Many of us have projects that we are sitting on, maybe waiting for larger chunks of writing time, waiting for a chance to re-run the data, or waiting for a professor or colleague to get back to us with comments.
With this New Year and the start of a new academic semester, you have probably thought about when you might get around to these languishing projects.
I’m here to challenge you and then to help you! The best way is to start by setting the goals and writing those goals down somewhere.
The New Year reliably brings flurries of goal-setting manic episodes for many innocent people. I am one of those goal-setting manic people. If you are among, or at least proximal to, these goal-setters, you will have heard the popular phrase that, according to a 1953 Yale/Harvard study, people who write down their goals are significantly more likely to achieve those goals.
I did a bit of research and found that, actually, no such study exists!
Never fear, goal-setters, Dr. Matthews at the Dominican University did actually do just such a study and, yes, she found that people who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them. (And the goal-setters said, “Hooray!”)
More importantly, she found that, in addition to writing goals down, telling your goals to a friend and then communicating weekly with that friend about those goals increases the likelihood of achieving the goals.
For Paper Raven Editing, this means two things:
- I am going to write my goals down and share them with you here.
- I know you readers out there. Yes, you, with all the writing projects! I know that, according to Matthews, you need some encouragement and accountability.
Well, we can start with Paper Raven Editing, which has already achieved the goals of a new brand and a re-designed website. (Many thanks to EEF Designs!) I had had the goal of re-designing for years, but a few months ago, I sent an email to my friend at EEF Designs and said, “I’m finally going to do it. I would love to grab that last slot of yours in January, enlist your design-y brain in a new website, and take this business to the next level.”
I enlisted accountability, encouragement, and resources for the re-design, and here we are! Goal accomplished. And it’s like crack. I just want to accomplish more goals now.
I do have more goals, beginning with my plan to compile a valuable list of the best links for different style guides commonly used by writers and researchers. For instance, my undergraduate students (at multiple institutions) were writing papers in APA or MLA format and had never heard of the Purdue Online Writing Guide. How this is possible in an upper-level class, I do not know. I would like to do my best to make sure that at least the writers I work with know of these sorts of valuable resources.
That’s enough about me. Let’s talk about you.
If you want to finish, or at least push forward, that writing project that has been idle for far too long, you need someone to hold you accountable. Tell your friend, if you want support. Tell you professor or colleague, if you want to scare yourself into finishing out of fear of disapproval. Heck, tell your mom or your two-year-old son or your dog, if you just want the words to come out of your mouth.
Then, start, for Pete’s sake! There is a time for setting goals, there is a time for writing down goals, and now (January is almost over!) it is time for action, my friends.
Thank you for reading, but I encourage you now to close out the Facebook tab, close out the email tab, and pull out that project.
First, though, could you subscribe to Paper Raven Editing’s RSS feed?
Gee, that was nice, thanks!
We’ll see you back soon, and hopefully we will all have enlisted accountability, encouragement, and resources to tackle those projects.