If you’ve had the chance to read my last Blog ~ Preparing To Set Writing Goals That Can Succeed… Writing Tip #10 and Writing Exercise ~ Reflect On Your Writing Year… and followed my recommendations, you will be ready to construct writing goals for 2017 that have a real possibility of success. You will also have a list of writing achievements to date, and a list of longed-for writing outcomes.
Set aside your Writing Achievements List, ready to add to it as your goals come to fruition one by one.
Now I invite you to take my step-by-step journey into successful goal-setting. This process is intricate and sometimes heavy going, but well worth the effort in the end should you choose to follow the trail. I suggest working your way through the steps slowly, taking breaks to refocus if necessary. Here goes ~
> Take a critical look at your Longed-for Writing Outcomes List and decide whether each item is actually a goal and not an aim. To avoid entering into the incessant debate about the definition of these two words, I simply state that in this context I consider ‘aim’ to be a more general, all-encompassing statement such as ‘I want to be a well-known author’ and a ‘goal’ to be one of the many tasks I need to complete in order to reach that aim… for example, ‘Write at least one short story’.
> Re-word the items on your list to be clear, concise and qualified, like the above example.
> Remove any items that this process has rendered superfluous, and any which you consider are no longer relevant.
> Set aside any items that don’t currently engage your passion and those that are not relevant, but will be again… for example, writing projects tied to seasons or yearly celebrations that have passed. These can be kept for future consideration.
> Add to your list any writing-related activities you plan to undertake to enhance your writing journey… for example, ‘Take a short course on writing dialogue’ or ‘Enter at least two writing competitions’ or ‘Subscribe to three on-line writers’ journals’.
> Source opportunities for any writing-related activities you have added to your list… and insert specific information, such as name of courses/competitions/journals, associated dates and the like, into the appropriate listed tasks.
> Prioritise and re-order your list, taking into consideration known dates, your abilities/resources, and logical sequence. For instance, it would be a good idea to take the short course in dialogue before entering work into competitions.
At this point, you have an ordered list of clear, concise, qualified, sequential tasks that suit the direction of your particular writing journey. They are specific (short story, course on writing dialogue), measurable (at least one… subscribe to three…), based on your motivations (passion), and focus-oriented (the direction you want to take your work).
Take a closer look at each item on your list and ask yourself ~
> Do I have the resources – skills, time, space, head-space, information, money, contacts – to reach this goal?
> If not, what do I need to do to acquire the missing resources?
> Am I in a position to make this happen?
This journey through the list will indicate whether or not you have the ability to bring each goal to fruition. Some goals may need to be moved further down the list, or on to the separate list you’re keeping for future consideration. You will be left with only goals that you want to achieve and that can be achieved.
Your list may, however, be overwhelmingly long and out of the realms of possibility on your 2017 calendar. As you have already refined your goals and moved off the list any goals that are for the future, the next task is to consider how far down the remaining list it is realistic to expect to travel in one year.
To make this decision, there is a need to explore your writing in the context of time ~
> Give each item on your list an estimated time value… allowing 10% more time than you think the task will take.
> Calculate how many hours you plan to devote to writing each week. Under-estimate rather than over-estimate to allow for unforeseen events.
> Taking these two values and your already known deadline dates (for competitions, courses and so on) into consideration, and working down from the top of your prioritised list, draw a line under the items that you can realistically achieve in January.
> Repeat this process for each month of the year, leaving free any periods of time when your opportunity to write may be diminished due to holidays, visitors and so on.
> Any remaining items can be left on a Reserve List, from which you can draw if you finish the nominated priority goals in less than the year. Anything remaining on this list will be your starting point for your writing goal process for the following year.
The process presented here personalises every aspect of the goal-setting journey at the same time as dealing with the accepted mechanics of setting goals. It is a deep exploration of your current position in relation to writing, what you want to achieve and how you might get there.
If you’ve stayed with me to the end, you have a complete list of Writing Goals for 2017. The individual goals are clear, concise, qualified, sequential, specific, measurable, based on your motivations, focus-oriented, achievable, realistic, time-bound and tangible.
You’ve worked hard to give yourself the best possible opportunity to move your writing forward in a productive way over the coming year.
You can reinforce your intention to achieve your stated goals by writing a commitment to yourself to do everything you can to bring them to fruition. I suggest you do this now, while you’re still in the goal-setting zone, to weight the power of your goals in your favour.
What happens if you don’t set writing goals or if you don’t pack your goals in safeguards for success?
Share your thoughts in the Comments section on this page…
Next Blog ~ Turn The Opportunity To Succeed Into Success