Effective Goal Setting for Writers

Saturday, January 01, 2011
As a competitive swimmer for 20+ years, I learned many important life lessons and skills that carry over into other aspects of life, such as my writing career. One of these valuable skills is goal setting, a pertinent topic at this time of year (Happy New Year!). Setting goals keeps you focused and motivated on the task(s) at hand. There is a certain art to effective goal setting, so as you included your writing career in your new year’s resolutions, consider some of these goal-setting guidelines.

First, consider your long-term goal. These are usually larger goals that will take an extended period of time to accomplish. These can either be lifetime career goals, or other long-term projects such as completing a full-length novel by the end of 2011.

Next, break down your long-term goal into digestible, smaller short-term goals. So, if your goal for 2011 is to have a completed manuscript before the year is over, some of your short term goals might be: write for 30 minutes a day at least 5 times per week; join or create a writer’s group that meets at least once a month to receive feedback on your work; attend at least one writing conference this year;

Finally, you will need to take steps to carry out these goals. Some of the best tricks for goal-setting and sticking to goals include:

1. Writing down goals on post-its or note cards and displaying them in a prominent location that forces you to acknowledge the goal every day.

2. Create realistic goals. For example, I know that life gets busy and it’s not always realistic to think you will have time every single day to sit down and write. Maybe you'll get ill, maybe there’s a family emergency, maybe you need a mental break. That’s why you could choose a goal to write five times a week rather than give yourself the added pressure trying to write 365 days a year. If you do manage to write 365 days per year, then you have far surpassed your own expectations!

3. Create measurable goals. This means making your goals as specific as possible so it is easy to determine if you have met your goals. Making a vague goal of “I want to write a book” is not as helpful as saying, “I want to have a first draft of a full-length, 50,000 word literary fiction novel completed before midnight on December 31, 2011.” These specifics help you to stay focused and allow you to measure how well you are staying on track.

Have you set your writing goals for 2011 yet? What do you hope to accomplish this year?

Good luck and Happy New Year!

Written by: Anne Greenawalt (www.annegreenawalt.com and http://anne-greenawalt.blogspot.com)


Anonymous said...

very interresting site. seen Rachal's pic,and read Brenda's poem so cute.

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