I am a huge fan of creating writing goals. Goals keep me on track and focused on where I’m headed. Does that mean I meet all my goals? No. Does that mean I can’t deviate once I’ve made a plan? No.
My vision for what I want is always evolving, sometimes as soon as I commit my goals into writing. I don’t sweat it. I simply revisit and revise my goals and, most of all, try to understand why they’ve changed. Because of a new writing project a publisher has offered me? Excellent. Because family life intrudes? It happens. Because I’ve been spending all my time on Facebook? Time to reevaluate my priorities.
I have a spreadsheet where I make monthly goals. I list which books I want/need to draft, edit, promote, brainstorm, write a synopsis, etc. Then I have daily goals that I sometimes write in a calendar, sometimes keep in my head. If I’m writing a draft, my goal is usually to write a minimum of 2,000 words each weekday. If my editor is expecting edits, I need to set other projects aside to work on those.
Goals can be as elaborate or as simple as you like. You can shout them to the world or keep them just for you. I tend to keep these things private, but I’m also internally motivated. If you need external motivations and deadlines to keep you accountable, share your goals with people you know will come back and ask you if you made your goal.
Here’s another idea: My local writing group has a “goals bag,” where each person writes a goal for the month and paperclips a dollar to it. If you don’t make your goal, you automatically lose your dollar. If you made your goal, your name goes in a hat with the names of all the other people who also made their goal, and one name is pulled out who win all the dollars for that month. Band together with a group of local writer friends, and give it a try!
Do you set goals, and do you have any tricks for keeping yourself accountable? I’d love to hear them.