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Monday, 1 April 2013

A is for - Achievement Chart

As of today I'll be posting to my blog each and every day as part of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge  with the exception of Sundays, when I will post up my Goal list as usual.

A to Z is the brainchild of Arlee Bird over at Tossing it Out and I'd like to thank him for initiating the Challenge, and allowing us all the opportunity to take part - its going to be a roller coaster ride of fun!

Here is my first post.

Daily Achievement Chart - Maria A Smith


A Writers Achievement chart is a tool in the writers armoury to keep you on track. I've not used one before, its a simple wall chart, this one, came as a freebie in the middle of Writers Forum Magazine, and  so far they've produced one each month this year. If you take the magazine you may as well use it! Or alternatively you could make your own, all you need is a calendar with a square for each day of the month big enough to jot down a few lines.

As an exercise I filled it out to find out exactly what I get done in a month. It took me few days to  remember to fill it in, even though I'd put it in a prominent place as you can see.

Sometimes I put down word counts, but mostly I recorded all the writerly things that I did including writing, editing, putting ideas in my notebook, blog posts, meetings, reading and researching etc

Regulars to this blog already know I set and post weekly goal lists for myself, and they are brilliant for me as a guide and reminder of what I'm planning to do. The achievement chart is different as you fill it in as you go along each day. Its rewarding to see my progress laid out in this way. Surprisingly, even though I profess to not doing very much, regularly, the chart, I've discovered  tells a different tale. I can see at a glance a definite pattern of what works, and what might work better on other days. I also saw days when I had a break altogether.

It has served as a great initiator of smiles. Yes, that's right. I can't help smiling when I see it because I look at how much I've got done! And I want to keep adding to it, and saying to myself.

'Maria, you know what, you're actually better than you think you are at getting this stuff done.'

Of course I do a fair amount of procrastinating too, but I have this chart now, staring me in the face every time I open the fridge (which is often, I'm head chef, and chief bottle washer) I know I have to fill it up with writerly things.

Why not make your own, and give it a go this month?  You might be surprised, it gives me a boost and it could do the same for you too. Let me know how you get on.

37 comments:

  1. You are just so organised, Maria. I haven't a clue what I do or don't so each day/week/month!
    Rosalind Adam is Writing in the Rain

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    1. You do really, you just have a different method. :-)

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  2. That's a really good idea, because sometimes (actually, quite a lot of the time) I need a kick up the backside to get work done, and to me a chart is kind of an official thing not to be disobeyed!

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    1. I sort of look at it that way too!

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  3. This is a great motivational tool, Maria. I found a similar effect when doing Nanowrimo - just really helps to get in to the habit of updating your achievements/wordcount on a daily basis.

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    1. Yes, agreed getting the habit, is the key to everything.

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  4. Welcome to day one. Are we mad or what?

    I'm hopeless with achievement charts and goals, they're like new year resolutions. I start off all enthusiastic and end up ignoring them. You're much better organised then me.

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    1. Not really, you do get stuff done, but perhaps its without realising you have a mental list going on somewhere...writing it down might just make you a little more productive though. ;-)

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  5. Hi Maria, I don't have a blog but I will be joining you in this challenge. Each day - starting at A and ending on Z at end of month - I'm going to write a short piece of fiction. I've done today's, It was only 180 words long, but it's got me into my writing head and who knows it might end up as a short story another day.
    I look forward to following your A - Z posts.

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    1. Excellent! Thank you for visiting and good luck with your own personal challenge too!

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  6. Maria - Your Goals Lists are an excellent focus for organisation, accountability and achievement. They work for me. However, The Chart is another good strategy because we often undervalue and sometimes omit the smaller positive successess. Collectively they are an important contribution to the balanced overview and we can see on a daily basis just what has been achieved. Its also a good motivator if you spot that the last few days have been a bit lean.
    Most of us are serious writers and readers. We devour it, so why give ourselves gruel when with this chart there will be lots of cake!

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    1. There were one or two lean days on last months planner. I wasn't feeling well on a few of the days so took time out. Thank you for stopping by Keith...

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  7. What happens if you don't meet a goal? One of the problems I ran into with quarterly goals with my critique group is that I'd run into yet another huge problem that kept me from reaching anything I'd set.

