This is not a year in review. This is a year in preview. Although, having been through quite a bit over the last year I would be doing myself a disservice if I didn't learn something from the past 12 months. So with that in mind here's what's on tap for 2012, with a lesson or two thrown in to make sure I don't repeat the same mistakes I made in the previous year.
Let's start with goals. I'm not a huge fan of New Year's resolutions, but I do think setting a target is important. That's what I learned last year with my big singing surprise for my wife. Put a date in the calendar. Set it. Make it permanent. Then do incremental things between now and then that bring you closer to that goal.
A friend of mine uses the technique of working backwards. It's basically what I described above but works from the end back to the now. Establish your end. Example: By November 6th I want to be able to sing a capella on stage for my wife. Then, go to the step just before that. Between November 1 and 5 I will need to perform in front of a small group of friends. Then go one step before that, and so on. I will need to have taken lessons. How many? With whom? The key is to figure out what you will need to do to get yourself to that step. When you're done planning backwards, if you've end up back in 2011, then you have to re-work your plan so that you can get from A to B in the time you want (practice more, rehearse more, whatever...)
I've done this with my writing goals for the year. I've started with when I want each of my pieces to be done and worked backwards. The result is a writing schedule where I know how many words I need to write by which days and for what topic. My writing goals for 2012 are as follows:
- Finish writing and editing 1 novel (100,000 words)
- Finish and e-publish 3 short stories (10,000-20,000 words each)
- Write 1 screenplay based on my finished novel (approx. 90 pages)
- Write 25 blog posts - this one counts :)
Being off work for more than two months with a concussion taught me this one the hard way. Things won't happen overnight. There will be setbacks.
With that in mind I've also set some other goals for the year. All achievable, even with the above goals in play:
- Write (or co-write) and perform 2 original songs with the band (http://speedoflightlab.com)
- Practice and perform 2 set lists with the band (http://speedoflightlab.com)
- Practice and perform 2 a capella songs (http://potatochipmath.blogspot.com/p/big-idea.html)
- Take and publish 100 more photographs and put them up for sale (http://andrewsalphabet.com)
- Send 1500 tweets, of which at least half will be good quality or better (@andrewbutters)
- Be a better father to my kids;
- a better husband to my wife;
- and a better friend to all the people in my life.