Writing it forward and setting goals

writing it forward

Hello all! Welcome back to this blog… Let’s talk about writing and goals for 2024.

Does anyone knows how to set proper writing goals? I, sure as hell, never feel like I do.

To make it just numbers-as-achievements doesn’t work for me, because I’m a too slow writer for it. There’s no way I can find my flow in the constant run of writing whatever to accomplish a quota.

To make it project-related, always feel like I’m letting things fly away from me. Again, as I am a slow writer, I get myself into struggling with stuff, and then I pause the project until I figure it out.

So about my writing goals… I just know that I have these projects that I have been working on, and I need to get back to them.

Moving forward is always so hard, specially when I know I need to have some sense of a finish line. But I don’t know how to make that commitment. I’m certain it will come to me whenever it’s time.

Also, for me at this point, to plan some writing routine seems quite impossible. Life is happening here and it’s not warm and fuzzy. So, I know I’ll be writing. I know in which projects I’ll be writing. But I don’t know how I’ll manage the time to do it.

Still, pushing forward it is.

First, I know I need some new habits. Or, at least a return to my most productive habits. Things have been getting complicated on the domestic front, and my writing time has been absorbed by a lack of sleep discipline and tantrums. Not mine, though… Not that I don’t feel like throwing some… at this point.

I’m hoping 2024 will bring some new habits and, with them, nights made for actual sleep. And, with more sleep, I’ll finally be able to insert my morning writing routine on a proper hour… right around 6AM. But maybe this is just some wishful thinking.

So, about setting writing goals…


SPECIFIC: What do I want to achieve?

There are three Writing Projects, on different stages of production and I want to get each to its next step.

MEASURABLE: How do I know I have achieved it?

To get to the end of the current stage of production on each project: To write the zero draft. To finalize the final read. To edit the 40 poems.

ACHIEVABLE: How to make it true?

There are no impossibles to achieve on my three ongoing writing projects. Everything’s achievable about these.

RELEVANT: Is it worth it? Is it relevant?

To write, in a writing life, is relevant. To get these ready to be read is very worth it.

TIME BOUND: When will I achieve it?

In 2024?! No. Being more specific about this. I’m setting the first trimestre of 2024 to have the #2 project zero draft done. Then, I’ll reread the final version of the #1 project. On the first six months #3 project will come to the forefront in specific times. Second half-of 2024, will see the needed update on these goals.


These three projects have been in the oven for a while now. Each have their particularities and personal involvement issues. 2024 will see them tackled and accomplished.

Still, I’ll be scarce on the actual numbers. After all, I’m not too good in keeping numbers running smooth, and I don’t want to discourage myself.

On the other(s) writing projects…

In the writing forward departmentbecause they are the most immediate way to reach out to readers — I’m keeping focused on the blogs.

Writing forward is important to me just because I feel more connected to the people that visit my blogs.

These are the virtual places where I might make more difference. Where I get to motivate, and try to inspire others, to see their life as pure creativity, and to pursue their arts and crafts, specially the writing craft. This has become a big part of my efforts on the writing it forward front.

When I struggle, I’ll take you with me to learn from my mistakes… like I’m doing now, with the setting up goals from which I’m scared of. And when I accomplish some milestone, you are right there with me.

So you can watch the view and jump in your own pursues as soon as you are ready… or just, jump in now. Subscribe to this blog and never miss a beat on this Writing Life Log: WLOG?! 😀 I know! Enough with the weird acronyms.

Focusing on…

This has been what I have been focusing on: to write about things I love.

Might it be in my fiction, in my writerly blogs, and even in my poetry, and in my Vlook YouTube videos.

I just want to write about things I love. Books, trips, stories, challenges, love… things that speak closely to my heart.

New endeavours…

In 2024, and you are reading this here first!, I would like to come back to the short story format, but I do not have a settled plan for it. Still, I have been entertaining the idea for a while. We will see if it goes somewhere.

Above all, I plan to find some satisfaction in the ongoing projects. Because this is more important than to bound myself to some metrics in a plan.

Not that I don’t find numbers important, because I do. But, sometimes I get a weird feeling that, if I put up too many boundaries, to myself and to the completion of my work, I end up unable to create anything.

It’s like I get bound by the lack of willpower to comply to the set numbers on the goal page. I get overwhelmed by all of it and shut down.

So, I don’t do that anymore. No strict numbers for me. Not in this.

I am no child, I can carry my own projects to good term. — and this is my Emma Woodhouse talking.

