[Worksheet] Four Personal Goal Categories + Inspirational Quotes

No affiliate links here, and no price to download. If you find this resource helpful, you can buy me a cup of chai. I hope you stick around for awhile to see what other resources and worksheets you can delve into!

When it comes to goals, January is really just a free-trial month. So don’t worry if you didn’t meet your New Year’s resolutions. They’re not nearly as important as setting goals for yourself.

I’ve blogged about S.M.A.R.T. Goals before, but now I have a worksheet for you that will help you establish more than just achievements and professional objectives.

Individual growth is holistic, but juggling professional and personal responsibilities is rough. It usually results in dropped balls and broken plates—or hearts. We’ve discussed the difference between important and urgent, so let’s figure out how to really make a priority of those important things that have been evaporating on the back burner for too long.

We Work Too Much

Perfectly (and coincidentally) timed with this post was a recent Twitter discussion on the pressure we put on ourselves to always be working:

The struggle is especially real for people who work at home:

“You do this thing where you’re never fully committed to work time or break time. Every day you get some work done, but you’re never in ‘work mode’. But then when you goof off, you feel guilty, ’cause you feel like you should be working on something. You should have designated work time, and work hard to get it finished. But then, have relax time, and actually enjoy it. I think you’d be a lot happier.”

The Personal Goal Planner

When creating this goal planner, I researched a dozen different life coaching techniques and ended up with four non-work categories that can end up falling to the wayside when we focus too much on work:

Keep reading for the download and a smattering of inspirational quotes in each category.
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#70pit17 Slushies & Judges

This year all the slushies are judges and vice versa. In 2017, the pages with the seven highest scores of each age category will be posted here on larawillard.com/blog, tagged and linked by genre.

(So yes, if there’s a seven-way tie for seventh place, we would have thirteen pages.)

Let’s get to know your pg70pit slushies for 2017! We’ll start with Twitter profiles and then some getting-to-know-you questions and answers.

Middle Grade


Elizabeth Buege, @ekbuege

Reader, writer, book editor. Drawn to beautiful words, magical stories, & the scent of fresh paper. #revpit, #p2p16, & #shoreindie editor + #pg70pit judge.


JD Burns, @jdburnswrites

MG Reader and Writer. Currently on submission with my MG Fantasy. Rep’d by @R_EliseWrites of @GoldenWheatLit.

Ari Schweieters, @arischwieters

We thought you was a toad—Delmar O’Donnell. Writer, Jesus-follower, Hamline MFAC candidate.

Young Adult

Pg70Pit Bio Picture

Meghan Barrett, @MegBarrett316

Meghan is Lara’s intern from last year and needs a Twitter Bio but subscribes to Yoda’s advice: “Do or do not. There is no try.”


India Hill, @booksandbighair

A writer awkwardly stumbling around NYC. Social Media Fellow @HBO. Bylines in TeenVogue, Essence, and Sesi. ΔΣΘ. Matthew 5:16 ✨. Rep’d by @hroot


Kosoko Jackson, @kosokojackson

A Slytherin wearing Wonder Woman’s tiara. Period piece junky. Spy genre trash. @Rockthevote Digital Associate. Repped by @louisefury


Kaleigh Walter, @kaleighwalter

Reader, writer, editor. Currently on sabbatical in France attempting to write a novel. It’s not nearly as glamorous as “Midnight in Paris” makes it seem as I have yet to meet Tom Hiddleston.



Byron Graves, @byrongraves

Ojibwe | Author | #WCNV 2016 Finalist | 2017 WITM Mentee | Seeking representation for my novel The Distance


James Stryker, @JStryker21

Author of #SIMPLICITY #BOY – @ninestarpress #ASSIMILATION – Pan Macmillan, #70pit16 slushie, #FosterDad & puglet slave. #WNDB #LGBT Rep’d by @inthesestones


Nicole Tone, @NicoleATone

Pub. Director @REUTSpub • writer, editor, coffee snob, Slytherclaw • Bylines @hellogiggles @Britandco @Femsplain etc • Contact: ntommasulo@gmail.com

All of the Above


Lara Willard, @larathelark & @LaraEdits

wordherder & story addict | fiction & comics editor @LaraEdits | copy writer & designer | there’s a million things I haven’t done

More About Us

Most-used emoji


JD—What’s an emoji 😉







Lara—😍 🤓 😘

First job

Meghan—Summer nanny

Elizabeth—As a kid, it was helping an elderly neighbor; post-college, it was teaching Spanish.

JD—Dishwasher – just like Rodney Copperbottom’s dad!

India—Cashier at CiCi’s Pizza!

Kosoko—Cashier at a Health Food store


Byron—Commercial Fisherman

James—Customer Service Representative at a call center


Lara—Preschool teacher’s aide & newspaper intern

Current job

Meghan—I am a Reading Corps Elementary Literacy Tutor

Elizabeth—I’m a freelance book editor & a homeschool co-op secondary writing teacher

JD—Get up – eat – work – help kids with homework – skip sleep to write – repeat.

