“Dreaming Wide Awake” is an album by one of my favorite singers and composers, Lizz Wright. It’s also what I call the process of deciding what I want to accomplish within the next year. The words “goals” and “resolutions” are enough to make me turn slightly nauseous, yet these are a necessary evil—especially for a creative person. Without a little planning you can find a year of your life has passed, filled with all the daily pieces taking place, but you are missing an important aspect. Your creative expression.
Dreaming wide awake (or goal setting if you insist) is pretty simple. Easy, actually. Trust me. It is also fun and incredibly fulfilling. Grab a piece of paper, your journal, or take a seat at your computer and allow these questions to inspire you to plot your next year.
Imagine yourself a year from now. What writing project have you accomplished? What have you made, with your heart and your hands? Can you see what you have created? Get specific and write out the details of the piece until you can see it. What does it look like? What does it feel like? What steps did you have to take to get to the point where it is now a reality in your hands? Write those steps down. Put them in order. If any steps are big, break them down. Why was it important for you to complete this project? What made you want to do it? How does completing it make you feel? What one small action can you do right now to set your dream in motion and begin it? Do it.
Repeat the exercise. And again. And again if you’d like. Keep going until you have a list of what you’d like to accomplish in the next year. Reduce the list to the actual projects (without the steps) and place it where you will see it every day. Post it in your office, on a bulletin board, or on your fridge. You can even make it pretty and put it in a frame to sit on your desk.
Congratulations! You have done all the steps: named your dream (goal), made it specific and visualized it. You’ve broken your dream down into doable steps, made a list to keep track, and made your step-by-step plan. You’ve even expressed the passion behind your dreams (the why). Better yet, you’ve taken action to begin each project, so you are on your way to completion. Plus, you’ve created daily motivation (the list posted where you can see it) to keep yourself on track.
Aren’t you glad you trusted me and went along? This goal-setting thing is a piece of cake. Revel in the knowledge that you are on your way to your most creative and fulfilling year ever.[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://howtowriteshop.loridevoti.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/KathyColum.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Kathy Steffen is an award-winning novelist and author of the “Spirit of the River Series:” “First, There is a River,” “Jasper Mountain,” and “Theater of Illusion,” available online and in bookstores everywhere. Additionally, Kathy is also published in short fiction and pens a monthly writing column, “Between the Lines.” She writes from a log home in the woods of southwestern Wisconsin that she shares with her husband and three cats. Find out more at www.kathysteffen.com”[/author_info] [/author]