It’s THAT time of the year again—the time where we set writing goals for the year ahead.
Setting goals is an important part of a writer’s life. Without goals that keep us moving forward, it’s too easy to procrastinate and put off starting that book or finally finishing it.
With the right goals, you’ll keep moving forward and achieve your dreams, not just in your writing life, but in all other areas of your life too.
So what does having the right goals mean?
Set SMART goals for your writing!
Most of all, make sure your writing goals are SMART goals.
SMART is an acronym that stands for goals that are:
Your writing goals should be concrete and unambiguous. Instead of a general statement such as “I want to write a book,” set a specific goal such as “finish the first draft of my romance novel by July 31.”
Your writing goals should have criteria that allow you to measure your progress toward your goals and whether you have reached them. If you set a goal such as “become a better writer,” it’s hard to judge whether you succeeded. Instead, phrase your goal in a way that can be measured, e.g., “reading ten books about writing in 2021.”
Your writing goals should be attainable with the time and skills you have. If you set your goals too high, you’ll only give up in frustration. So instead of choosing a lofty goal such as “write 10,000 words every day,” pick a goal that is doable considering your writing speed, work schedule, and other commitments, e.g., “write 1,000 words on five days a week.”
Your writing goals should be something that is important to you personally. Don’t write a book in a genre you hate just because it’s what’s selling right now. Readers will realize if your heart wasn’t in it, and by the time you finish your novel, that publishing trend might be over anyway.
Your writing goals should have a deadline. Without deadlines, it’s too easy to keep putting it off. Deadlines create a sense of urgency that will get you moving toward your goals. So instead of setting an open-ended goal such as “publish a book someday,” choose a time-bound goal such as “submit my manuscript to five publishers by November 15.”
Example for a SMART writing goal
One of my writing goals for 2021 is to write and publish two romance novels by December 31, 2021.
This goal is specific, measurable, and time-bound. It’s also attainable for me since I write full-time, and it’s relevant since it contributes to my overall goal of being able to make a living as a writer.
Break down your annual writing goals
Once I have a SMART goal for the year, I break it down into quarterly goals, then break down the quarterly goals into monthly goals. Keep dividing the goals until you have a list of small tasks that you can accomplish in one session of an hour or two.
For example, to make my writing goal for 2021, I know I’ll have to send the first manuscript off to my publisher at the end of March, so my goal for the first quarter is to write and revise novel number 1. My goal for January is to write 60,000 words by January 31, which translates to a daily goal of 2,000 words.
If you’d like a little more help with setting and achieving your writing goals, check out my writers’ guide Goal Setting for Writers: How to set and achieve your writing goals, finally write a book, and become a successful author.
What are your writing goals for 2021? Leave a comment and let me know!