Shoot for the moon and if you miss you will still be among the stars. - Les BrownIt’s a new year and for many that means setting new goals—both in life and in writing. While we are often excited about those goals at the start of the year, as the months go on, they sometimes go by the wayside. So how do we set goals that we will keep up with? How do we stay on top of them?
First you have to set your goals. Think about the things you want to accomplish. No matter how big or small put them on the list. When setting goals, don’t focus on how hard they might be just focus on what you want for yourself and your writing. Once you have a list you can narrow it down to a few you really want to work on and achieve.
Set Mini Goals
Now that you have goals, take a look at them. Break the larger more daunting tasks into smaller more obtainable ones. You’re more likely to work on your goals and achieve them if they tasks feel smaller.
Example Goal: Write a book
Mini Goal: Write an outline
Mini Goal: Write character bios
Mini Goal: Write setting descriptions
Mini Goals: Write 250 words every day
Keep Yourself Accountable
Periodically pull out your goals and see how things are going. See if you are on track. If not maybe add in incentives to help you achieve those goals you are struggling with. Don’t let yourself off the hook. If you have to, schedule reminders or time aside to complete aspects of your goals so that you can keep working on them.
If things aren’t working out take a step back and ask yourself why. Is this really what you want? Have your priorities changed? Maybe you underestimated or overestimated the goal. It’s ok to change your goals midstream if you need to. There is no shame in putting a goal aside if it isn’t right for you or it isn’t the right time. Just make sure you are stepping back because it’s what you want/need not because you got lazy.
Get a Buddy
If you are really struggling (or even if you aren’t) get a goal buddy. They don’t have to have the same goals as you, but they do have to help keep you accountable for your work. If you have a buddy cheering you on and working by your side on their goals, it’s extra motivation to keep going. Not to mention you aren’t just letting yourself down if you start to slack. IT gives you more accountability. And if you are a competitive person like me, it can be a mini competition to see who gets their goals done first.
So all this talk about goals I thought I’d share some of my writing goals for 2014. For reference the numbers are my big goals, the letters are my mini goals.
1.) Get an agent (and not just any agent, the right agent for me!)
a. Polish my query/synopsis
b. Make sure my manuscript is the best it can be
c. Send queries
d. Re-evaluate query package if necessary
2.) Get my YA Sci Fi Thriller query ready.
a. Work with beta readers to obtain feedback
b. Edit the manuscript
c. Get additional feedback
d. Edit some more
e. Rinse and repeat until it shines!
3.) Write something new
c. Spend at least two days a week writing (as much as I love editing, I need to focus on writing something new this year)
4.) Improve my craft
a. Attend at least one writing conference
b. Attend writing seminars/workshops
c. Read writing blogs
5.) Keep Going
a. Whatever I do, rejections and discouraging news aside, I will keep writing, keep editing, and keep improving.
b. I refuse to quit!
What kind of writing goals do you set and how do you keep up with them?