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This time, Sherry-the-Goal-Setting-Guru, evaluates the quality of the goals I set for the 4th round of ROW80* in 2011. The focus of this post is how EFFECTIVE I was at setting specific, measurable goals and not (phew!) on whether or not I met or exceeded those goals.

*For those of you not familiar with Row80, see my first comment and I’ll give you an overview and the link.

Because Sherry and I report weekly on goals and accomplishments she knows too dang much is painfully familiar with adjustments made to my ROW80 (2011 Round #4) quarterly goals. ROW80 credo: The Writing Challenge that Knows You Have a Life.

Next week, we’ll look more specifically at where I am with those goals. Did I set the bar too high? Or, did I goof off piddle away fail to focus on priorities.

NOTE TO SELF: Jump into busy bee mode. Get some of those Row 80’s done before next Wednesday. Or, skip town.

Sherry doesn’t have to knock me out of the hammock this time. I’m in hurry, scurry, worry mode over next week…

…when she returns with her weed whacker evaluation.



Raised by Nancy Drew and Jane Marple, Alice Munro Short Story Award winner Sherry Isaac’s novels and short stories weave the common thread of everyday life, love and forgiveness into tales that transcend all things, including the grave. Find Sherry on the web, follow her on Twitter, like her on Facebook and read her blog posts at Romance & Beyond.




by Sherry Isaac


Yeah, I stole this line from Gloria’s ROW80 pledge post as my title. We’re buds, we share stuff. As friends, critique partners and career coaches, we aren’t afraid of a little candor. So, Gloria has graciously allowed me to analyze her ROW80 goals publicly.

And on her blog, no less.

Clearly, she trusts me.


Using the prattle guidelines I blathered on about suggested earlier this month on Step Away From The January, It May Be Loaded Part I and Part II, let the nonsense analysis begin.

If you want to see what an colossal mess my goals were two years ago, before I learned to goal-set with foresight, check out Part III.

First things… hmm. Not first because I’ve already written a few paragraphs. First things next, then. Gloria has shared her list with our own career coach foursome, but she has also branched out with her commitment to ROW80. She is required to review her list often, which means she has to look at the list often.

That’s a gold star right there.

Now, on Dasher, on Dancer, on with the list…

EXERCISE 4 days per week (1 hour sessions)

Though this goal doesn’t specify what Gloria means by ‘exercise’–I’ve been known to use the description loosely myself–let’s give the benefit of the doubt, that Gloria had a clear routine in mind.

The goal is specific, what she will do, for how long and how often. The goal is achievable. It is challenging. Aside from the little twists life can throw in our paths, Gloria owns control over this goal.

If you agree Gloria earns a green clover, say so in a comment. That’s what they’re there for.

HOST Brinda Berry on Gloria Richard Writes. Brinda will use my blog and web presence as a case study for a series titled “PIMP MY WEB PRESENCE.”

Ruh-roh, Gloria won’t write her own posts? Have to say it, kudos on delegation. This goal looks to the future with a plan to draw readers, build her platform, audience share with Brinda, not to mention networking at it’s finest. the goal is clear, specific, and the planned series even has a title.

What do you think, Readers? Has Gloria earned a Scooby Snack?

IMPLEMENT WEB presence enhancements recommended by BRINDA BERRY and post weekly blog about results/questions/mishaps.

Any control issues dissolve when we realize Gloria has Brinda on speed dial. This goal has a target: become social media savvy, and dependent. And, it is totally doable.

What shall we give Gloria for this one? How about a splash in Barbie’s pool with Malibu Ken? (Um, Barbie? March break is coming up. Why don’t you take Skipper to the ski chalet?)

WRITE/EDIT current WIP an average of 4 hours per day to:

  • •Revise scene outline (incorporate new ending); update synopsis accordingly (by 10/12)
  • •Deep edit first 50 pp of WIP based on feedback from contest judges (by 10/16)
  • •Write/edit an average of 9 pages per day 10/16 through 11/30. “Bank” overages for vacation with cousins.

Gloria’s goals, like her humoUr hits, tend to be direct, hard-hitting, one-liners. This one, she’s implemented steps. Bob Wylie would be proud. Wylie Coyote? He’ll only care if she’s used ACME products in her scheme to catch the Road Runner.

This list was prepared for posting for ROW80. On a separate list for her eyes only, or mine because I’m snoopy that way, these steps could be broken down further, with target dates. Because this goal was geared toward having her WIP completed in time for the Golden Heart, a calendar would have been useful not only for scheduling those visiting cousins, but to see if her timeline was realistic. A tight timeline could also prompt Gloria to temporarily suspend any unnecessary activity while she strives toward her goal.

