Dressing like Benjamin Franklin
hasn’t helped my prose.

I’m a big fan of goal setting. When it’s done with focus, even the act of defining what is important to you (and understanding why) significantly increases your chances of achieving it.
A simplified version of the process (let’s call it coaching on the go) runs like this:
– What do you want to achieve?
– Is it a priority for you?
– What will you gain from it?
– Is the goal within your control?
– What are the barriers to achieving it?
– How do you plan to overcome them?
What do you want?
What’s stopping you?
What needs to happen?
In practice, however, we often select what we consider to be goals, when we’re not actually holding all the cards. And yet…and yet having that goal can make us mindful of opportunities (and encourage us to seek them out) so that it becomes more likely.
One of my goals this year was to have another magazine column, especially after the Toronto magazine I wrote for last year folded.
What I couldcontrol was:
– What I wrote about, how I wrote and when I wrote.
– How often I looked for opportunities and where.
– My actual pitch once I’d identified an opportunity.
Needless to say, it’s a bit of a lucky dip. Even so, when the pieces do fall into place, half the reason is that you’re fully prepared.
My column, The Better Life – a bit like The Good Life, but with the Internet, appears in Hampshire based Discover magazines from this month. It’s a humorous look at green living from the perspective of a bumbling townie. I’ve been in training for many years. I also contribute to The Life List, which features tongue-in-cheek advice for the good folk of Hampshire.
Two things probably sealed the deal, when I spoke with the editor (apart from arranging time to discuss her requirements over the phone):
1. Having a proposal and sample piece ready and waiting.
2. Being able to meet her requirements and deadlines.
The creative side is lovely, what with being able to write about things that interest me and in a style that suits my personality. But let’s not forget the other side of the professional coin – time management, working to a brief and a timescale, being clear about rights, editing, managing the money side of things, and not resting on my laurels.
Which reminds me – I must update my résumé.  


  1. Freya Morris says:

    That sounds like an awesome column Derek! Good luck with it! Hopefully I can find some way of reading it.

  2. Derek says:

    Hi Freya, bung me over an email and I'll send you a print ready PDf of Episode One.

  3. auntyamo says:

    Thanks for that Derek. I've just been made part time in my 9 to 5! And tho that is scary, I'm looking forward to putting some organised time into my writing.
    Also looking forward to keeping up with your blog 🙂

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