Goal Setting for Writers

How come we have to worry about setting goals? Most aspiring writers usually put this aside as they feel that they have the right skills and resources to become successful in the profession.

Several writers do not even believe in goals and say that it’s all about the journey. This could be partly true, that is why it is encouraged to develop a lifestyle of writing, rather than just sit back for a month and create a novel. Nevertheless, goals are certainly essential for various reasons.

Clarification: have you worked out exactly what you would like to accomplish by writing? Is it just to keep an up-to-date and much followed blog? Or is it part of the goal to get a novel traditionally released? Will it be to get a book published twice a year? Or gain awards and competitions? Would you like to be named as a ‘Best Selling Author’? Since every one of these will need you to function in slightly different methods, and consequently if you haven’t particularly stated what you desire, you might get to the end of the process and find you have been traveling on the wrong track.

Achievement: There’s always more writing to be done. Always more words that can be said, always more time you may be etching out of your life. Short-term goals let you say ‘enough is enough’ for one day. It is a wonderful thing, having reached your goal number of words (or whatever) and being in the position to go off guilt free and see a movie. You can’t underestimate the difference to your quality of life this will make. Then mid-term goals will help you stay on target, understanding that you are reaching your long-term goal in the end. Likewise, you’ll get reasons to crack open the sparkling wine at certain periods along the way. A complete first draft is not a published book, but it is still pretty damn exciting.

Justification: Knowing specifically where you are going with your writing will save much time at dinner parties, and many mumbling and usually looking for escape routes. After many people have asked what you have published upon knowing that you’re a writer, (If you can resolve this one satisfactorily you are sweet, although the next question will probably come anyway), they generally follow this up with a query about what you are working on now. A small pitch is never out of place here. But at some point, following a few more glasses of wine have been drunk and the prejudice of the employed rises to the top, somebody asks where it is all going. They might probably say that you can’t support yourself, or a family, on one book and eventually ask if you have ever considered that. Now, you could look them calmly in their red-shot eyes and reply that you have considered that, and you are working at a regular and achievable pace to have two books published each year, long with having a passive income from the online articles you produce and the teaching material you have developed, thank you very much for asking. This is much preferable to curling up in a whimpering ball with groans addressed to your mother that you didn’t desire to be a lawyer, until somebody kindly hands you a paper bag to breathe into deeply.

For more great tips on how to become a prolific writer, see Buffy Greentree’s new book The Five Day Writer’s Retreat. This article, Goal Setting for Writers is released under a creative commons attribution license.

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