Whenever I do a workshop on goal setting for writers the room always seems to be filled with two kinds of writers, those who wait for inspiration before they write and those who write until they find inspiration. The question is, which group do you fit into?
If you’re writing purely for yourself and have no major long-term writing goals it doesn’t matter if you fit into the first group. But if you want to complete your autobiography, earn money writing, are writing a novel or have a plan to complete a similarly large amount of writing you really need to be in the second group or chances are you’ll run out of time or get distracted.
For this reason I strongly recommend goal setting. Yes, I know it can sound boring and tedious, but it doesn’t have to be and if you don’t have a clear path of where you want to go and how you are going to get there what chances do you have of arriving on time? Believe me learning how to set goals is well worth the time.
In my workbook, Effective Goal Setting For Writers, I created this great analogy (okay, I think it’s great I don’t know if it really is) of how goal setting is like going shopping but simply put things are easier and quicker if you have a plan. A fact that would have to be number one on my list of writers goal setting tips.
Another goal setting tip is to change your writing dreams into writing goals. A dream is something we want to do where as a goal is also measurable, has a time frame attached and is, most importantly, achievable. Without these other aspects it is almost impossible to turn dreams into goals no matter how much passion you have for the outcome.
Number three on my list of writers goal setting tips is the need to set the right goals (or, in this case, the need to set the write goals). One of the major reasons for failing to reach your goal is, believe it or not, setting the wrong goal.
Setting your goals takes time but so does working towards them. You don’t need extra reasons not to find the time, there are enough distractions out there without you creating more because your goal doesn’t really appeal. Motivation, focus and action are what turn millionaires into billionaires and what make every day writers into published authors.
Finally, and perhaps most important of my writers goal setting tips, when you achieve a step towards your goal (it might be completing a page or a chapter, it might be discovering a vital piece of research, or completing a difficult interview) remember to reward yourself somehow. There is only one person in this entire world that you can always rely on to pat you on the back, and that’s you. If you do something good make sure you spoil yourself.