"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Friday, April 8, 2011

Goal Setting for the Writer

Setting goals keeps you focused and motivated. So many of you have committed to the “A to Z” challenge so I know you can set goals, but how do you transfer that determination to your daily writing life? Try applying these rules:
1. Write Goals Down - This is a powerful tool. The process of physically seeing your goals helps set them in your mind and better enables you to commit to them. Visual aids are an effective way to program your brain. Reading and re-writing goals are two very effective visual aids. A popular Harvard Business School study found only 3% of the population records their goals in writing. Another 14% have goals but don't write them down, whereas 83% do not even have clearly defined goals. More interesting is that this 3% earned an astounding ten times that of the 83% group!
2. Do NOT set a goal for the number of publications you will achieve in X amount of time. This is out of your control and will leave you feeling deflated. Instead:
3. Make Goals Short, Attainable, & Measurable - Long term goals are great to keep in mind, but take one week at a time to avoid discouragement. Commit to writing a certain number of words each week, submit an article or flash fiction story a week, find at least one new market each week, take at least one writing course a year and attend at least one writer's conference a year. These are all attainable, but they may not be for you. Goals are very individual. You have to set your own goals for success.
4. Don't set wimpy goals simply because you're afraid to fail. If you play it safe, you’ll never attain true self satisfaction.
5. Create Deadlines - Without deadlines, your goals are merely dreams. Set deadlines for both short- and long-term goals, but remember they can be flexible. Life changes and so do goals. Never be afraid to adjust the timeframe for a goal. What's important is to keep moving forward.
What kind of goals have you set?

35 comments:

Paula Martin said...

'Goals' is (are?) my topic today too, Sylvia - but I've taken a different viewpoint!
http://paulamartinpotpourri.blogspot.com

Bish Denham said...

I know goals are good, but I've never done well with making and/or keeping them.

Áine Tierney said...

This is what I so need to do at the moment and am really struggling with. I'm buying a diary, today, and scheduling my writing time. A friend started doing this a few weeks back and her productivity is way up

V. Furnas said...

I completely agree with you! Without goals I never would have finished my first novel. Nor would it have ever finished with the ridiculous number of rewrites. Great "G" post.

Claudie A. said...

Oh, I posted about goals on D. For "Daily Goals"

I find I function more easily when I try to do something every day of the week, rather than have a target for the whole week.

Sometimes I add visual aids to keep me going. When I participate in NaNoWriMo (50,000 words in 30 days), I have a calendar of the month and put stickers on every day I've achieved my goal.

Great post!

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Thanks for the advice. I need to take it. Nerves have preempted me from setting goals. We've gotta just do it.
Robyn

M.J. Fifield said...

I set goals at the start of every year. Last year, I had had a hard time so I planned on setting a nice easy set of wimpy goals this year. I fortunately wimped out on that at the last minute so now I have a nice new challenging set of goals to reach by the end of the year.

Al Penwasser said...

Right on the money and so true. I set goals for myself (beyond "wake up every morning"). They're a road map for the journey which is my life (yes, I like metaphors).

Nofretiri said...

With your tipps you're quite close to the technique I use, it's called SMART Goals:
Specific
Measurable - that can quantify the results
Achievable
Relevant
Time bounded - are governed by deadlines
That helps to check my goals before I invest my time, money or work!

Wish you all a productive weekend! :-)

Karin

P.S. My thoughts swirl round G for Gefuehle (emotions) and the emotional exchange between book and writer.

nutschell said...

good post! Goals are always important--especially realistic ones. thanks for dropping by my blog today and following. I'm a new follower as well. have a happy weekend!
nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

Leovi said...

Thank you very much for your advice, I have no doubt in mind, I think they serve for any area of ​​art.

Melissa Bradley said...

I should write my goals down. Unfortunately I keep them in my head going over and over in there like the spin cycle on a washing machine. Great post.

Name: Luana Krause said...

I'm an obsessive goal-setter. I always have something I'm working on or striving toward. I enjoy it. I feel alive. What is man if he doesn't have a dream?

Dawn Embers said...

Great post on goals with some excellent advice. I always do writing goals but try to make sure the focus is on things I can control. I do writing goals every single month and a yearly set of goals. Sometimes I do health and fitness goals too but need to work on achieving them more.

Lucy Adams said...

I write unofficial goals. I keep lists of things I want to accomplish in different areas of my life. I have lists of changes I want to make to my house, ideas for future books, ideas for freelance articles, ideas for blog posts. Lists, lists, lists. I love to write a list.

Writing it all down makes it concrete. Every now and again, I return to my lists to draw a line through the things I've completed and add a few more goals to the bottom.

Lucy

Angela Felsted said...

I love how you tell us not to set goals we can't control. I can think of no better advice.

Brigitte said...

I have a giant list of goals on my desk waiting for me to cross something out every day. Otherwise, everything is out of control and I just procrastinate. xD

li said...

I set wimpy goals! Failure to launch...

Murees Dupé said...

Great post.

GigglesandGuns said...

For me #s 3 & 5 are combined. They are the only ones I use.
Excellent post.

Liz Fichera said...

So true, goals! And so is the ability to be flexible. Great list--love the wimpy one. :-)

Nice to meet you today, Sylvia!

Debra Ann Elliott said...

Thanks for stopping by. Great post.

50 foot QE said...

This one is very helpful.
And sometimes all it takes to keep writing!
Great blog!

Melissa Sarno said...

I love this advice. I didn't know the stats on goal-setting so it's really interesting! I find when I write my goals on my blog, I tend to stick to them more because of the accountability but maybe it's also because I've 'written' it and it's become a visual aid. Kewl.

meandmythinkingcap said...

Very useful tips

Michelle M. said...

great post wish I could take this advice. I'm terrible at setting goals and attaining them. I still try though and I'll keep trying. Thanks for the comment over on my A to Z post yesterday.
Michelle
http://meanderingwithmiche.blogspot.com/

Milo James Fowler said...

All of the above -- fabulous advice. My goal this year? Write and submit a new short story every week. And over a hundred other crazy writers have joined me in this challenge:
Write1Sub1

Bookblogger said...

Those goals seem to apply to all aspects of life not just writing. Excellent post.

Snakesmom said...

I am with you on this, I love goals. :)

Shannon Lawrence said...

I definitely do better when I set goals, a time frame (rather than a specific date), and record them somewhere. My goal last year was to finish a novel by this time. Not only did I finish it, but I finished editing it and got it out to my beta readers. As I finish each step, I make a new goal. Great post!

Good luck with the A to Z Challenge!

Carla said...

I like goals too--that seems to be the theme with a lot of your comments! I also think it is important not to beat yourself if you don't quite reach a goal you've made. Usually you're better off than if you didn't make the goal, and it's okay to adjust goals to make them work for you.

Carla

A Helicopter Mom said...

Very well said! I just wrote about how far behind I am on the A to Z Hop. I definitely need to meet more short-term goals! :)

Have a great week!
Mickey
A Helicopter Mom

Melissa Dean said...

Thanks for commenting on my blog! Glad you found me. I definitely will be looking forward to reading more from you as well! My goal this week is to make some goals! HA!

theartistrycollective said...

Great advice! I definitely need to set some weekly goals and adjust as I meet them (or not meet them). Keep up the great work!

Lisa said...

Excellent post. I am enjoying your work.

Lisa
InspiredbyLisa