For the past few years I've wanted to increase my creative output, especially in writing. However this year I decided to really try and set it in motion using SMART goals. Doing this, I managed to write at least one blog post and one post for ScorpInc every month for the entire year.
SMART goals are relatively simple, it's an acronym that refers to the following useful attributes of a goal:
- Specific - goal must have defined criteria
- Measureable - goals must be easily measureable to ensure whether you have completed it
- Achievable - goals must be realistic, attainable
- Relevant - goals should be relevant to what you want to achieve
- Time-bound - goals must be completed within a set time period
I also like to swap out the R for “Rewardable”, as personal goals should have some kind of reward (not necessarily financial/material) to help goad you into completing them.
Every six months (in January and July) I set myself a goal to write a personal and ScorpInc blog each month for a half-year. I had a goal-setting journal from Kikki.K that I used to track my writing goals (along with all my other goals) and listed my reasoning, the dates I wanted everything completed by, and a suitable reward for doing it. Some months, I also included a goal around writing entries in my writing journal on a weekly basis.
I then tracked it every month, making sure to include whenever I wrote a blog post for my website or completed an entirely new draft for ScorpInc.
The writing itself varied in difficulty over the year. I was strongly affected by other factors like my depression and schizophrenia, my time management and motivation, and periods of bountiful ideas and at times a dearth of them. I found it easiest when I was also working on other projects, as I could do write-ups on the success/failure of the project and my learnings, as well as small posts based on troubleshooting and solving problems that I encountered.
The purely creative side on ScorpInc was fun, although I feel anxious about starting a post, worried I won't have enough words to flesh out an idea. I was previously often stuck for ideas as well, but now have been keeping a list of them for future posts that has made it easier. Once that stuck as a positive change, I started doing the same thing for my blog and journal too, meaning I could always fall back and find something to rely on if I was stuck.
I've found this a wonderful exercise overall in terms of:
- Getting my writing flowing more often,
- Writing with a pen and paper for my journal,
- And being more creative and verbose with some ScorpInc and other fiction ideas.
I think I'll want to continue this next year, probably repeating the same process and have extra goals for writing in my journal regularly. It'd be nice to fill up a whole journal or notebook with handwritten words at some point.