Our third instruction in the Creativity Workshop is to formulate three goals to concentrate on during the workshop and to create a task list for each goal. Merrilee’s post defined the difference between wants, needs, and goals. We must decide what tasks are needed to reach our goals.

I confess; my right brain started to whine immediately. “This is too hard.” I never approach writing this way. To even describe myself as a “pantser” insinuates I write more methodically than I presently do. So you see, just attempting this workshop is a challenge for me.

Merrilee told us to choose three from our issues/interests list to set as our goals. First problem: I didn’t compile a good list. I included no interests, for one, and she had already planned to address two of my five issues in the workshop! So … I had to improvise. I decided that incorporating more description and fleshing out dialogue would come into play in writing each story for the workshop. That left one general and one specific issue on my original list. But the general issue (#0) doesn’t really apply for the following reason.

Goal #0: Finish writing a story (or poem) in one week. (Twelve times.) This is the goal for every participant in the workshop, but I am (secretly … shhhh) challenging myself to have critique ready stories (or poems) by the end of each week.

  • Day 1: Choose a story idea. Do research, if necessary. Sketch out character(s) and storyline.
  • Days 2-7: Write. My stories average about 3,000 words, so I will have to write 500 words per day.
  • Days 3-6: Review and edit the previous day’s writing. Determine that I’m still on track with my storyline (or adjust, if one of my characters has thrown me a curve.)

Goal #1 Weeks 2-5:  Linked by theme. Learn about poetry forms and write poems in four different forms. I am not a poet, nevertheless, I occasionally write a poem … badly. So, I want to write four poems I’m proud to claim.

  • Research poetic forms and select four.
  • Choose poem theme.
  • Choose a different form each week and write the poems.

Goal #2 Weeks 6-9:  Linked by genre. Write psychological suspense or horror without giving away too much too soon.

  • Choose and read four published (and acclaimed) stories in this genre.
  • Analyze these stories to understand how and when the author introduced plot elements and details.
  • Write four stories in this genre.

Goal #3 Weeks 10-13:  Linked by characters and location. These will be literary fiction, my usual genre.

  • Write four stories set in the same Kentucky “holler” with one or more of the characters, mostly family members, appearing in each.

Now you know; this is what I’ll be writing for the next thirteen weeks. At the end of each week I will post here about my progress … and I may mention it in another post now and then. Don’t worry, you won’t hear me bitch and moan because this will be a breeze. How’s that for positive thinking? 🙂

19 thoughts on “Goooals!

  1. Those goals are fine, Linda. You’ve set yourself boundaries to work within and you’ve looked at exploring areas outside your comfort zone. Well done!


      1. Different levels of detail work for different people, Linda, and it also depends on your goals. Since you are focusing on productivity, you don’t need a lot of detail on the actual subjects.

        What I like about your goals is that you’re thinking outside just wordcounts and considering all the prep work that is needed. That’s good!

        After the first week, you will have the opportunity to sit back and analyse how effective you were at meeting your goals. That’s the time to decide if your goals are going to work for you, or if you need to specify some changes to your practice to combat discipline and procrastination.

        How did you find the goal setting exercise? Did your right brain end up getting on board?


        1. This truly was a hard task for me, Merrilee … I find it a chore to write even a grocery list! Until preparation for this workshop, I didn’t realize how much of my writing process is intuitive. I don’t outline my novels. I do end up with a detailed scene list, but only after the scenes are written. The only things I pre-write are character sketches, and even those are really just descriptions of characters already formed in my mind.

          Did my right brain engage? I don’t know. Do my goals look like it did? 🙂


  2. I had a hard time with my goals at first, too. It wasn’t until Merilee had posted hers that I understood exactly what she wanted us to do and how we were supposed to lay it out. Having done mine, I’m relieved – I think deciding on goals will have ultimately been one of the hardest parts of the workshop!

    Your poetry goal was really interesting. I think that’s one I could’ve chosen to do as well, being that I’ve never really explored that side of things. Good choice.


    1. Ha … after I saw Merrilee’s, I thought for sure she would nix mine! 🙂

      I never gave poetry much thought until I started blogging. Then, a few poets became my regular visitors and, of course, I started reading their poetry blogs and got intrigued. So, I thought it was time I learned a bit more about poetry and what better way to do it than to write it?


  3. Boy, that does sound tough! I’m afraid I’d have to look up the definitions of those things before I could even consider taking a workshop like that!

    You go, Linda! You can do it!


    1. Oh, gosh! Don’t tell me that sounds tough, Darc, I’ll run for the hills!

      I presume the definitions you referred to concerned Merrilee’s advice on how to set effective goals, and to that I say, I probably only understood half of it. 😕


  4. After reading Natasha’s well thought through I & I and your well thought out goals I might just back up a step and put a little more thought into this before I post my goals. In theory I have another 24 hours. It is only Thursday afternoon in sunny Florida. (Okay – there are thunderclouds making themselves known overhead right now, but the sun is shining somewhere.)

    I like the idea of spending four weeks addressing the various styles of poetry. I only write free verse and this is something I might want to consider.

    Have I ever told you just how much Ilearn by following your blog. 🙂


    1. My, my, and I’m thinking the same thing as I read all the other CWSers goals. 🙂

      Well, I think I’ve chosen the theme for my poems, but I haven’t chosen the forms yet, so the theme may change if I can’t find four forms I think I can tackle and which will also fit the theme. Though I guess I’m thinking inside the box there, huh?

      Have you ever told me how much you learn by following my blog? I don’t know, but you are welcome to repeat yourself any time. 😀 And thank you very much. I learn from you too, you know.


  5. Okay, the idea of writing this list makes my right brain whine too. 🙂 I laughed out loud when I read that.
    You have a pretty detailed list here. Impressive. Impressive enough to make me run from the blog with my hands over my ears singing lalalalalalalala I can’t hear you. You all are pretty stinkin’ motivated to commit to this. I’m glad I didn’t pursue it, I’d never have the time to seriously devote to it. I will enjoy following along though.
    Good luck, but I don’t think you’ll need it.


    1. The others may be motivated, I’m just reckless. 🙂

      You need all the time you can spare to work on your novel. Believe me, if I was five chapters into a new novel, I wouldn’t have signed up for this workshop.

      I’ll take your wishes of good luck because I will need it.


  6. Love the idea of writing four stories based on one Kentucky “holler.” Reminds me of Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County setting. Sounds like you’ve set up a really varied and exciting course for yourself! 🙂


    1. These stories will end up as chapters in my next novel, Meredith, or at least that’s the plan. You’ve set some interesting goals for yourself … and expressed them so well. May the muse be with us! 🙂


  7. Linda — You’re the reason I even knew about this workshop. Thank you! I’m still working through what goals might work for me. I really like your last set especially — linking the characters and settings.

    All of the linkages, actually.

    Must. go. set. goals.


    1. Good luck on your goals, Natasha. I need to clear up some other things this weekend, so I can start researching poetry forms on Monday. Trying hard not to ask what I’ve gotten myself into! 😀


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