India—Digital + Social Media at HBO!

Kosoko—Digital Media Associate for Rock The Vote

Kaleigh—Grant Writing for MN Nonprofit

Byron—Account Executive & Author

James—I’m a Senior Supervisor for a customer service call center. I do a lot of project management, design/graphics for trainings, and data analysis.

Nicole—Freelance editor and writer

Lara—Freelance editor by night, website copy and design consultant by day.

If you had entered this year, what would be your 7-word code name?

JD—An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small (Thomas Hardy, “The Darkling Thrush”)

India—Okay, ladies, now let’s get in Formation! (Beyoncé, “Formation!”)

Kosoko—The landlord’s daughter, the landlord’s black-haired daughter (Alfred Noyes, “The Highwayman”)

Byron—I’ll tell you how the sun rose (Emily Dickinson, “I’ll Tell You How the Sun Rose”)

James—none about me save in the shadows (Ezra Pound, “In Durance”)

Nicole—”& crowned herself the mother-f—ing queen” (Amanda Lovelace, “How’s That for a Happily Ever After?”)

Lara—I like their lady horse swagger, after (Ada Limón, “How to Triumph Like a Girl”)

7-word description of one of your main characters

JD—Quiet boy discovers he is a wood-troll.

India—A black girl who loves to read.

Kosoko—A witty, sarcastic talented linguist in Kosovo

Byron—Sarcastic, cynical, witty, brilliant, apathetic, jaded, righteous

James—Balances dealing drugs, eating disorder, alternate personality.

Nicole—Witch who doesn’t know her own strength

Lara—Tween Chicana BMX racer bestowed embarrassing superpower

Best 69th page from your bookshelf

Elizabeth—The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

JD—Jane Eyre

India—I’m going to go on a limb and say any Harry Potter book.

Kosoko—American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Byron—Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

James—Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

Nicole—White Oleander

Lara—Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

Dream writing retreat location

Meghan—Oxford, in the same bedroom in the same house I lived in while I was studying abroad.

Elizabeth—I probably wouldn’t leave Minnesota–I want cool, fresh air, along with trees and water–and ideally a dog or some cats to keep me company.

JD—Under the stairs of the Dursley’s residence.

India—Somewhere with a view of the ocean… matter of fact, ON the ocean. Perfect weather where I can lay down for hours and write to the waves crashing agains the sand.

Kosoko—In Dublin ireland, across the street from a pub, and a short distance from The River Liffey.

Kaleigh—A screened-in porch next to a body of water.


James—When I write I really need to focus and block everything out, so my dream writing location would be what would probably drive many people crazy. I would love to write in a cleanroom. No windows, no noise – not even anything on the walls. Just a nice, hermetically sealed, soundproofed, cleanroom. Just me, a desk, and the brain. 🙂

Nicole—A waterfront cottage in Seattle with a fireplace and windows and a desk facing the Puget Sound.

Lara—Howl’s Moving Castle, minus the fire demon and Howl, with the door opening to my house, to the Scottish highlands, to that bunny island in Japan, and to the New York Public Library on 5th.

#pg70pit is back for 70pit17!

In 2017, I’m hosting the third annual pg70pit, a totally unique type of contest and pitching opportunity for writers with complete, polished novels (Middle Grade, YA, or NA/Adult) in any genre except erotica.

This summer, I’m changing things up a bit to make it more easier on me and on participating agents, while still offering fun opportunities for participating writers. Find out more after the jump.


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Which Gothic Romantic Writer Are You?

Just over two hundred years ago, it was a stormy June on Lake Geneva in Switzerland. Lord Byron and his personal physician, John Polidori, were renting out a mansion in the summer, the Villa Diodati. Rained in with them at the time were poet Percy Shelley and Mary Godwin, who would later marry Percy and be known as Mary Shelley.

They read Shakespeare and Mary’s mother (Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin) and a host of German ghost stories to beat the boredom. Then Byron issued a challenge: each of them should write a ghost story of their own, and then share it with the group.

Each of the four tackled the challenge in their own way. Mary Shelley wrote about their creative endeavor in her introduction to Frankenstein.


Polidori, Byron, Mary Shelley, and Percy Shelley

Lord Byron

Byron wrote a story based on a fragment of a tale from the end of his poem “Mazeppa,” which itself was a narrative poem based on a legend of a historical Ukranian high commander. If that isn’t literary inception, I’m not sure what would be, especially if you consider the fate of this abandoned vampiric tale, which later inspired:

John Polidori

Polidori “had some terrible idea” of a skull-headed lady who saw something she shouldn’t—Mary couldn’t remember what. Polidori didn’t know how she should be punished for such a crime, so he put her in the tomb where Romeo and Juliet died.

After Byron abandoned his ghost story when the weather improved, John rewrote it into The Vampyre, a novella which basically became the grandfather of all paranormal romance.

