How to Set Writer Goals

How to SetWriter Goals

For a couple of weeks now, I have thought about my writing goals for this year. I even joined other writers in a Facebook event hoping to get some ideas.

I know what I want to do this year. Or, at least, I think I do.

I feel the need to write them down in the perfect way, though. And the words aren’t coming to me.

Last week I shared my writer resolutions. Another writer asked me the difference between a resolution and a goal. Of course, I wasn’t sure and actually had never really thought about them as any different.

Why shouldn’t they be, though? After all they are different words.

In order to help me better define my writer goals for this year, I researched the two words. Sure enough, they are different.

Resolution versus goal

A resolution should have slapped me in the face. A resolution is the ending to a story or novel. You know that part after the climax. It is a firm decision to do something.

One of my resolutions is I want to call myself a writer this year.

On the other hand, a goal is something you want to achieve. I will set goals for things I want to achieve as a writer.

For example, I started writing the third book of my trilogy for National Novel Writing Month. However, I want to finish writing the novel by the end of April. That is my goal.

SMART goals

Another way you can look at a goal is by using SMART. Have you ever heard of this?

It stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Each goal needs to aim for these five items.

  • Each goal needs to be specific. It has to say exactly what you are going to do. For example, I want to write 1000 words a day, or I want to finish the third book of my trilogy by the end of a certain month.
  • Each goal needs to be measurable. This is so you can see how much is completed or how much more you have to do. For example, if 1000 words is too much each day, then I may need to rethink how many words I can really write. Or maybe I have figured out I can’t finish the novel when I thought I could.
  • Each goal need to be attainable. The goal has to be something you can do. If you don’t make it attainable, then you will give up. For example, I wouldn’t set a goal of 2000 words a day because I do work a part-time job and sometimes sub in the local schools. Those days are full and do not give me much time for writing. I wouldn’t hit 2000 words those days. However, 1000 or even 750 words would be easier to do even on the days when I work all day.
  • Each goal needs to be relevant. It needs to be important to the bigger picture. For example, if you are throwing all of your energy into one thing, you might need to divide your energy between a couple of things. I have thought about making a monetary blog, but I realize that it takes time to build a blog. I would focus my energy on other things, such as finding guest blogging to help build my portfolio. This would help me achieve the resolution of calling myself a writer.
  • Each goal needs to be time-bound. The goal needs to have a deadline. You can’t let it drag on forever. For example, I want to finish writing the third book of the trilogy by April 30. If I have 20,000 words to write, I could even divide that up among the days so that I create baby steps to that goal.

Final thoughts

Using SMART will definitely help me think about my writing goals. Speaking of which, I need to write them down soon. After all we are a few days into the new year.

What are your writing goals for this year?

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