So this is going to be another drive-by process post. Today’s topic: meetings.
Insert all the regular caveats here–ie, this isn’t meant to be advice, per se, but rather something more along the lines of, “this is how I do it right now, perhaps it will be helpful for you.” See also, “I’ve been at this a couple of years, but I’m no expert” and “we strive for progress, not perfection.”
Okay. Moving on.
Yesterday Fraction and I had our biannual (twice yearly, not every two years–that’s “biannual,” right?) business meeting, wherein we sat down at our favorite coffee shop and in the same notebook we use for every meeting, we took stock of where we are, and checked in on where we want to be.
Just like it sounds.
At the top of the first page of the meeting notes I write, “Business – Kelly Sue – Status Updates” and then go about listing every work project/pitch/fragment-of-an-idea that is either on my plate or starting to creep near it. (Or very far from my plate, honestly–I write ‘em all down.) We talk as we go about where I’m at and where I’d like to be. If I have an idea or Fraction has a suggestion as we go, I make a note of it as a thing to follow up on.
Once that list is exhausted, I move to the next page and title it “Business – Kelly Sue – Goals” and underneath it, spaced over the page, I write the following headings:
- 6 months
- 1 year
- 5 years
- 10 years
Here comes the hard part: then we flip back to the last meeting and check in on what it was that I had hoped to accomplish over the previous six months. Here’s the thing: it’s never good news. Or rather, it’s never entirely good news. Never once have I accomplished everything I put down for myself. I have, however, made progress every time that I suspect I would not have made without laying down my objectives in writing. We discuss and recalibrate and lay down my new objectives.
Then we repeat the process three more times — once from the top for Fraction, and then once again for each of us with personal projects and goals (family stuff). The whole process takes a few hours and isn’t 100 percent fun, so we reward ourselves with a trip to the comic book store afterwards. Yesterday I got an Eddie Campbell gn I’d never heard of.
Why do we do this? Because writing is our business and we take it seriously. Because we aim to have not just books, but careers. Because we believe in math and the statistics that surround goal-setting are staggering.
“There was a study done at Harvard between 1979 and 1989. Graduates of the MBA program were asked “Have you set clear written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” The results of that question were:
1. Only 3% had written goals and plans
2. 13% had goals but not in writing
3. 84% had no specific goals at all
10 years later Harvard interviewed the members of that class again and found:
1. The 13% who had goals but not in writing were earning on average twice as much as the 84% of those who had no goals at all
2. The 3% who had clear, written goals were earning on average 10 times as much as the other 97% of graduates all together. The only difference between the groups is the clarity of the goals they had for themselves”
Okay, we could argue until the apocalypse about using income as a measure of “success” but I’m going to assume that the ones with the written goals were making more money because they’d accomplished more than the ones without. Can we agree that that’s fair?
And really, with stats like that, where’s the harm? One meeting every six months is surely not going to hurt anything, is it?
You don’t need to be married to your best friend and business partner to have a meeting and set some goals. You could do it alone, but I’d wager that you’d have more fun and more success if you talked a buddy into grabbing coffee and going through the process with you. The most important part is that you put it in writing.
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