Nonfiction Writing Prompt #47: Create a Year-End To-Do List

writing prompts for nonfiction writersYou have exactly 22 days until the end of the year. Have you taken time to look back over the goals you developed in January last year? If not, you’ll never know if you achieved what you set out to accomplish—or if there are still things you need to get done. A quick evaluation of those goals, however, will help you create a year-end to-do list so you can mark a few more of your goals as “done” before the New Year arrives.

I did a quick review of my own goals just before writing this post. I was pleased to see I had accomplished some of them…and I actually accomplished some goals I didn’t put on the list last year. I was not happy, however, to discover a number of unfinished…even un-started…projects.

This information will inform my goal-setting activities for 2016. It also might determine how I spend my time for the next three weeks.

And that’s why this month’s nonfiction writing prompt asks you to create a year-end to-do list. It’s amazing how much you can get done in a short period if you feel pressed by time!

How to Complete Nonfiction Writing Prompt #47

To complete this prompt, review your goals for 2015, and create a list of your incomplete goals. Then determine what you still have time to accomplish before the year ends.

This is a simple and self-explanatory prompt, but here are some tips:

  1. Review your 2015 goals. Dig them out. Read them. Think about them. How do you feel about what you accomplished or didn’t accomplish?
  2. List your achievements for the past year. Make a list of the goals you achieved. Did you accomplish anything that you didn’t have on your list? Add that to your list of accomplishments. Pat yourself on the back! Celebrate those achievements.
  3. List your incomplete goals. Create a list of all the goals you intended to accomplish but didn’t. How does this list make you feel?
  4. Determine why you didn’t complete your goals. If you achieved some of your goals, those must have been important to you. You made them a priority. If you didn’t achieve other goals, there must be a reason for that as well. Where they not a priority? Did you lose interest in them? Knowing why you didn’t do what you set out to do will help you accomplish more next year—or re-prioritize your goals in the future. Write down the reasons next to each unfinished item.
  5. Create a year-end to-do list. If some of the items on your list remain important to you, evaluate if you can accomplish them in the next 22 days. If so, make a list of action items you need to complete each day until the end of the year.
  6. Add the remaining items to your 2016 goals or to-do list. Your list of unfinished goals that remain priorities but that can’t be accomplished in under a month informs your 2016 goal setting activities. Make these goals your priority for early in the New Year. And develop an action plan to help you get them done pronto!

It’s never too early in December to begin working on your 2016 goals. But a close look at what you accomplished, what you didn’t accomplish, and why will help you achieve more goals in the next 12 months.

If you want more information on how to become a productive nonfiction writer, join the Nonfiction Writer’s University (NFWU)—and do it before the January price increase. The NFWU contains a variety of helpful information about creating your New Year writing and publishing goals. NonfictionWritersUniv300For more information on writing all types of nonfiction, join the NFWU. When you do, you’ll receive 23 months of NFWU challenges, assignments and event recordings with a variety of experts in the field. Plus, you’ll have access to live coaching (and archived replays of past coaching sessions) as well as introductory gifts worth almost $150 in value! Members also get additional bonuses during the year.

Next NFWU event: 12/15 at 4 PT: How to Succeed as a Nonfiction Writer in 2016 with Nina Amir. (Membership NOT required. This event is open to the public.) To find out more about or to join the NFWU, click here.

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