Why Should Writers (or Anyone) Have Goals?
Goals are important. Goals can hold us accountable. Goals can force us to define our wants, motivate us, and help us see our progress.
To be effective, goals should meet three criteria. They should be measurable, meaningful, and attainable. An effective goal should be quantifiable not qualitative (e.g., write a science-fiction novel of 50,000 words or more by a certain date vs. write a novel in the next year or so).
Short-term Goals vs. Long-term Goals
Short-term goals can be considered “output” goals as they are measured by output. Short-term goals, and output, are something we have complete control over.
For writers, some short-term goals might be:
- Number of hours spent writing per day or week
- Number of words written per day or week
- Number of projects (articles, stories, chapters, website content/blog posts) written per week, month, or year
Long-term goals can be considered “result” goals as they are measured by results. Long-term goals, and results, are something we don’t have complete control over. Long-term goals are achieved by meeting short-term goals that are the building blocks up to the long-term goals.
For writers, some long-term goals might be:
- Having a manuscript ready for editing by a specific date
- Self-publishing a specific book by a specific date
- Self-publishing a certain number of books by a specific date
The Process of Goals
Keep in mind that long-term goals will often need to be broken down into smaller short-term goals.
1) Determine your goals.
2) Write down your goals.
3) Ensure written goals are effective (always include a deadline).
4) Figure out a plan to help you achieve each goal.
5) Refer to your goals often and work toward achieving short-term goals and long-term goals.
6) Track progress made toward short-term and long-term goals.
7) Celebrate successes and achievement of short-term goals on your path toward long-term goals.
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Do you have writing goals? Please share some of your writing goals in the comments.
I liked the clarity of the writing goals outlined here. Sometimes we get bogged down with too many words. I participate in A Round of Words in 80 Days which involves setting writing goals for the ’round’ and then checking in twice a week. It works by helping me focus on priority goals. This post? Very helpful in reinforcing progress. Thank you!
Some really helpful tips here, thank you 🙂 I’m not a serious writer but these will still help with my blogging.
@LunaNoctis from There She Goes
These are really amazing tips.I’ll use these tips while i’m trying to write my articles for my clients.
Thank you, Sara. I hope the tips help. What type of articles do you write?
Always up for any tips that will help me in writing for my blog is a great! Your post is very detailed and concise…makes everything easy to follow.
Thank you for visiting and for your kind words. It’s nice to see another blogger who is applying writing concepts to his/her blog posts. 🙂
I’m having a hard time to do write in 2 hours, most of the time I did 3 – 5 hours and guess what it was just 500 words! But this brilliant tips makes me motivate
Thank you for visiting, Dana. These goals are general guidelines. Each writer is unique and needs to set the goals that work best for him/her. Sometimes it is easier to start small.
those are great goals. I need to just write more. Life seems to get in the way a lot.
Thank you, Katrina. I agree. Life has a tendency to do that. Sometimes we might need to modify our goals depending on the circumstances/situations we find ourselves in. The important part is making sure your goals are effective, measurable, meaningful, attainable, and quantifiable. If, for example, you found yourself struggling to meet the goal of writing for two hours per day, you could modify this to write for fifteen minutes two or more times per day. Once you find yourself consistently meeting this goal, you could then modify it again. 🙂
I agree, katrinagehman. For me, the hardest part is setting aside the time and space and getting into the proper frame of mind. Daily life creates a lot of static in the writing quarters of my brain. My suggestion to others who feel too distracted and interrupted is to try doing yoga, preferably before sitting down to write. Again, one must set aside the block of time to fit in yoga, but even a few minutes a day, or every couple days, really helps clear the static. Deep, cleansing breaths and a few simple postures can do wonders for mind, body, and the creative process.
True! Whenever I write something I make sure that it’s always more than 500 wpm. I also have a checklist of what I should do next. It helps!
A checklist is a wonderful idea, Aurora. I love lists. I find them helpful in all areas of my life.
The other thing I want to start doing again, as it worked in my college days (a hundred years ago), is to always have a notepad and pencil/pen handy. I find that ideas can often come at the most random times – while driving; sleeping; during meetings…Having something to jot them down on – immediately, so they don’t escape us – can be quite instrumental in having that important next line, or funny anecdote or that quote you never seem to be able to remember. I had kept a writing tablet in my nightstand drawer for years. Time to make sure there’s one there again. And my trusty pencil.
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