Goal Setting for Writers
By Natalie Bright
Why Set Goals?
For writers, I think visuals are important. Keeping daily logs on the words you crank out is certainly a necessary target. Other than putting pen to paper, there is so much more to this writing business. And if you want success, you have to take an active part in the entire process. (In a future blog, I’ll talk about ways to measure your progress.)
Be establishing long term goals, you are able to consider the big picture of what you hope to achieve. Will you be working on that same novel five, even ten, years from now?
Goal Setting Worksheet
Our critique group uses a worksheet. Make your goals simple and specific, things that you can actually visualize yourself achieving. Making the New York Times Bestselling list is probably not realistic if you’re a beginning writer.
3 in 24:
Identify 3 times in a 24-hour period to Write.
1. Wake-up one hour early and write.
2. Skip lunch with coworkers and write only new words on WIP Monday-Thursday.
3. Stay up late at least one hour on Friday, Sat., and Sun. to work on edits or blogs.
Study your list. Can you visualize yourself actually accomplishing these tasks? Can you see yourself with pen in hand or typing at the keyboard at the times and places you’ve chosen? Setting achievable goals equals success.
Realistic Attainable Goals:
Make a list of at least four goals you hope to accomplish within the next year.
Achievable goals would be defined as something you can definitely complete, to measure your progress and give you a sense of accomplishment that your writing career is moving forward. This could be things like writing and polishing an entry for a contest, or completing a submission for an anthology. Be specific; what contest? Don’t know of any? Find one and list it on your goals sheet.
How about a notation to subscribe to a market listing for magazines? Your goal will be to actively study submission opportunities and submit X number of freelance articles during 2013.
What about your goals in social media and promotion? These are difficult to measure because the connections you make this year may not reap benefits for months, even years from now. I’ve had invitations to speak come from a contacts I made years before at a chance meeting.
You can define specific activities, for example, actively participating on twitter during the next year, setting up a Facebook fan page, or uploading your inspiration to a Pinterest page. Authors are utilizing Pinterest in unique ways and it’s loads of fun.
Add to your worksheet one “dream big” goal. List something you hope to achieve that seems totally impossible. Go ahead and put the “NYT Bestselling list” here if that’s what you want more than anything.
I’m excited to announce that my dream big goal from way back in 2010 was realized this past year in 2012: I signed with a literary agent. Don’t be shy or doubt your abilities. Dream away.
Best wishes on reaching your writing goals in 2013, and thanks for following WordsmithSix Blog.