Percy Shelley

Mary’s future husband, Percy, was a poet “more apt to embody ideas and sentiments in the radiance of brilliant imagery and in the most melodious verse that adorns our language than to invent the machinery of a story.” In other words, he was a literary pantser who cared little of plot.

Percy took something that scared him as a child and added some alternative facts to fashion his ghost story.

Mary Godwin (Shelley)

With her high literary pedigree, it’s no surprise that Mary Shelley would become a writer herself. But as a child, rather than the romances or adventure stories that were popular at that time, she preferred living in a world of her own making, inspired more by her dreams and imagination than reality. “I could people the hours with creations far more interesting to me at that age than my own sensations,” she writes.

Mary struggled with the challenge. The men, she felt, failed at writing a true story, concerning themselves more with word choice or concepts than creating an experience.

“I busied myself to think of a story, —a story to rival those which had excited us to this task. One which would speak to the mysterious fears of our nature, and awaken thrilling horror—one to make the reader dread to look round, to curdle the blood, and quicken the beatings of the heart. If I did not accomplish these things, my ghost story would be unworthy of its name. I thought and pondered—vainly. I felt that blank incapability of invention which is the greatest misery of authorship, when dull Nothing replies to our anxious invocations. Have you thought of a story? I was asked each morning, and each morning I was forced to reply with a mortifying negative.”

The poets quickly abandoned the challenge, neither finishing because they were “annoyed by the platitude of prose.” Byron and Shelley instead spoke about a number of topics, including the principle of life, and if it could be discovered or created. They spoke of  Dr. Erasmus Darwin’s “Spontaneous Vitality” and of galvanism, a professor of medicine’s applications of electricity to dead frogs, making their legs move.

That night, Mary couldn’t sleep. “My imagination, unbidden, possessed and guided me,” she says. She saw vividly the scene of a “pale student of unhallowed arts” using a machine that brought a “hideous phantasm of a man” to life.

“The idea so possessed my mind, that a thrill of fear ran through me, and I wished to exchange the ghastly image of my fancy for the realities around. I see them still; the very room, the dark parquet, the closed shutters, with the moonlight struggling through, and the sense I had that the glassy lake and white high Alps were beyond. I could not so easily get rid of my hideous phantom; still it haunted me. I must try to think of something else. I recurred to my ghost story, my tiresome unlucky ghost story! O! if I could only contrive one which would frighten my reader as I myself had been frightened that night!

“Swift as light and as cheering was the idea that broke in upon me. “I have found it! What terrified me will terrify others; and I need only describe the spectre which had haunted my midnight pillow.” On the morrow I announced that I had thought of a story. I began that day with the words, It was on a dreary night of November , making only a transcript of the grim terrors of my waking dream.”

It was Percy Shelley who, seeing its potential, urged Mary to flesh it out (pardon the pun) and turn it into what became the grandmother of science fiction novels.

Which Geneva Gothic Romantic Writer Are You?

It depends on how you get your inspiration.

The Reteller

john-polidoriPolidori was inspired by the works of others, of Shakespeare and Lord Byron, creating his own stories from their initial ideas. Consider stories that inspire you. Write fan fiction, a retelling, or a twist on another tale, making it your own.

Example: Marissa Meyer wrote Sailor Moon fanfiction before she started writing her debut novel Cinder (a futuristic retelling of Cinderella), followed by retellings of Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Snow White, and the Queen of Hearts from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.


The Historian

lord-byronByron was inspired by literary history, both his own and historical legends. Consider something you’ve written in the past or a legend or classic you find fascinating. Then write it in a different medium or genre. Turn a play into a poem, a myth into a novel, or a short story into a script.

Example: Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis is based on the myth of Cupid and Psyche. Rick Riordan writes novel series based on mythology.



The Memoirist

percy-shelleyPercy wrote creative nonfiction, taking creative liberties with memories of true and personal events and feelings. What events in your past had the most significant emotional reactions, psychological consequences, or philosophical epiphanies? How can you fictionalize or elaborate on those moments?

Example: Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane is his most autobiographical , most chilling, and most beautifully written novel.




The Inventor

mary-shelleyMary was inspired by science, dreams, and philosophy. To come up with fantastic ideas like hers, read widely and think wildly. Read about scientific discoveries, consume philosopher theories and poet anthologies. Absorb visual and performance art. Visit a museum and take notes. I just stumbled upon a special on PBS about how engineers and scientists are using the concepts of origami to build structures, automate robotics, and energize space stations. How could you incorporate origami into a fictional universe?

Example: Publisher’s Weekly calls Haruki Murakami’s Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World a literary pyrotechno-thriller.

A New Challenge

Ideas may be illusive, but they aren’t endangered. I’m probably more of a Byron or Polidori than a Shelley, but inspiration can come from anywhere.

Now I challenge you to write a story. It doesn’t have to be a ghost story, but it does have to come out of a deep emotion. Will it be dread? Anxiety? Betrayal? Regret? Obsession?

Write your story, and if you feel so lead, tell us about it in the comments. If you post the story on your blog or a website, link to it below. Maybe you’ll find a critique partner!