I need to feel that I’m open to change and magical creation, not under a whip, pressed into forced labor. Which, not being the most desirable discipline, it’s the one I need, to keep myself working on my creative plans and goals.

I hope you’ve been working on your creative projects. Hope the first days of this new year have been kind to you. Hope you are positive into the upcoming year and your creative contribution to the world.

See you next week! And, meanwhile you may checkout my social media and subscribe to this blog.

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Would you like to know anything about me? Please leave a question below and I’ll reply asap.

Bye and Keep Writing! ✍🏼


I have a gift for you: The Plan Your Creative Year Workbook for 2023

Plan Your Creative Year Workbook for 2023

Hello all! Welcome back to this blog.

I have been working on some creative projects, and trying to find a better way to plan this year’s writing efforts, as I’ve been sharing with you on the previous blog post…

One of the Creative Projects I have been working on is this Plan Your Creative Year Workbook for 2023, that you can download for free here…[No dropbox account is needed]

Usually, around this time of the year I do some planning of the year ahead. Gathering some creative projects to work on, in the first months of the new year, and trying to envision what the big picture for the year can be, while I expand on these projects throughout the year and for the following years as well.

All of these plans are flexible enough to allow changes.

And what does this mean? I plan some creative endeavours and I leave space to introduce new one’s during the year. Which I usually do anyway so I might as well leave space for them.

I keep checking in with my initial plans and its iterations, sometimes on a weekly basis. And this year I’ll be using this Workbook to do it.

I will be upfront with you: not all check in’s are productive. Sometimes, I keep analysing if I was on track only to find out that I wasn’t. Not really. Not if I want to make a significant improvement on my creative practices… but this is another subject altogether.

But these efforts are indeed repeated periodically, as I try to expand for longer spreads of time. Formulating SMART Goals is hard and sometimes fear set’s in and tries to overcome all my efforts.

So, this year I created something, a small Workbook with some work tools for planning my creative projects in 2023.

As I have written in the Creative Contents Page:


In accordance with my Annual Word for 2023 [EMPOWER] I figured I should share with you this workbook. To empower is also to promote better practices for others, not just myself, so I’ll be true to my annual choice of word.

This is my New Year’s gift to you: the Plan You Creative Year Workbook for 2023.

I hope you find the Plan Your Creative Year Workbook for 2023 useful and leave a comment if you do… or don’t, and what I can improve upon.

Again, this is the link for the free download… [No dropbox account is needed to download it] Enjoy!

Please leave a comment and subscribe for more content.

Bye and Keep writing! ✍🏼


How to convince myself to get back to my writing projects?

back to writing

I started September thinking about all the things that I had to include in my To Do’s List (lists)… and I got a tiny bit upset with the activity.

Last week, I mentioned the need to get back with my writing program and how I was getting along with SMART Goals (read all about it here…).

This week, was the moment to deepen the knowledge of my perceivable tasks. So it was time for:

To Do List

I am quite self-conscious about what I put on my To Do List. Mostly because I feel there is a connection between the making of a To Do List and how I manage my feelings, and general willingness, to do those mentioned tasks.

I always feel I refrain from getting too specific on each item because I am afraid I will back out of doing them if I contemplate the general volume of them all. So I simplify and cut them to the most achievable parts.

I have been using these lists for quite some time, and occasionally, I have perceived myself to be quite overwhelmed by them.

When I am in a turning point for starting something, lists usually get too intense. Even if not at the moment I am working on the list itself, but afterwards, when it’s time to walk the talk.

By now, I assure you, I have handled my list issues, and already tackled my Goals Revision, Tasks Update, and have started to include all my ongoing creative projects onto my daily routines. 

But it has been a few hard days because…


And this was a wretched beginning indeed! 

Reminding me of the following quote from (a most beloved) “Pride and Prejudice”:

‘This is a wretched beginning indeed! My sole dependence was on you; and I am sure nobody else will believe me, if you do not. – p.312 of “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen, Wordsworth Classics Edition

I kept wondering about…

  • I had a list of ongoing writing (and creative) projects.
  • I knew what each one entailed.
  • What tasks should be added in a day’s work.
  • I believed I had diversity enough on my creative endeavours.
  • That my engagement with each project was healthy enough and that I could assure my output flow.
  • They were sufficient in quantity, and different in quality.
  • And were complementary to one another in most cases…

So… why couldn’t I just get on with it?!?!

Figuring some things out

Mulling over all of this, I crossed paths with the definition of procrastination, on Daily Calm (meditation on the app).

