I have to admit. I never took that seriously. After all, I have set goals in the past, by this date I will finish this book or that book, and inevitably they never happened. So, I concluded that setting goals doesn't work for everyone.
What I failed to see is that it's not good enough to set a goal without plotting the course on how to reach it as well. For example, say you live in Portland, Oregon and want to drive to Houston, Texas. It's not good enough to imagine a big X on Houston and take off driving. You need a map out a course on how to reach Houston. The same is true with goals. You have to know how you will reach it in order to be successful.
So, with this in mind, I set a goal to finish/publish my books ELLENSBURG and AWAKE this Spring. In order to reach that goal, I made the decision that from the time I woke up each morning until noon, I would spend it writing. That way I would have the afternoon free to do other necessary things. I have stuck with that schedule and now it has become my routine.
Has this approach worked? You bet it has! On February 2nd I published ELLENSBURG after nearly 10 years of playing with the idea for the story. Then I set my sights on finishing AWAKE. I'm pleased to say that as of today, both the eBook and paperback versions are now available on Amazon.com.
So, does this mean I'm finished? No. While I was waiting for my editor to get back to me on the AWAKE manuscript, I wrote (at her request) STUMPTOWN, book two in the ELLENSBURG line. Right now I'm focused on going over the first draft and fine tuning it with the goal of publication in July. After that, I still have two more Charlie MacCready manuscripts to finish. The goal is to at least finish Charlie 4 by the end of the year - if not Charlie 5 as well.
There has been an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment in reaching my goals, not just in publishing two books but in finally figuring out a process that works for me. I encourage you all to map out your path in addition to setting your goals. Have a clear vision in mind about which route to take. Then stick to it and it will happen.