10 Steps To Achieving A Writing Goal

Many people set goals, but relatively few achieve them. One way to improve the likelihood of the success of a goal is to understand and implement a goal setting process, such as the following, 10 positive steps to achieving a writing goal.

Decide what you want.
  • Be clear in your intentions, and precise in your thoughts.
  • Although there is always a starting point for an idea, a half formed idea will do nothing more than float around in your head in an unrealistic (unattainable) state. 

Decide when you want it.
  • Set short, medium and long-term goals (six months, two years, five - ten years).
  • Be careful with your words. Set goals in a positive ‘present’ tense: e.g. ‘I am writing a novel’ not, ‘I am trying to write a novel’. Trying implies – failure. Another positive, present tense, example: ‘I am writing five, fifteen, forty hours per week.'

Decide why you want it.
  • There may be one or more reasons: to feel personal achievement, to be immortalised in print, to inform or entertain readers, for recognition, to pay off debts, become self-sufficient etc.
  • Understanding why you want something also serves to fuel the desire to achieve it.

Have a burning desire for it to happen.
  • Commit yourself to it.
  • Get involved with people and situations which encourage the thinking, talking and activity relating to it. Read, write, enrol in a course.

Decide what you will invest to achieve your objective.
  • How much time are you going to spend on it?
  • Are you willing to put the effort into it (be honest with yourself)?
  • Will you invest financially into it, if you feel it’s necessary to achieve your goal?

Visualise your goal being met.
  • Imagine yourself completing your novel. Entertain the feeling of accomplishment.
  • Create your own mental image of the completed book cover with the title and your name, the ‘good’ reviews, and the earnings in your bank account from sales.

Create a plan.
  • If you were to write 150 words per day, it would equate to 54,750 words per year; approximately an average length novel (40,000 +), according to the Nebula Award criteria of SFWA (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America).
  • Set realistic dates for achieving your goal. Regardless of how much you want to achieve your goal as soon as possible, if you’re working full-time, or have unavoidable commitments, you need to be practical.
  • Consistent, small steps over a longer period of time can be equally as productive as larger steps over a shorter period of time.

Use all the resources you can find.
  • Read avidly, participate in writing groups (in your local area or online). What you focus on creates…more!
  • Create a ‘writer environment’ (even a small area set aside), with reference books (dictionary, thesaurus, grammar), books of authors you admire.

Eliminate self-doubt.
  • You must first ‘believe in yourself, before others will’. Endeavour to reward your own efforts by being quietly confident in your abilities.
  • Turn negatives into positives by changing them into affirmations. Example: I find it hard to write a hundred words a day / I am able to write a hundred words a day.

Expect your goals to be met.
  • Anyone can set a goal, regardless of age, gender, culture or a person’s situation. Study those who have achieved their goals despite serious set-backs for inspiration.
  • People who expect to reach their goals (and refuse to be defeated) are those who usually do, e.g. C.S.Lewis received over 800 rejections before he sold a single piece of writing.

All the best…!

© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.