Did you make up your mind many times to sit down to write at least 1000 words every day but failed miserably?
This is not rare, and I am sure that there is a slight grin on your face by now. It might be a blog post, a novel, or any other form of writing, but I am sure that we cannot achieve what we’ve planned without proper action and targets.
So, what are your writing goals?
Writing goals help you complete your writing process within your desired time frame. If you are struggling to finish your writing within a stipulated time, setting an achievable daily writing goal can help you tremendously.
Our life is incomplete without a purpose, and likewise, we need to set goals to live our lives with some purpose and give meaning to our existence. Setting goals helps us to stay motivated and achieve our dreams. In fact, this is true for any goal that we set—it might be about our health, career, or writing.
Setting achievable writing goals are indispensable to fulfilling your unwritten writing ideas. But, the primary concern is how to set goals that are practical, achievable, and help you accomplish writing tasks that you’ve laid out in the first place?
Short and Long-Term Writing Goals
It is important to set your writing goals, but what’s even more important is to set some measurable and specific goals. This is possible only when you split your plans into short- and long-term goals.
Contrary to common belief, you should always determine your long-term writing goals first with a creative vision in mind and compare them with your current performance. By doing so, you understand where exactly you stand and what steps you must take to achieve your long-term goal.
Such intermediate steps that come in between are your short-term goals. Remember, you cannot achieve your long-term goal without fulfilling your short-term goals. Hence, you always split your big goal into smaller but achievable short goals. Achieve them one after another, and reward yourself for every small goal achieved.
For instance, if you set out to write a book, you can set the long-term goal to finish 50000 words within a month as you do during the NaNoWriMo challenge.
Now divide your long-term goal into several short-term weekly and daily goals. Here, you can focus on the number of hours invested in writing.
Now that you know how writing goals can help finish long-form projects, it is indeed necessary to discuss how to achieve them.
How to Achieve Your Writing Goals?
Below are some steps that may help you achieve your writing goals.
1. Realize the Motive Behind Setting Your Goal
Many of us stay stuck in a career due to financial demands and peer pressure. Writing certainly doesn’t fall under this category, at least for freelancers. We take up writing as a career only when we are passionate about it. Hence before you start your writing, ask yourself this fundamental question “Why are you writing?”
You might be writing a book or a blog but ponder upon how this will impact your readers’ lives. You should analyze how it will change your life as well before deciding your writing goals.
Maybe, this book or blog will help you step into a whole new world of opportunities. You can even kickstart your coaching career or a new business venture. Maybe it will help you provide financial stability to your family or help you focus more on your family, especially the kids when you work from home. Answering these questions would clarify why you should write and, above all, why you should write every day.
Once you list down your answers, I suggest that you write them on a neat sheet of paper and hang it in a place that’s visible to your eyes every day (maybe right above your desk).
This piece of paper will be a constant source of motivation. It will help you push yourself harder and work towards achieving your writing goals. Motivation is an integral factor in achieving anything in life, and self-motivation is even more necessary for some people, especially writers.
2. Identify An Attainable Routine and Stick to It
Before you commit to anything, take a step back and analyze where you stand currently. From this routine, you pick up areas where you could bring in improvisations and change a few slots to set goals that can be fulfilled.
Write down the time that you spend every day, the number of words that you finish, and the target deadlines that you’ve missed until now. Now, set a writing goal and commit to it.
It might be frustrating sometimes, while on some other days sticking to your plan and meeting your daily targets might be incredibly trivial. Don’t be demotivated by challenges that could put a full stop to your writing career when you don’t overcome them. Else, there are chances that you might start giving excuses for failure and stop doing anything. Instead, analyze why you failed on certain days and work towards improving these grey areas.
Never look at the goal as an end result but focus on daily results that help you move positively towards your long-term goal. Commit to the writing routine by creating inspirational images, listing positive statements, getting rid of distractions (such as mobile phones or TV), and treating yourself both as a teacher and a student who is accountable for what you do.
Follow the S.M.A.R.T Goal Route by setting goals that are Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic, and Time-based.
