Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Calendars Redux

I'm taking the easy way out for today's **100 blog challenge** since I had no internet access at home. And, I wanted to write about calendars anyway. Those of you who have been with HWG and this blog for a couple of years will recognize this post. If you're new, here's some info and encouragement for using a desk calendar as a writing tool!

I’ve served as the Goals Guru for HWG for a number of years. We’ve experienced a whole slew of ideas designed to help Heartlandians meet their writing goals. But even though the writing derbies, challenges, visual representations and bookshelves have gone through a variety of changes, one goals idea has remained constant.

The calendar.

I don’t remember how many years ago I first brought up the idea of using a desk calendar for keeping track of goals. The concept has been successful for some, and not so for others (like any writing tool!). Let me explain a bit about the Heartlandian calendar concept.

First…find a desk style or engagement calendar that shows one week per page. Find one that has pictures that are meaningful for you. Doesn’t matter what makes your smile, or dream, or encourages you…find that calendar. For me, it’s a dachshund calendar. My brother bought me my first one, and had provided most of them since then. Last year, neither of us got the calendar, so I thought I’d try a different design. Along came Paula Deen. Now, I love Paula, and the calendar was great with recipes, stories and pictures, but it wasn’t what my creative mind needed for writing. And, my writing suffered. This year with my doxies, I’m more on track.

Now that you have a calendar, what should you use it for? Anything you want to.

Donna says... “I use my calendar to record time spent writing, editing or researching. I also record my page counts with times to give myself an idea of the productivity level I can achieve when I sit my butt in the chair and work at it. I also record any contests judged or entered, critiques attended or given on-line, workshops attended or taken on-line, meetings attended, etc. In the back of my calendar I keep a list of all of the books that I've read during the year (recorded as I read them). In the front of my calendar I keep a list of my writing goals for reference. My calendar always sits on my desk by my monitor, as a silent reminder that I need to sit down and get to work."
That covers a lot, doesn’t it? In my calendar I have my goals broken down into different categories, lists of editing I’ve done, contests I’ve judged (It’s so great to see when one of your entries makes finals--or more), contests entered, contacts made AND the books I’ve read. This list helps me see how much I have read, I make notations for favorite authors to look for again and whether the book is fiction or non-fiction. So, use the calendar in whatever way it works for you. Oh, and use it ONLY for writing!

Besides having the pictures or quotes for inspiration, using the calendar can be a remarkably visual for your progress. Stickers are a popular way to show you’ve met your daily or weekly goals. Take a look at Cheryl St. John’s writing calendar.

One year we used colored sticky tags in a set of five colors. Each Heartlandian chose their favorite color and the least favorite. The fave color was obviously for achieving a goal. The least favorite--for those weeks when you didn’t quite reach that page or word count, or whatever your goal was for the week. Other colors of flags were designated for meetings, classes, any number of writing related things. Placed along the edge of the page, these flags show how consistent you are in meeting goals.

I encourage you to consider using a desk calendar for your writing. Post your own ideas here on the blog. Perhaps your idea will help another writer!

To close, Cheryl says…”My datebook is my lifeline. I keep track of deadlines, submissions, page progress, appointments, blog schedules, goals, my online class and just about everything. My goals are printed in the front, and the books I've read this year are listed in the back. I'm already out of sync because I don't have a 2010 datebook yet, and I have things scheduled into the new year. A new one is a must on my to-be-shopped-for list.”

Let’s go calendar shopping!

1 comment:

  1. I use my agenda to almanac time spent writing, alteration or researching. I aswell almanac my page counts with times to accord myself an abstraction of the abundance level.

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