I am taking inspiration from my favourite website and community, Wealthy Affiliate, and am creating this post to record our shared writing commitments and goals. To get you started, I will walk through a simple guide to creating and setting your writing goals. This will include the following sections:
- The Big Picture – Long-Term Writing Goals
- Daily and Mid-Term Writing Goals
- Revision and Accountability
The Big Picture – Knowing your Long-Term Goals
It helps to know where you’re heading – what you’re striving long term, each day when you go out into the world.
Are you saving for a house? You are? Then, you probably won’t buy that ‘latest fad toy’ you see when you’re out shopping next time. You have focus; you’re focused on saving toward your house, and this definitely helps when making choices throughout the day, and almost makes life just that little bit simpler or easier.
Visualize your ideal life – in 5 years time
A nice way to create your long term goals is to visualise how you want your life to be in 5 years. Take a seat. close your eyes, and think about what your life looks life 5 years from now.
Where are you? Where are you writing? What are you wearing? What does the room feel like, smell like?
What do you see on the bookshelves? What are you doing? Are you writing?
Let your mind wander, and see what it comes up with, letting anything and everything to come up. How do you truly want to be in 5 years time? See it in as much detail and feeling as possible. How do you feel living your ideal life?
When you have this vision in mind, it’s just a few quick steps to turning this into some long term goals, down to the short term and daily goals.
But before this, just a quick side step to SMART goals. You probably know all about this by now, but the one thing I wanted to focus on here is Achievable – which is especially applicable to writers. I mean, there’s no point in setting yourself up for failure – so please don’t overestimate your daily or yearly word target goals. Spend some time, and learn and know what you can realistically write each day, and use that to help base your goals on. Of course, over time, you can increase your daily word counts.
For example, I’ve often recorded my word count for my writing times, and usually, estimate my hourly productivity at about 800 words an hour, and I can usually pump out around 300 words in a 15 minute period once I’m in a groove.
But, in saying this, at this point in my life, with a small toddler, I just can’t conceivably get enough time in the day to sit down and write much more than this. In a recent post of mine, I touched on the 300 words a day technique, that I stumbled upon in a post on the Wealthy Affiliate site. This technique is amazing, and is so simple, and has become my benchmark minimum daily word count target.
Therefore, I will use 300 words a day as my daily writing goal, which is 109,500 words for 365 days – writing every day without fail. This is a perfect word count for the type of novels that I write; that being of the fantastical nature.
So, my long-term goals, with my ‘vision’ and estimated word counts in mind, would be:
- Completed 3 novels – published traditionally, or self-published through Amazon.
- Each novel – 1 year of writing, and 6 months of editing and rewriting, before publishing.
- Completed a series of short stories. Approximately 1 short story every 2 months.
- Working in my office/study surrounded by my favourite books and authors.
- Earning enough from my writing to live comfortably (got to dream big sometimes:)
Daily Writing Goals and Mid-term Goals
Now moving to the mid-term and daily writing goals is a simple process, just reverse what we did before, but this time, keep in mind your vision of your future in 5 years time.
Mid-Term Writing Goals:
- Complete and publish a novel every 1.5 years.
- Write and publish/submit a short story every 2 months.
- Find and enter short story competitions every quarter.
- Learn about self-publishing (ebooks) on Amazon – in 12 months time.
and Daily Writing Goals:
- Write 300 words daily on main novel idea.
- Every Monday and Tuesday, write an additional 300 words a day, on the current short story idea. (600 words a week is 2400 words a month).
- Record ideas and images for story ideas every night before bed in my writer’s journal.
- Start learning about self-publishing and editing etc.
- Read weekly: books on writing craft.
Revision and Accountability
At the start of each week, it’s good to review your goals and make sure you’re planning your days and life around your commitments. Sometimes, you have to make compromises, and life or some other task has to win out, but more often than not, you’ll be offered a choice. And being a writer means writing. Therefore, most of your choices should favour the writer inside you.
A small example is: a group of old friends want to catch up and play golf all day Saturday. Do you accept? Will this mean you lose writing time? You could write before and after? Could you really? Would you really?
On the other hand, a day playing golf and talking with friends, could give you a multitude of new story ideas, and provides you with a well-deserved break…
This was a bad example, but also a good one. Every moment, outside your writing room, provides many opportunities for story ideas. As writers, we must be open to them and even invite them, occasionally. I guess my point was; keep in mind your writing dream and goals, and make them the priority, but also, don’t forget to live and enjoy life. As that’s where stories come from.
The weekly revision of your goals will also keep you accountable. And if you keep doing this on a weekly basis, it will keep you on track to your bigger longer goals.
I hope you found this interesting and can use it to create your own writing goals and commitments.
I’d love this page to be a shared space where everyone can commit and share their writing goals. What are your writing goals, long term and short term?