Why was I procrastinating? What is a coping mechanism? Which strong emotions? Why couldn’t I just (re)start?!?!

I kept trying to give some answers to these questions and got to the conclusion that the avoidance mode was ON.

I may know what I have to do but… what if it’s worthless? what if it’s not? what if it’s just tolerable (another ‘P&P’ reference – p.17)enough?

What if I go back to them and perceive they are terrible? And I will spend the rest of my days in a poor, sad, alone, and in the verge of a ‘not fit to be seen‘ state? (okay, I’ll give it a rest with the ‘P&P’ quotes)

Worse yet, what if I (somehow) can perform a (nothing short of a) miracle, and write something that may succeed? How will I deal with THAT?!

Or, the most hard of them all, what if I put all the efforts and then, it will never amount to nothing more than okay. Not too bad, not too good, just existing in a kind of perpetual state of nothing special? (UAU! This hurts!)

How to cope with this?

coping mechanisms

We all have our coping mechanisms. Something we think, or do, in order to deal with a cause of stress.

What occurs to me, as best known examples of coping mechanisms, are unhealthy or addictive behaviours. But that’s just me being narrow-minded.

I am sure there are lot’s of healthy coping mechanisms… like walking, exercising, talking to a friend… what else? Add to healthy coping mechanisms in the comment section below, please.

Avoiding a task as a coping mechanism

Can we cope if we avoid? I don’t think so, and yet… it’s just standard operation mode kicking in.

Adding up to my To Do List is a coping mechanism? If I just keep adding but never get to do something, I believe it is.

Delaying the starting point of a project is a coping mechanism? If I never start, it is.

Avoid committing to a plan, schedule, output is a coping mechanism? Ohhh, yes.

As for strong emotions… aka stressors

By delaying restarting my projects, what am I avoiding here? And doesn’t this avoidance mode gives me more strong emotions?

I decided to include this phrase here about stressors:


We are all different and must care for ourselves the best way we can. 

So, what strong emotions? What am I avoiding here? Grief? Shame? Impostor Syndrome? Uncertainty? Fear?

Of what? The outcomes? The efforts? The lost opportunities? The ‘I should be doing something else‘ plague?

Avoiding strong emotions with strong emotions? Substituting the uncertainty of it all, with the certainty of quitting my writing projects? Because strong emotions cannot be avoided, they are interchangeable. Today I worry about THIS and tomorrow about THAT.

Identifying the most important tasks and breaking them down

Can I identify my most important tasks? Can I distinguish among them all, which are those that really matter? And why they are the most important?

And, in the lack of external rewards, am I devoted enough to these projects?

Am I really interested in doing these specific projects? And if so, why?

And this reminded me of the following quote…


Going back to the drawing board, aka my journal, I started to remind myself of the basic of setting smart goals.

And, let me remind you and me both that, Journaling always helps when a troubled mind keeps struggling to sort things out. Writing about our conundrums give us a safe space to think about them and disperse false notions.

I took all my Goals and tested them out.

smart goals

Smart Goals imply that they are:

Specific – what I want exactly to achieve?

Measurable – how do I know I have achieve it?

Achievable – am I genuinely able to achieve it?

Realistic – will this goal be worthwhile?

Timely – when will it be achieved?

A more visual approach to these, which I printed out and sticked right in front of my nose.

smart goals


I kind of concluded that it doesn’t matter to set big, unattainable goals. What I can do is set my goal for each project and keep my wheels turning towards a much bigger dream.

And it was important to remind myself of this, because:

  • I started lists,
  • decided on ongoing projects,
  • defined completion times,
  • content
  • and my commitment to the bigger picture and… 

finally, got myself some writing time in almost all of my projects.

So I just pulled up a google sheet and started typing away at my goals for each on going project and, this time around (yes, I periodically do this exercise) tried to juggle my schedule to fit all the demands that each project ensue.

From writing a fiction book, to manage my three blogs, to creating YouTube content… I am trying to be specific on this, while still feeling like it’s all a big mess.

But if you want to know more about setting smart goals and achieve them, please let me know in the comment section. I’ll be glad to give a more in-depth perspective on this.

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Bye and see you soon.


Back to September. Setting goals. Back to Writing.

back to september

Hello, September! We meet again.

My big break, also known as summer vacations, have ended. After a few bumps on the road… like recovering from surgery, failing miserably my Camp NaNo goal, and general discouragement… I’m back to my writing work and…

I like it!