3. Fulfill Deadlines
Just like how you set a goal, it is necessary to set deadlines for them too. This way, you might feel pressured at times, but isn’t it true that many of us perform best under pressure and create magic when we are close to the deadline?
The most important point while setting deadlines is to set realistic ones. For instance, don’t commit yourself to publish a book in a week. While it might be possible, especially when you hire someone, the result might not be up to the mark.
Make use of a planner to detail your deadlines, set monthly and daily deadlines, and keep following up daily.
Sometimes, it might be tough to fulfill them all, and you might be scared by your monthly targets too, but I suggest that you focus all your attention on your daily goals. When you fulfill daily goals, your monthly goals would surely be fulfilled automatically.
4. Have a Backup Plan
You might be having an original plan, and you are sticking to it diligently. But we are all humans, and there is a chance that we become inactive during certain times due to several reasons. This might affect our productivity and bring a setback to our goals.
But, isn’t this part and parcel of everyone’s writing process? Hence, it becomes vital to have a concrete backup plan available irrespective of whether we might or might not be using it.
Follow the three C’s of Creativity, Consumption, and Connection. Creativity is nothing but entrusting our heart and soul into our writing process. At times, you need to unleash your creativity into other things that interest you as well (such as jewelry making, drawing, painting, and likewise) to clear your mind.
We might be individuals, but none of us can survive or thrive without our society. Hence, connecting with friends, family members, and above all, ourselves is crucial to staying focused and rekindling our passion for writing.
You could even take a nature walk, rest in a park, and connect physically by performing yoga and physical exercises. This way, you feel rejuvenated and even look forward to completing your unfinished writing task.
A connection is a constant reminder of why we are writing and reminds the purpose of our writing.
5. Reward Yourself Generously
Like how you set weekly and monthly goals, you must also set weekly and monthly rewards to stay motivated and pursue writing success.
Plan a reward that will help you achieve your goal.
In other words, the reward must be enticing and appealing to lure you towards fulfilling your goals. It might be as simple as getting yourself a tasty pastry or buying your favorite denim shirt. Else, remind yourself of your success once you achieve the daily word count by giving a smiley sticker (it might sound kiddish, but it works).
6. Keep Reviewing and Adjusting Your Goals
We set long-term goals with some plans in mind, but there might be times when some of the programs are dropped due to unavoidable circumstances. In these situations, you would have to review your goals and keep changing them as per your needs.
There could be times when the project demands change, and hence, you would have to make changes to your goals as well.
It also helps to experiment with your goal-setting ideologies. This would help you work efficiently on other future projects.
Besides reviewing, you must reflect upon your goals as well. Reflecting on your goals helps you learn several valuable lessons to move forward with your goal setting principles. Apply these new techniques to improve your writing habits.
7. Stay Optimistic
Staying positive and having an optimistic mindset is crucial to improving yourself and reaping success in life.
Words have magical power, and hence, choose your words and thoughts wisely such that they steer you towards positive thinking. Often, we choose to focus on our negative actions.
Instead, learn to focus on the positives. For instance, rather than grumbling about how much is left, applaud yourself for how much you have already written. This would be a good energy booster, and positive thoughts lead to positive actions, which in turn makes your writing positive and beautiful.
8. Join a Community
Together we stand, divided we fall. Isn’t this true in all circumstances?
We may achieve individually, but during tough times it is always difficult to handle issues in isolation. A shoulder to lean upon is a blessing for us. Hence, when you decide to become a better writer, I suggest that you meet and develop a friendship with a community of like-minded writers who work diligently just like you towards their goals.
Being in touch with them and seeing their struggles and accomplishments will be a strong force that will keep you going.
My Final Thoughts
Sketching a writing career isn’t a mammoth task if you sit back, take baby steps, plan your strategies, and take it forward steadily.
All you need is a little push and a generous dose of self-motivation to surpass your goals and achieve success in your writing career.
Writing becomes a habit when you do it regularly, and you start enjoying the writing process. However, there might be challenging phases here and there. Still, once you reach your goal, the fruits of your efforts are tasty and enjoyable.