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    1. If I don't reach a goal I simply reschedule it for the next day/week etc

      I have learnt to only set manageable goals. I break the big stuff down into small goals, then break them down again. Try it, it may help you Linda... ;-)

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  8. Recognising what you achieve is really important if you're someone who gives yourself a hard time, which is probably most of us.. Well done for doing your achievement chart and well done for starting the AtoZmonth on a post which will get lots of us thinking.

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    1. Thank you Lynne, I'm sticking with it, and will look at it at month end to see what it reveals.

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  9. I use a monthly page view in my filofax to keep track of such achievements. The downside is that it is hidden in my Filofax and I have to physically open it to the correct section. Having an actual chart in a prominent place like on the fridge sounds much more motivating.

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    1. I agree, I also have a filofax, but rarely use it for organising writing nowadays. Who would have thought the fridge could be such a good motivational writing tool? ;-)

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  10. I adore your writing chart, Maria, as I adore your weekly goals list :) I have a writing goals spreadsheet that I tend to from time to time. I should print it out and stick it on the fridge :)

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    1. Do it! Catherine, great to see you over here. Will catch up on your blog soon.

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  11. I already write practically every day - on Live Journal - & have done so for years. I don't call it blogging - it's very much 'journalling' or a version of 'daily pages.'

    As for a plan - I'm fortunate in that I'm retired (as you know) & can write pretty much whenever I choose. My chart, if I had one, would say: 'Seven Days a Week: 9.30 - 1.30 - WORK.' Which by & large means writing & editing. Simple but effective - & it works for me. On the days when 'life' gets in the way & I'm forced to abandon the writing, I try not to get too grumpy!

    I log the books I read in my paper journal & of course, do my fair share of research & make copious story notes.

    Nice post - thank you!

    Carol (Lovekin)

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    1. Great to see you over here at the First Draft Cafe, and thank you for your comments. I know what a busy woman you are...
      Logging the books you read is a good idea, my memory is failing, perhaps I should start that one.

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  12. It's a great idea, Maria. I keep track of the running I do in a similar way, so why not try it with the writing I do?

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    1. Maybe use different colour pens?

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  13. You put me to shame. Im like Ros I don't have a clue what I do each week,I probably waste a lot of time. I'll have to see what I can do to change it.

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    1. I doubt you waste a lot of time... :-)

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  14. Hi Maria,

    I admire your discipline and your determination. Your achievement chart is most notable. I just do whatever I want when the mood suits me. And if I'm totally lethargic, I have Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar, take over the writing.

    Wishing you much positive interaction with the A to Z. I would never commit myself to the alphabet challenge for an entire month. I'd much rather do my own thing. Anyway, enjoy and next, I guess, is the letter "B".

    Gary :)

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    1. Thank you Gary, it has taken me some to get to this place...but it works for me.

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  15. Achievement charts-what an excellent idea. I do them for my kids (I homeschool) but hadn't thought to do one for myself. Thanks for the idea and for visiting my blog:D

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  16. I love the chart! I really want to get something together to help keep me organized with blogging through this challenge this month and your post is very inspiring!

    Thank you for visiting me today too!

    -Your new follower! :)

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    1. They are easy to use, and will inspire you to do more...honestly. Thank you for visiting.

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  17. Great idea Maria, although I would need a lot more coffee to stick with it:)

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    1. I drink tea to keep up, interspersed with coffee. :-)

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  18. Hello Maria!

    Lovely to meet you, and to discover this site! I, like so many other writers, have the capacity to absolutely destroy myself with self-criticism and doubt so reminds of productivity and anything that makes me smile at myself are definite necessities! I made my own little version of this in my day planner for the month- just to make sure I had the right letters scheduled for the right days. As I finish the post I’ve been writing in what it ended up being about, and a triumphant “POSTED!” But I like the chart idea even better!

    Thank you!
    Beverly

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    1. You're welcome Beverly, I thought it was a very simple, yet good idea, and its really motivated me.

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  19. I see you have a similar theme for A to Z as mine, so I'll be visiting back over the month to enjoy your posts. Now being in Australia, I have to pick up my monthly copy of Writer's Forum mag electronically - the e-copy does come with the chart inserts, but can't be printed out very easily. I thought it a really good idea for a mag to give us one, though, especially with the motivational quotes and things on each month's chart.

    I use a writing log somewhat randomly myself - sometimes word count, sometimes moods or completition of something. For the A-Z Challenge I've got a spreadsheet going. Nice to find another writer sharing on writing.

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I really appreciate you taking the time to leave me a comment, and I try to reply to every one. Many thanks!