Setting portfolio writing goals

Gold starI admire those of you who say you are going to write your portfolio and then fill out the application to send to BCG. I knew that wouldn’t work for me. I needed the pressure of a deadline and the BCG “clock” ticking provided it. (When you apply you are given one year to submit your portfolio before you have to reapply.  I reapplied twice.)

One of the things that helped me was to set small goals.  I set time goals (write for an hour) and I set quantity goals (draft 10 citations). Both worked. This setting of small goals might have helped me more if I had put them in place more often. 🙂

I just read an article by Grammarly “How to measure your writing goals as a writer and business professional” that resonated with me and the discipline needed to complete a portfolio. I thought I would share with you how the concepts of goal setting might apply to  portfolio writing and the writing of other genealogical articles.

  1. Identify a single goal:
    Let’s say you want to have both transcriptions done in one month. Break the process down into specific steps that achieve your goal, e.g. selection of a personal document, reviewing four other transcriptions and their research plans, determining the best format, etc. . Once you have the steps outlined, you might allocate each step to a particular day that month.
  2. Allocation of Time:
    Consider allocating a set amount of time each day to write. Set a timer that rings when your allotted time is up. (Sound like a great task for Alexa!) This might force you to devote time every day–even if it is a small increment.
  3. Wash, Rinse and Repeat
    This “rewards” you for writing every day. Check off the calendar with a big red X or a happy face or a gold star when you write that day!  This visual reminder informs you that you are incrementally addressing your goals.  It is great to see a calendar with lots of gold stars and in fact, you may find yourself not wanting to break the chain–and write even more!
  4. Monetary goal
    Well, genealogists don’t get paid for writing their portfolio, but you might find yourself writing other articles for money.  Do you have an annual amount you wish to make? A “thermometer” showing the total dollar goal and the amount you have achieved to date might serve as good measurement tool.
  5. Satisfaction
    Did you feel happy about a particular article or a blog post you wrote recently?  Record, using a five-point scale, your level of satisfaction each day with your writing production.  Over time you may perhaps also identify those writing assignments that give you the greatest pleasure.

Some of these methods might work for you, but others might not.  Which ones?  Try them and see.

If “time” is your issue, i.e. you do not have enough of it, consider signing up for the “Genealogy Writer’s Retreat” in September in Colorado.  This retreat is sponsored by Valerie Elkins and I and is the “gift of time” to write family histories, portfolios or other articles you have wanted to write without distractions.  We cook breakfast and lunch and provide designated quiet time for writing.  Dinner, sharing time, dessert and wine follow in the evening. Doesn’t that sound like delicious?

Let Valerie or me know if you are interested.  You do not have to be a genealogist to attend; you just have to want to write.

Happy Hunting!

Jill

 

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