by posting at least one poem and one short story or two of either every week. I want to keep up my diary and post a new update at least three times a week. I am also starting a performance poetry course and a novel writing course in March so I will be keeping up with ‘homework’ from the classes. I am aiming to keep up with my reading and be able to review a work of fiction, poetry and non-fiction each month. On top of that I would like to get my middle son through his GCSE’s and my youngest through his end of year exams and cook the odd healthy meal for them rather than filling the fridge with (mostly) healthy stuff and leaving them to forage. Lastly I’d like to have some fun and go out on the odd date please… 😀

    • What a varied and wonderful month, Lindsay! A performance poetry course would be so interesting. My son is now in college, so the activities regarding your children bring back good memories of when I was more of a hands-on mom on a daily basis.

      May some fun and the odd date rise to meet you! 😀

    • Cathy, thanks so much for stopping by! Please do not envy my organization. 🙂 What little I have is being developed on this blog. Seriously, learning to plan and organize is my main goal in life at the moment.

      Your “devil-may-care” book of the week is an inspiration. 😀

      I love the pillow book concept!

  4. I so relate to your quandry about setting time for reading. I usually relegate to just before sleep and then can’t stay awake long enough…or barely remember what I’ve read. I’m in the middle of The Hangman’s Daughter, which I’m finding to be tedious. And Easter Island, which is for book club. And a short story collection…maybe I need to join you and focus on setting aside an hour a day. But when?

    • Victoria, your comment made me realize that I’m setting a goal of how much to read, but now when I’ll do it. :/ Hmmm… I guess I need to give that more thought. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your current reading list. I’m always interested in knowing what other people are reading!

  5. What a great morning start; goal setting! I love beginnings…of the month, the week, the spring, the year…

    I never feel quite complete unless I have read a little something before going off to sleep. I always have a slew of books on my nightstand. So, I always try to make an effort of reading for about an hour before bed.

    I have just recently started creating a schedule for the day, incorporating; studying time, reading, working out, writing and creative outlet time. This has worked very well and I think I will continue this for March. I think my goal will be to open my mind to read a book that is a little out of comfort zone…hmmmm…what shall that be? 😉

    • I love all beginnings, too! 😀

      My husband and I are getting in the habit of turning off the tv, getting off the computers, and doing some quiet reading in the evening, now that our son is no longer at home and filling the time with activities. Congratulations on making your daily schedule work! Reading outside of our comfort zone is a great goal. A different genre, perhaps?

  6. Lisa,

    I love setting goals for myself. I generally set weekly goals which lead up to my goals for the year. Even if the goals I set every week don’t get accomplished completely I usually feel good about being able to check off at least half of my list. I too would really like to be able to read a lot more than I do. It takes me so long to read a book (about a month) but I comfort myself with the fact that it’s due to the fact that I’m so busy writing but I really want to get back into my reading too. I wish you luck on getting through whatever goals you set for this month.

    • Jimmetta, you are so wise! I am just now beginning to realize that it might be okay to set goals that are “too high” and to be content with accomplishing a portion of them. That’s what I tend to do anyway, except for the content part. 😉

      I think that some of the best readers are slow readers. I have to force myself to slow down at times.

      Thanks so much for the comment, and best of luck with your goals, too.

  7. While I am still putting together my goals for March I so appreciated the statement, “progress not perfections.” So frequently I tend to get wrapped up in things being perfect. The perfect article, the perfect space to write, the perfect set of goals. The real intention needs to be forward momentum, don’t get stuck and don’t be afraid. Thanks.

    • I know exactly how you feel! It’s really interesting that you mention not being afraid, because that’s where my thoughts have been recently, too: how much fear of letting my imperfections “hang out there” for all to see drives so much of what I do–and don’t–do. I’d never really realized the impact before. Thanks so much for the comment, and best of luck with your March goals. 🙂

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