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The agent requested a full manuscript of my novel.
I should have been bouncing off the walls. Instead, I was in a total panic.
What if the agent accepts it? I’d have to learn how to write a new novel in less than a year.
It seemed insurmountable. How did I do that? This one had taken years.
Like an onion, the layers peeled away. I’d worked on the book every Saturday, probably writing 300-400 words. It was sloppy writing, too. I wrote, assuming I would revise, which became a self-fulling prophecy. The time added up, fast.
Then it hit me.
I hadn’t made writing important enough to do. It wasn’t anywhere on my priority list.
You can get all the time management books you want, but you make that single decision for your side hustle, something else will always end up being important.
Suddenly that novel that you wanted to finish in six months hasn’t been touched in a year.
You hear a writer lecture, “All you have to do is get your butt to the chair and write. It is that easy.”
The “easy” grates on you. Makes you grit your teeth. Does that author think your lazy or not trying hard enough?
So you come up with goals, like finishing four books in a year. That’ll take care of that problem, you think.
And it doesn’t. Side hustles are tough because a lot is going on. If you haven’t cemented it as important, another priority is going to shove itself in that time.
There is always something competing for your attention. Making your side hustle important helps push it to the top of your list.
The New Definition of Goals
To accomplish what you want, time management gurus tell you that you have to prioritize to your goals. But the books assume you want to be head of that department or vice president of your company. If you’re doing a side hustle, maybe not so much.
During my annual review with Tiago Forte, I got a very different look at what a goal is. He said that the traditional goals, SMART goals are more like a to-do list. You identify a goal, accomplish it, and check it off.
It makes goals feel superficial.
That contributes to your feeling of overwhelm, and worse, adds to the perpetual busyness.
Even writing fiction can turn into busyness. You’re accomplishing your goal of 1K a day, so it looks like you’re prioritizing and you may not be. You might be simply checking off a box.
Tiago Forte thinks the goals of the future will focus on an outcome that is personal for you.
That fits with simply making the mental shift to saying “This is important to me.” It sounds insanely simple, and yet, it’s a fundamental shift in your thinking.
This was the outcome I came up with for the Pantser Writing Worksheets:
Have evergreen content that I can make money with and not have to spend a lot of time maintaining.
So…your turn. Come up with one goal and create a personal outcome for it. The outcome should be personal for you and something that is in your control if you complete the project. It should also be realistically doable for you.
Have fun! If you feel brave enough, post your goal/outcome below. Don’t forget to include a deadline to finish it.