On my list of 2017 goals is a vague item: Be accountable to the 6 Month Plan. I didn’t intend on posting about it so soon since I wanted to wait and see if my Plan would work, but I’m too excited about it not to share. As I type this, I’m a week into it and so far things are stellar. As this post goes live after the first month, it’s worked pretty well for me.
So, what is my 6 Month Plan?
The “Plan” is an ugly chart I created. Months ago, when I was thinking about all the habits I needed to change in 2017, I bought a piece of poster board at the dollar store. In December, I laid it out on my floor with a ruler, a black sharpie, my calculator, and a piece of scrap paper. Applying the little knowledge I’ve obtained about bullet journals (thanks to Kate’s interest I did some research), I decided to make a calendar devoted only to January through June.
I felt that a 6 month timeline would be less intimidating than a year. Not to mention it would allow for more fluidity should anything change about my situation. Plus, I’d be able to fit more and determine whether I’d keep going with it from July onward.
My chart is a bit messed up because I forgot there’s a reason your standard calendar lists five weeks instead of four. Honestly, I don’t care. And I’ll fix it in June if I continue with it.
As of January 1st, I still didn’t know how exactly I wanted to use the 6 Month Plan. All I did know was:
1) It needed to tie into my goal of writing at least 3 days a week,
2) It also needed to tie into my goal of submitting each short story at least three times over the year, and,
3) It needed to put my tracking in my face.
If you check my history, those two goals have made it onto my list over and over the past three years and have led to little success. One of the reasons that lack of success kept recurring was because I never realized until the end of the week that I was behind.
I work Monday to Friday and do all of my chores after work in order to devote my weekends to writing. I do my most intense workouts on Saturdays, which fries my brain, so I do a lot of writing administrative stuff afterwards. By Sunday, when I’ve cracked all my writing ledgers and notebooks and documents and have a clue what’s going on, it’s too late to catch up.
The Plan is bright blue and taped to the wall to the right of my desk. It’s the first thing I see when I walk in my room. It is impossible to miss.
On January 2nd, I finally figured out what I was going to do with it. In her goal post, Melissa discusses her means of keeping track of her writing. She keeps a tally of all the days she doesn’t write, and has a number that she does not want to exceed over the year. I wasn’t sure if that would work for me because of the habits I detailed above. But I was inspired.
Every day that I don’t write, a big red X gets drawn on the Plan. Every day that I do write, a big red check mark gets drawn, and on its tail I write my day’s word count.
It doesn’t get much simpler, or in my face, than that.
What’s more, this system lets me see exactly how much time is going by. I’ve mentioned before that I have a tendency to let time flow by willy nilly because some part of me thinks there’s an endless amount of it. There’s not, and I need to be made aware of that.
I also have submissions on the Plan, so I know exactly how close I am to deadlines. This will also prevent me from forgetting about that goal and will keep me actively working towards it.
I really hope this works for me and that I have a positive check-in in 6 months!
What have you done this year to increase/ensure you’re producing words?
*Before I went on vacation I submitted one story to a magazine (the orange tab you can see in the image above). It was rejected, but I managed to submit it because it was on my radar. That’s progress for me.