While setting writing goals for yourself is important, they shouldn’t be attached to your New Year’s resolutions. In fact, since we are over a week into January, this is the perfect time to set those goals and give yourself a schedule for how you’ll achieve them.
The key to accomplishing any project is to give yourself attainable ways to make it a reality.
So, let’s talk about them!
Know Your Limits
Don’t set yourself up for failure by creating a writing goal you know you can’t reach. If you have a full-time job, commute to work, have kids, and take online classes, you may not want to set a goal of writing three new fantasy novels this year. I’m not saying you can’t do it, but adding another project to a full plate ensures that it will probably be the first thing to go when stress heats up later in the year.
Take time to look at your schedule and determine what you could achieve over the next year. Maybe it’s just the outline for a novel or screenplay. Maybe a rough draft. You can accomplish more if you have more time to invest in the project, and if you spend your free time watching TV, you can push that aside and write more to hit your goal.
Give yourself the latitude to create goals that you know you can hit with the lifestyle you have. This will prevent you from getting frustrated with being unable to do what you set out to do.
Yes, most of us have written or thought about that two-word goal before, but it has no weight to it. No specificity.
Write 1,000 words a day.
Okay. Now we’re getting somewhere. It has a goal word count attached, which gives you a specific goal to reach each day.
Write 1,000 words a day before I get ready for work.
Write 1,000 words a day before I go to bed.
Now, you have a word count and a specific time of day to write those 1,000 words. By being even more specific, you empower yourself to know exactly the goal for each writing session.
Play around with this idea, creating specific daily goals, and see what works best for you.
Breakdown a Larger Goal
“I’m going to write the Great American Novel!” “I’m gonna write the next big Hollywood Blockbuster!”
Both are solid goals, but they require a lot of work. It doesn’t mean they aren’t attainable; it just means that you should break these massive projects down into smaller pieces to get to the finished product.
What goes into writing a novel or a screenplay? By laying the groundwork before you jump into the writing process, you can save yourself a lot of time and headaches later on if you do the prep work beforehand.
Breaking these projects down into smaller goals will help the overall project feel less overwhelming and will ensure you keep on track to completing a draft of the novel or script.
Yes, it’s tempting to jump feet-first into a project like this, but writing an outline, honing and fine-tuning the story and characters, and having a strong beginning, middle, and end will go a long way to getting you to the final phases of a massive writing project.
Do the work. Enjoy the process. Achieve the goal.
Writing and the creative process should be fun and enjoyable. By knowing your limits, giving yourself specific goals, and breaking down larger projects into smaller parts, you’ll have a much easier time working on and reaching your writing goals for the year.
Happy Writing, and I’ll see you next time!