A few days ago, I wrote this on my notebook:

Do my thing. Use my system. Do what works for me. Coming back after disruption is a bi***! – sf

This was set as a reminder for myself, meaning that I should take it easy, avoid being too much focused on what I didn’t achieve, or on what I couldn’t work out like I wanted, and just accept that it’s okay to have downtimes.

I can work with downtimes. [Look at me convincing myself!]

I can work not just ON downtimes but WITH downtimes. [am I whining enough?]

Usually I get a bit overwhelmed with changing rhythms. [And this is the understatement of the year!] But after a few days, I tend to focus on what I can do instead of what I should be doing, and get on with my creative life. And this summer wasn’t any different.

I didn’t wrote as much as I would have liked to, but I read a lot… for my standards at least. And used my time to do some sightseeing, be in nature, and in the water (salty and otherwise), and be with family. Filling the creative well as it is known in my creative dictionary.

This reminded me: Have you read “The Artist’s Way”, by Julia Cameron? I recommend it vividly.

Setting Goals

quote easy job

I also needed this reminder.

This means that there’s no other option than to pursue the work we want to do in this life. When we are working on something, it never get’s easy, whatever the work is.

I had other jobs that showed me (one time after the other) that I may devote myself to other occupations, but none of them were easy, or done without sacrificing something.

Creative work isn’t easy, but neither is working in whatever it is that we choose to do for society.

And, at the end of the day, choosing other work made me pretty angry with myself for not pursuing my desired occupations. Resources are finite. Personal resources are as finite and as (more) precious as all the others.

Work-Life balance is something I still struggle with and I guess will always be a thing. Family comes first. Sorry… not really! And writing comes as a close second.

So, after the unsolicited ramble…

Goals for the upcoming months:

smart goals

1. Reestablish Creative Practices

Quite vague, isn’t it? No, it isn’t. I’ll explain. 

I have a few things I need to do to get me on my creative zone. These practices, that keep changing over time, started with the above mentioned “The Artist’s Way”.

The Morning Pages and Artist Date’s (see the book for more info) are tools that helped me get out from a writing slump and understand myself better as an author and a creative person.

Periodically, I set some specifics on the needed resources to get a certain project done. Not all goes as planned but, usually, setting the constraints of a creative project help me get focused and achieve results.

For example, to write a book I need to put in the hours to discover all the details. This means I need to have a project, with daily hours set, an output format predefined, and clear motivational aids, culminating in a space (mental and physical) where I sit myself down and let my brain work things out.

Another example is to get ideas for an article. I need to have a constant influx of material, reading books, taking notes, surfing the w.w.w., watching movies and documentaries, going places… and other experiences, that need to be maintained no matter what. Usually I have some routines that get me this information, like listening to audiobooks when cooking dinner or reading material that I had subscribed through email. 

Back to work means back to creative practices.

And because in the last two months, I was forced to choose and adapt (read more about this on this article here…), I have not been able to maintain all my creative practices and forced to adhere to other one’s… like going to bed and getting up later than usual. Now it’s time to set my clock right and shift the creative hours for morning’s instead of after dinner.

This goal divides itself into small tasks and has a bigger impact than I care to admit even to myself. 

Please, let me know in the comments if you would like to know more about Goal Setting, Tasks and Project Management for Writing Projects. I’ll be happy to oblige.

2. Get back to writing

July was a b****! Movement was painful and a sitting position almost inexistent. The few typing periods I got were used on note taking, journaling and very few blog posts.

August brought noticeable improvements, but I had spent too much time in the dark, laying down, and in pains. All of this combined and my mental space got a bit clouded.

And then I had my daughter with me full time. And it was time to give her a proper summer time. Not forgetting that we have been cooped up in a small apartment for two years, in her infancy! Children missed a lot, in their formative years, with this pandemic.

One of my main goals/tasks for this Autumn is to finish my third-or-first draft of ‘The Shapeshifters’. Third draft because it’s the third time I’m rewriting this story. Or-First because it suddenly got rewritten in English.

I have a few other projects on hold as well, that I intent to get back to. Including the maintenance of this blog and my Portuguese one…

Hello, September! Are you well rested?!

3. Other Goals

I have a few other goals, concerning Reading, a new Book Club I joined recently, productivity measurements, the YouTube channel VLook (come with me to a visit of the Lisbon Book Fair 2022), and a few other stuff. But I’ll not get into them for now.

Each goal requires different times, and complementary resources, and I’ll be talking about them when applicable.

Let us know how was your summer writing efforts and if a middle of the year goal revision applies to your writing efforts. Please comment in the section below.


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Bye and see you soon.