Do you have a defined goal for your writing?
Oh sure, I have ideas of what I want and visions of what I my career as a writer might be in my fantasies. But a defined goal with achievable steps that reaches a certain, specific point…not so much.
Part of the problem is that I am so busy that I don’t have time to really define what I want. If I am not raising children, cleaning a house, making food for someone, or collapsed on the couch exhausted after everyone is in bed, I am writing. But generally I write for other people. My poor personal blog hasn’t had a new entry in months and the novel I started two years ago, still sits gathering digital dust in the archives of a folder called “Thoughts” on my hard drive.
This is not a bad problem. Writing every day, even if it isn’t for myself, has greatly improved my writing. Working relationships that praise my talents that have absolutely nothing to do with my ability to put a straw in a juice box, have improved my attitude. Helping others achieve their goals through my writing gives me a sense of satisfaction that my “other job” could never provide.
Plus I just love the looks I get when I tell people I’m a writer. It’s a mixture of doubt, surprise, and skepticism. And for my neighbors, worry since they think I sit in my office writing about what they are up to…
All of this is fantastic, but without goals, I am likely not going to make it to the next step. So I have set a goal to make goals. Next week. Before you judge me, I would like you to know that I scheduled it in work calendar, so this is not a real procrastination. In fact, you can email me to check up on my next Monday morning, at 9am PST to see if I kept my appointment.
But what makes good goals? Lucky for me, there have been many, many authors that have gone before me that can help with this question.
Here is a summary of my favorite points others have made on this important topic:
- Dream big. Making a goal is silly if you can achieve it by the end of next week. That’s not the point of making goals. If you need to stretch yourself, risk a little, and really work to achieve it, then the goal is probably big enough. If you get a little embarrassed when you say it out loud, however, then it is DEFINITELY big enough and you should stop feeling sheepish about wanting it. Dreaming big is the only way to achieve big things.
- Plan to get to the big dream. Now that you have exposed your true goal, the one that is a little embarrassing to say out loud, start figuring out how to get there. If you don’t know how to get there, Google it. You will be surprised what you can find on the World Wide Web that will help you define these milestones. Here’s one tip that you can have without even clicking your trackpad, however: If you want to be a writer, whether it’s a screenwriter, a novel, or a comic book, writing it will be the first step…pretty much in any scenario.
- Channel your inner life coach. SMART method is a favorite of many different types of motivational gurus. That’s because it works. The SMART method helps you organize your goal achievement process by giving you criteria by which to define your next steps. The acronym stands for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-related. So to summarize, make a specific yet attainable goal that has a way to measure your progress, relevant to your big dream and put a deadline on it. If you want more detail, you can Google “SMART goals” and take your pick of spins on this effective acronym.
- Celebrate your victories; don’t give up when you fail. Working on a goal for a long period of time with no break can be demotivating and lead to abandonment of the big dream. Be sure to celebrate your victories as they come. Another reality is that not everyone achieves his or her goal. It’s a fact of life. The ones who do are the ones that never give up. Which group do you belong to?
Writing and planning your goals are an important way to achieve success. In a career like writing, it can be embarrassing to admit some of them out loud. In my experience, the people who aren’t afraid to say their goals aloud, to do the work to get there, to live through the pain of failure time and again, are the ones who achieve their goals. I need to define my goals and make my plan (next Monday at 9am, PST…) if I want to join them.
Wanna join me?