Bloggers: Do you know your Writing Goals?

Reaching your writing goals by Qimono CC0 Public Domain image from Pixabay

There is an old adage the says: so you think you know your end game, but have you really defined your writing goals? I will be the first to admit that I have had ill-defined goals, lost track of the plot, and worse have no end game in mind. What about you?

 
As a writer, what do you want to achieve? When by?
 
According to Write non-Fiction too many writers never seriously think about their writing goals, never write them down, nor create a timeline for when they want to achieve them. In truth, it is easy to lose sight of our long-term goals, but not to have any (or not having written them down) can be worse.
 
Everyday goal setting allows us to stay on the path and in place. Even achiev­ing one goal is a step in the right direc­tion.
 

Qualitative Goals

 
Better by 422737 CC0 Public Domain from PixabayAccording to Writing World writers begin with “qualit­at­ive” writing goals in mind: they want to be a ‘good’ writer, or a ‘better’ writer, or a ‘success­ful’ writer, or a writer who produces ‘valuable’ mater­i­al. These are excel­lent goals and every person should be inter­ested in improv­ing the skills they have. They should also seek to discov­er new ones.
 
With writing, there are so many places to start. So many books to learn from, etc. Even a century after its first public­a­tion, there are writers advising we look only at Strunk and White’s Elements of Style for advice. Others may consider such a book to be a monument of the past. Indeed, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of sites offer­ing such advice today.
 
The best advice I ever received was to read (a lot) and contin­ue writing. But reading alone is not enough — the writer must learn to read critic­ally. Read what is said and see how the writer says what they have to say. For example, the phras­eo­logy of the excep­tion­al piece helps the writer that reads it, improve. Especially if you try to imitate that style the next time you write.
 

Write the Goals Down

 
Take a sheet of paper (electron­ic or real) and start to write your goals down. A goal is written if more likely to be accom­plished, especially if you look at it daily. Don’t be afraid of impress­ive targets. Go after those goals.
 
Better to say you will complete writing the first draft of your novel this year, even if it is currently just an idea boiling in your mind. It gives you something to shoot for.
 
Writing down goals forces you to decide what you want to achieve. It also gives you something to review regularly. You can also enjoy ticking them off the list as each is achieved. A written goal if more likely to be achieved.
 

Targets

 
Target by OpenClipart-Vectors CC0 Public Domain from PixabayIf you have a target, for example:
 
  •     “Sell” at least ten magazine articles this year.
  •     Write a fresh blog post weekly.
 
You must consider that it is neces­sary to perform all the prepar­at­ory work. Relevant market research, write query letters, etc. or submit a certain number of articles per month in the short term. All a part of achiev­ing your writing goals.
 

Business Skills?

 
The first step in achiev­ing person­al goals is to think about what you want in your life (at least some vision of the future). It under­pins what you do.
 
If you run your own bakery, you need to know how to bake, manage money, make contacts with people, solve problems, build a business plan be creat­ive and decide on the need for bakery products. The skill list is not limited to baking — it includes business skills. Connecting with people, managing money, creat­ing a business plan, etc. Taste only goes so far, the rest is possible with human inter­ac­tion.
 
The same is true for a writer. Most writing goals include making money. Think about and devel­op your business skills along­side your language skills. Can you write a query letter? Where do you find writing assign­ments? If the answer is ‘No’ then you must find out how and where.
 

Commitment

 
For any writer, the secret of achiev­ing what is most import­ant for you is your commit­ment to writing. A commit­ment that involves daily action. It is habit forming. Writers must write every day. Whether writing a blog and a novel you need to make writing a habit. The best way to do that is by doing it regularly. Driving your writing goals.
 
Frances Caballo makes a valid point on Write Non-Fiction Now, suggest­ing writers define goals using the SMART formula. That is: specif­ic, measur­able, attain­able, relav­ant, and time-bound. Understand these. Know also that your writing envir­on­ment is import­ant. You must determ­ine what condi­tions are needed to help you achieve your goal.
 
If you base your goals on a person­al map of goals, then keep track of the achieve­ments and celeb­rate each success.
 

Your Workspace

 
At my DeskWhile it may be possible to write at your job, partic­u­larly for office workers, who can use their own desk as their writing location, this should be avoided. There are many reasons for this, includ­ing legal ones. Primarily, this is a matter of profes­sion­al­ism. While at work, do your job to the best of your abilit­ies. Jot a note in your journ­al (provided it is a short one), but that is all.
 
Where can you write? Do you have your own desk? Is it in a location where you can concen­trate? Kitchen counter-tops only work when the kitchen is not in use. Using the dining table as a desk is cut short by meal times when all your notes must be tidied away.
 
A fixed space is best, but I am well aware that many writers do not have the luxury of having a dedic­ated home office, as I do. Find yourself a comfort­able location and dedic­ate that as your writing space. Have a coffee machine or kettle near if you are one of those people that work best with their favour­ite cup of poison to hand.
 

Performance

 
Conceive your goals and the success criter­ia as a perform­ance process. Note: you can achieve part of your goals, even if you don’t neces­sar­ily achieve the desired final result. The aim of publish­ing one high-quality blog post per week may not have been reached. If you made steps set in place a process to create high-quality articles then you have achieved a stepping stone. You merely need to repeat it. Then  get better at it.
 
WikiHow provided an excel­lent article on writing person­al goals, start­ing with how to formu­late effect­ive goals. Effectiveness is vital. You need to hold yourself account­able. But do not beat yourself up should you fail to achieve the goal. Learn what you did well and what you did poorly. Avoid those mistakes next time.
 
These goals need regular adapt­a­tion and often need restate­ment. I maintain a public­a­tion plan for articles I am working on, which is regularly reviewed and updated. You should regularly review yours. Also, reflect on the growth of your knowledge and exper­i­ence. What are you better at today than a year ago? What is the next step in your learn­ing exper­i­ence?
 

Need to Change your Focus?

 
Such assess­ments may help to determ­ine wheth­er long-term object­ives need to be changed or wheth­er correct short-term strategies are being used to achieve them. The results you achieve may cause you to question what you are doing and wheth­er to change focus.
 
If you have sent ten queries a week in the last six weeks and have yet to receive a posit­ive response, it may be time to reassess your actions. Are you highlight­ing the wrong inform­a­tion or is the success simply one letter away? Can you learn from the exper­i­ence of others? Who can you ask? All pertin­ent questions.
 
Your goals may or may not need to change. One possib­il­ity, you may need to move to differ­ent markets, re-examine the ideas you have. Do you need to know more about the people you pitch your ideas to? Do you need to learn to write more effect­ive query letters? Ask yourself other questions, then make a plan to resolve the challenges.
 

Other Related Information

 

 

 

If you like this article, we appre­ci­ate any donations to GobbledeGoox. What are your thoughts writing goals? Something to contrib­ute? Please leave a comment. The images here were sourced from a public domain location, such as Pixabay, Unsplash or other sites.

 
 

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