For ROW80 purposes, concise and tight with steps attached. Well done, Gloria. You may watch cartoons for an hour. Bring a blankie, you know you’ll fall asleep.


SUBMIT GOLDEN HEART manuscript by November 30th

Yup. This baby’s a two-fer. The goal was specific, challenging, achievable and all that other rot good stuff. And ya know she really meant to do this. I mean, look at those capital letters. REGISTER. SUBMIT. No pussy-footin’ there.

I also know that after much back-and-forth, soul-searching and long-distance calls on my dime (s’okay, I have an international calling plan so there were no actual dimes involved), Gloria exercised her good judgement and chose not to pursue this goal. This decision required foresight, careful consideration of her career path and choices in how best to invest her time.

Yes, I used the word ‘exercise’. No, Gloria, that does not count as one of this week’s four exercise sessions. However, for being flexible, I award you with your very own Gumby.

DEEP EDIT manuscript during December. Prep to begin querying in January, 2012

Not a lot of steps, but I hear that in Texas, two is all you need. The goal is both target and time-specific. However, Gloria may have benefited from baby-stepping this one a little more. The benefit? Breaking down the DEEP EDIT (Hello, Margie Lawson!) stage of the plan would have helped discern how reasonable the query target date was.

For Two-Steppin’, I bestow a pair of ruby red cowboy boots, complete with spurs.

Click your heels twice and POOF! You’re in Nashville.

Click the spurs once and POOF! John has done the dishes and sorted the laundry and polished the silverware.

(Gotta get me some spurs…)

POST ROW 80 progress every SUNDAY

Specific. Timed. Achievable. This goal is All That, so let’s give Gloria a Bag of Potato Chips.


Straight forward, concise. Gloria describes herself as scatter-brained. I don’t know about you guys, but all I see on this list is FOCUS!

Your reward, Gloria, is to focus on the stars tonight. You are one of them.

CREATE/IMPLEMENT a theme for Friday blog posts

Hm. Brainstorming is hard to pin down. But again, Gloria’s target is clear.

Gloria, find a ROCK to go with that STAR.

Add LIFE LIST GOALS (and blog tab) by November 1st

Specific task, specific target date. Gloria has control over writing her list, and since ROW80 allows her to write her own goals, whatever she wants, however she wants, she does not have to consider whether or not her list will be accepted or not. She only has to produce the list. And add the blog tab.

Reward? Methinks there is a trip to Yogurtland on the horizon!

Let’s set aside ROW80 for a moment.

The other day, during chat–and remember, this was not a formal, stick-it-on-a-list-and-make-it-official goal, just two friends chatting, Gloria set another goal:

Add two new followers to blog per week

Gloria had a clean-cut plan to achieve this goal, and it is achievable. She broke the goal into specific steps.

(1)  Find new sites and make friendly in comments (NOTE: This is genuine, authentic Gloria. Making friendly comes natural to this lady. Just ask the staff at the Atlanta Historic Midtown Marriott.)

(2)  Make comments (She does this anyway.)

(3)  Make follow recommendations on Twitter (She does this anyway, too.)

Great plan, but…

Even though Gloria does all these things, and her followers have followed her because of her genuine friendship, she has no control over whether or not recipients of her friendly goodwill gestures will choose to follow her blog. The may visit, they may even comment (insert shameless hint here), but they ay not follow.

The goal is sound, however, I suggest making the steps her goals, and the number of followers her target. The difference is subtle, but the difference is there.

Back to ROW80

So, does Gloria’s ROW80 list pass the test? Hmm, let’s see. Specificity. Challenge. Control. Steps. Flexibility. Everything seems to be there and yet…

And yet.

When I take a gander at Gloria’s Who Me? page, I see this:

I like laughter in life, and that’s what I put on the page.

In bold, no less. And italics.

As they say in Texas, Huh?

(‘Huh’ = A nod to Gloria’s DH, John, the most charming, not to mention only, Texas male I know.)

Gloria, where is the fun on this list? Where is the pleasure, the balance, the-the-the


Gloria, I’ll give you one florescent pink sticky note for balance since you topped the list with exercise, but girlfriend, that is all. I’ve doled out all sorts of rewards throughout this post, but fun, well, fun is its own reward. Fun keeps our energy flowing. Fun keeps us creative. Fun keeps us inspired.

Where did your sense of fun go? Where?

Oh, no! Tell me you didn’t leave it at the dressing room at Bebe’s!




So, whether or not you participate in ROW80, whether or not you set goals, tell us what keeps your focused and moving toward your goals. Sherry and I LOVE to hear from you. As she says, we’re needy that way!