Some writers find themselves flying by the seat of their pants. They are just writing. To them, a productive day is one where they manage to get a few words down. To what means, they might have an idea. Most are just writing with the hopes of becoming famous. Then they get discouraged because they can’t see their writing going anywhere. The problem is that they don’t have any goals to reach for.
Goals are valuable tools for anyone, especially writers. They encourage and challenge you as well as give you a sense of accomplishment. Let’s explore the world of goals and see how it can actually make you a better writer.
But Writing is a Goal
Yes, you could argue that getting any writing done is a goal. I know it is for anyone who works full-time and/or has a family. But if you use that as your goal, you’ll never set good goals that will give you a sense of accomplishment. Goals need to be non-perpetual. They can’t be the same all the time because then you never actually meet them.
Let’s say that your goal is to write everyday. That is great. What is the word limit? Are you just writing and one sentence will be sufficient? Then you are just tinkering around. If you are a serious writer, you want to make headway. That means setting goals that are concrete and easily measurable.
Narrow Down Your Dreams
Start with your dreams. Do you want to become a novelist? Do you want to win contests? Do you want to become a bestseller? What is your ultimate goal? Don’t worry about the stops in between. Those will develop as you set goals. Focus on the finish line.
Your goals should be set to meet your dreams. How bad do you want that book published? That means you need to have goals of word count to reach, a goal of when to be finished, and a goal of pre-launch activities.
Know what you are striving for.
Set Different Goals
Don’t just have one goal to write every day. You need to have that goal and a word count to go with it, but you need more than that. Have goals for your marketing, social media presence, other writings, and even your other hobbies.
Let me give you an example of one of my Saturdays:
- 3 loads of laundry
- Write 1000 words
- Network on social media
- Write article for website
- Finish dishes
- Catch up on reading
- Walk 2 miles
This varies from day to day, but you can see where I don’t just have word count goals. I have networking and marketing goals. I have personal goals. My goals help me get things accomplished. Another day might be heavy on proofreading with very little writing.
Being a successful writer takes more than just writing. There needs to be a presence to readers. There needs to be networking. You need to start marketing before you are finished with your book. Look beyond just writing.
Make Them Attainable
All goals should be attainable. They shouldn’t all be so easy that you could do it in your sleep, but they need to attainable while being challenging. If you can easily write 500 words a day, increase your goal to 750 or 1000. It won’t be as hard as you might think.
Gradually increase your goals. Push yourself. If you don’t reach them, evaluate what you did. Maybe you set them too high. Lower them then.
Make sure you can measure your goals. With word count, that is easy. See how many words are in your manuscript before you write. Then see how many after. The difference is the number of words you managed to write.
If you are networking, list out where you want to network and clock yourself. Maybe you put in three hours or just one. What is your goal in networking? Quantify it.
Never miss a chance to celebrate your achievements. Even if it is meeting your word count every day this week, celebrate. Let others know. Enjoy the achievement.
When you finish the first draft of your book, have a celebratory drink. When you get through the first self-edits, have a party. When you meet your goals, celebrate and bring everybody with you.