Category Archives: writing goals

>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?

>Set Writing Goals for 2009

>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.

Get Writing!
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?