I talk a LOT about goal setting on the blog…so be aware. It’s coming in full force the next few weeks. It is a new year after all and what better way to ring in 2017 than with a nice round of let’s-set-some-goals!
As a writer, setting goals can be a big more challenging than the usual “I want to lose twenty pounds” or “I want to learn a new language” fare. Why?
Because writers have a bit more to balance…and for many of us, our livelihood depends on us reaching our goals every year. Not only is there a bit more pressure, but there’s also more to consider.
For example: let’s say that this year you want to edit and publish your NaNoWriMo novel. This may seem to be a fairly straightforward goal, but within this lies a myriad of smaller goals that could trip up an unprepared writer: editing, revising, editing again, revising again, probably editing a few more times and revising a few more times, creating a title, researching agents, nailing a good query letter, fielding proposals from agents and publishers, marketing, and budgeting your advance.
If your goal is to write 52 short stories in the new year, one for each week, you have 52 ideas to come up with over the course of the year. Then the following year, you have to decide what to do with those stories.
Essentially, creating goals for writers can be daunting. And don’t we already have enough on our plates with killing our darlings, writing witty dialogue, and creating characters our readers will fall in love with?
Yes, it’s a lot. But I promise it’s not impossible.
In fact, as I’ve said before, goal setting is a key to a well-written life.
So how does one go about creating goals that don’t drown you in overwhelm or confuse you with ambiguity?
Find a notebook. You’ll be referencing this throughout the year as you keep track of your goals and re-evaluate what your priority projects are.
Write down what you accomplished in 2016. What are the things you’re easily proud of for accomplishing? What are the things you wish you had accomplished but didn’t.
Write down what you could have done differently to actually accomplish those things you wanted to, but didn’t. Write down the resources you discovered this year that you hadn’t known of or utilized until this year. This is important to know what has been influencing you and motivating you.
Write down your goals for 2017. Only write down your goals concerning your writing. If you need to, limit yourself to one or two goals. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself or create goals that are so far out of reach that you end up feeling like a failure at the end of the year.
This is where it gets a little gritty: write down every small and detailed step of what you would need to do to accomplish your goal by the end of the new year. This can be simple things like create a title or name the Word document, to slightly larger things like researching how to write a query letter or researching how to create a writer’s platform.
Write down the first few steps that you want to accomplish in January of the new year. This will not only give you good momentum, but will show you what you can accomplish in a month, and give you the confidence to continue pursuing the goal throughout the year.
My two big writing goals this year are to write two novellas that I’ll publish as an ebook on Amazon and to begin editing the first book in my Elves series.
What are you big writing goals this year? I’d love to know in the comments!