Just keep writing, just keep writing…

I thought it was time for another DIY MFA post where I talk about the book’s content (there’s been so much science + writing going on in my life recently that I’ve struggled to find time to fit in regular posts!) and I thought I’d share what I love most about this book – it starts off strong with organization and goals! If you’re a writer who likes structure, this book is so for you.

Chapters 2 + 3 are all about how to organize your writing goals (you know, the kind of thing that’s necessary to really make progress on your work). Now, DIY MFA recognizes three writing goal categories: Write with Focus, Read with Purpose, and Build your Community and asks you to balance those goals in whatever way works for your writing life at the time. The DIY MFA starter kit (sign up at the bottom of the patge) also comes with some really great goal-planning worksheets to go along with the book. After using them for two months, I can safely say that I recommend them.

Like a lot of things in the DIY MFA book, the idea of organization and setting goals isn’t revolutionary and yet, somehow, the way they change your view on writing is. Reading this book I had one ah-ha moment after another. Of course I shouldn’t be writing ‘when the whim strikes me’ or ‘whatever I feel like at the moment’; of course I need a plan!

Of course, the most difficult of the plan for me is sticking to it. I’ve downloaded the ‘goal sheets’ and filled them out. I’ve decided my little steps to my big goals – and then I get wildly off track. I seem to have some mischief in me that suggests I write about anything other than what I have as my goal (a really high-level kind of procrastination where you still get things done, just not the right things). Trying to work on a book? Here’s a great line for a poem. And so on.

Perhaps this is why Pereira suggests we revisit our goals every few weeks; because our circumstances and our interests change. I wonder if this revisiting is helpful or hurtful for someone like me – it gives me an easy out to switch projects but, at the same time it means I’m moving forward on many different things, piece by piece.

Do any of you suffer from goal-switching syndrome? Do you have any tips/tricks for getting yourself to focus? Share them with me here, in the comments!


Meghan Barrett is a student at Drexel University, earning her PhD in Biology. She previously attended the State University of New York at Geneseo, where she earned a B.S. in Biology and English/Creative Writing and was a part of the Honors College. Meghan was a founding member of NeuWrite/Edu, a science-writing collaboration group at Geneseo, and worked as a Writing Intern for Phi Beta Kappa's Online News Site, The Key Reporter.


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