You might think that publication is the goal of every writer, and this is not always so. For some, they want to improve their writing or complete a story. Others plan on extending into another genre, to explore different mediums of storycrafting. Some goals include developing better writing habits such as writing daily, or paying closer attention to grammar and punctuation.
A handy acronym to follow is SMART- (Borrowed from How to Set SMART Writing Goals by Dustin Wax), which puts this handy, goal-setting process best to print;
Being Specific helps narrow down exactly how you will reach that goal. When jotting down New Year’s Resolutions, don’t state so much the goal, but also consider how you will reach that goal. Sometimes the journey towards an objective is just as important as the destination.
Measuring takes on many forms from the baby steps of daily word counts to seeing the finished product of a novel. Wording must be action-oriented, thoughts set in concrete.
Achievable seems a no-brainer, but many people set goals with no hopes or expectation of achiving them. Let this year be different. Pick only goals you know you will reach, but also challenging enough to leave a sense of accomplishment.
Relevant means something positive and meaningful, something to change your life. Your goals should walk in step with your soul and moral outlook in life.
Time bound or timely includes giving yourself a set amount of time to reach the goal you’ve selected. For some this could be word counts, finishing a chapter, completing the novel, or finding an agent/editor by a certain time.
TopAchievement.com also provides a nicely done article on the same SMART principles. The author adds ‘Tangible” in addition to time-bound, discussing the importance of having goals you can feel with any number of your senses.
SMART Goal Setting 101 by Tristan Loo adds more to this type of goal setting by providing sage advice. I agree wholeheartedly the importance of failure in goal setting. Without the possibilities of failure, what challenge is any goal?
Also, knowing who you can turn to for support helps. Personally I don’t include people in my life that are there to put me down or discourage me. What use are they other than drag me down? So I surround myself with writers, and people who believe in me to nudge me along the way.
Just the other day, my sister gave me a wonderful pep talk to get a book published in the 2009 year. Her words were short and to the point, but sincere. Her belief that I could write and publish a decent story helps clarify my own goal setting for the coming year.
Pick your goals wisely. Print them out and hang predominantly in the area you write. Take one step at a time. Make the year 2009 a year to remember.