>Take Action to Reach Your Writing Goals!

>Finishing my writing projects and getting them out into the world for people to read used to be a dream. It was just something I wanted to do but I had no plan to make it happen. I often left projects unfinished and I had no destination and therefore no motivation to follow through.

Close to two years ago now, I started what became Dead Locked. Determined to break my cycle of unfinished stories, I used concrete goals and deadlines to get to the finish line. Things didn’t always go according to plan. But with a long-term destination in sight, I found a way around obstacles and kept moving.

You can reach your writing goals too with a solid action plan. Here are seven steps to take to get your action plan off the ground and reach your goals in 2011!

Choose a destination. What is your long-term goal? Writing a novel? Completing a short story? Something else? Pick a concrete destination – a goal – to work towards and you will automatically improve your motivation and determination to get there.

Set a deadline. I don’t know why, but self-imposed deadlines work just as effectively for me as external ones. While it doesn’t have to be a rigid time frame, setting a date to reach your above goal may help you to stay focused and work even when you don’t really want to.

Create checkpoints. A key to reaching a long-term goal is having short-term goals. Short-term goals act like stepping stones. Each one gets you closer to the end result. For instance, short-term goals to writing a novel could be outlining (if you do that), writing the first draft, completing a first revision, doing a beta reading, etc. How much you break things down is your choice.

Set daily/weekly/monthly goals. Based on your long-term and short-term goals and deadlines, you can figure out what you need to do on a daily/weekly/monthly basis to get there. That may mean setting word count or section goals or scheduling writing sessions so you work regularly.

Write down your goals. We know the written word is powerful. There is something about seeing a goal on paper that makes it that much more reachable in your mind. Write down your goals and deadlines and look at them often to help you along.

Share your goals. Tell family, friends, or others about your goals to make yourself more accountable. While this can be a little scary, it can also help you not to back out when things don’t go well. If everyone is waiting to read that book you’ve promised by next year, you’ll have trouble wriggling out of finishing it!

Celebrate all your victories! Every time you reach a goal or deadline, celebrate. It doesn’t have to be dramatic; do something you love to do no matter how simple. But don’t work and work without something fun to look forward to. Little rewards can be big motivators.

What are your writing goals? What actions are you taking to achieve them?

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