>We all have dreams. But how do you achieve them without a plan? That’s where goals come in. And a new year is a great time to put your plans into action.
Set Your Goals
Most of us are not full-time fiction writers. We have work, family, and a buffet of other demands and responsibilities. So be reasonable. Set goals for yourself that you can actually reach. Think about your other, more important responsibilities and set goals that work with those limits, not against them. When you work with the time and energy that you do have, you’ll be more likely to succeed.
Here are some goals that I came up with:
Start and finish a book
Finish a book you’ve already started
Write everyday for at least a few minutes
Write the rough draft of 12 short stories
Complete two short stories (revisions and all)
Write one piece a month that takes you out of your comfort zone
Write in an unfamiliar medium (for example, a play)
Write in a genre you’ve never written in before
Take one piece you started in 2008 and finish it
Fill one notebook, front to back, by December 2009
Some are more challenging (starting and finishing a book), others quite attainable for almost anyone (finishing one piece from 2008). Work with your circumstances and you will attain your goals.
Create a Plan
Pull out your notebook or open your word processor. What is your long-term goal or dream as a writer? Write it down at the top. With that in mind, what small steps can you take in the next 12 months that will get you closer to that dream?
For example, your dream might be to get a book published. The first short-term goal might be to get ideas for the book (see “Six Ways to Get Ideas”). Break that goal into writing regularly, using prompts and exercises (see “Get Writing With Prompts”), and brainstorming (see “Brainstorm Away With These Three Fun Techniques”) to generate ideas. Once you have the idea (you’ve met goal one!), the next goal might be to explore it, do some more brainstorming, and really flesh it out. If you’re an outliner, that might be a goal. Then, you might plan to write x amount of words or pages by the end of the year. Break that down by month, week, and day and you have a perfectly achievable goal.
Stick With the Plan
Hold yourself accountable. Make an attractive chart for each week or month to post on your fridge or bulletin board. Give yourself gold stars (or another fun shape) for each goal you achieve. Reward yourself when you achieve short-term goals: buy a book (better yet, get one free from the library), cozy up with a good novel, or splurge on a caramel macchiato. Whatever butters your muffin. Most importantly, when you miss a day of writing or don’t quite make a deadline on a goal, don’t throw out the chart. You can always make things up and start over. It doesn’t mean you’ve blown the whole year.
So set your goals, create a plan, and stick with it. Your best year for writing is just a few days away.
1) Set your writing goals for 2009. 2) Create a plan with short-term goals that will help you reach your main goal. 3) Think of rewards that will remind and help you as you reach for your goal.
What are your writing goals for 2009? What will you do to reach them?