In just one day it is 2015. Can you believe it’s 2015 already? In 1989 Marty McFly was driven (sort of) from his home in 1985 to October 21, 2015. He and Doc Brown (along with Jennifer) traveled 30 years into the future. Once in the future 1985 audiences were presented with a 20th century look at the future. Fax machines everywhere (even in place of mailboxes), visual phone booths, and intelligent clothing (self-tying shoes and self-drying jackets) were scattered throughout the future sequences. The predicted future technology followed logical lines from existing 1989 technology. Microwaves led to instant hydration machines and the fax machine was the instant communication machine of the future. There was no cell phones (despite the cellphone already in use in 1989) shown in the film and of course, who could have predicted how much the internet would take over. What did the movie get right? Drones. After Griff and his friends crash into the clock tower building a drone for the US Today is seen taking photos of the arrest. Facial recognition is seen when Doc looking through his binoculars at Marty’s son. The McFly’s have a flat screen TV and they appear to use some sort of virtual reality device over the eyes. The film’s biggest prediction is yet to happen; will the Chicago Cubs win the World Series?
As fun as it would be to go into an in depth discussion about Back to the Future II, I want to speak about how quickly time can slip by if you don’t make the best use of your time. I turn 45 years old this year but I remember my 25th birthday like it was yesterday. Very little has changed in my life in those 20 years yet at the same time there has been so much change. Some years have been awesome while others have simply slipped away. I want to make 2015 an awesome year (and I think the Cubs do as well). How can I (and the Cubs) make it a great year? Set goals.
In previous posts, I’ve talked about setting goals for the your characters, setting Story Goals and last year I posted about my 2014 writing goals. You can say that setting goals is important part of human lives and we should do but many of us have no idea how, myself included. Last year I only focused on writing goals. This year I’m setting writing goals, reading goals, personal goals, education goals and job goals. It’s one thing to set goals as I did last year, it’s another thing to actually complete those goals. I’ll be honest with you guys, after writing that post I pretty much forgot about those goals until I reviewed all of my 2014 posts. I was surprised by how well I met my goals without knowing it. That illustrates the first problem with setting goals – “out of sight; out of mind”.
Over the last couple of years I’ve written about my love of Scrivener a number of times but I don’t think I’ve ever giving enough praise to the other piece of software I equally love – Evernote. If you don’t already use it I completely recommend that you head over to the website and download it immediately. At it’s core it is a note taking application that can be shared on not only your Mac or PC, but also on your mobile devices. I have it on my Mac, Windows machines as well as my iPhone and iPad so my notes are always available to me. Within Evernote I have various writing notebooks, as well as notebooks with story ideas and this week I’ve added a 2015 Goals note.
Remember like all software that saves data on the cloud, protect yourself by never saving personal information in a data file that is saved on the internet. Personal information should remain save, secure and private at all time.
On the Evernote website there is a great article about keeping your goals in different note files. This year, it’s my first to keep such detailed goals, I have followed the article but I figure as the year goes by I’ll start to modify the process to customize it to my needs. While the Evernote goal notebook is always on me it may not the be most convenient way to track your goals.
Writing Down Your Goals
Humans have been writing things down for centuries and then in the 21st century this suddenly changed. Now we are keeping a lot of information on computers and network servers. I think that writing down information in an actual notebook allows you to access it immediately and modify it from anywhere at any time. Last year I came across a goal-setting daily calendar that would fit this need perfectly – The Passion Planner. I found this during it’s Kickstarter last November and I immediately fell in love with it. The Planner’s creator, Angelia Trinidad, has come up with a brilliant way to not only develop your goals with a Passion RoadMap, there are pages to track your goals at different points through the year and there is a full weekly day tracker included. This book comes in two different sizes making it easy for you to take it with you regardless of where your go. It still works even if there is no wireless environment available.
So I’ve sat down and filled out the first pages of the Passion Planner and they match my Evernote goals. This is important. With the two tools you can keep track of your goals, keep notes regardless of your location, and make modifications as you need.
Setting Your Goals
Since this is a writing blog, I will discuss my writing goals for 2015. The first is to read 12 novels in 2015. The important part of this goal is that at least four of the novels must be books that I wouldn’t normally read. I enjoy Science Fiction / Fantasy books, so I might be reading a classic novel, maybe a romance novel, maybe something historic. We’ll see as the year progresses. After I read each novel I will track the details of the novel as well as lead characters, basic plot and my overall thoughts of the novel.
- Read 12 novels in 2015
My next goal is another reading goal. To paraphrase Stephen King, “You can’t write if you don’t read.” This goal is to read 12 screenplays in 2015. As I finish each screenplay, again I will track different notes about the screenplay. Lead character, basic plot, my thoughts on the writing style as well as whether I’ve seen the movie (if one was made from the script). Regardless if it’s a novel or screenplay, the point of these two goals is to learn something new from the material. The difficult part will be timing the two goals. A screenplay just needs two or three hours to read, but a novel could take the whole month so I’m expecting that I will be doing a lot of reading in 2015.
- Read 12 screenplays in 2015
I also expect to find time to write in 2015. I’m still working on my fantasy novel and I’d like to write a new screenplay. Both of these will be my writing goals. The first is to get my hand-written novel typed into Scrivener and then create a new screenplay to post on the Black List. I’m still flushing out these goals at the time of writing. I can break both of these goals into smaller sections. For example I can set goals for getting each chapter typed on a timeline, for example complete Chapters 1 – 5 by the end of the January (remember I’ve already written the novel, I’m just typing it into the computer). This will allow me to manage the workload and at the same time I am accountable for the work.
- Type my hand-written novel into Scrivener
- Create a new screenplay and post it on the Black List website
I will then go through my personal goals, professional goals and my education goals (on within this posts) so that when I’m done, my Evernote Goal notebook has everything written down. Of course I transfer this information to the Passion Planner so that as I move through the year I have my notes. At my office I must track my hours based on the various projects I work on, so the Planner’s daily grids allow me to do this very easily. At any point I can look back to double check what was done on any given day.
If you want to accomplish something in 2015 you need to first set your goals and then work towards accomplishing them. Breaking your goals down into manageable tasks will help keep you on track through the year, but the key thing is to make sure that your goals are always available to review and modify. Just like your characters, without set goals you’re just going to float around getting nothing done.
Have a great New Years and I’ll have another article in 2015!