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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