“Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal: my strength lies solely in my tenacity.” Louis Pasteur
You might not have a 1 year plan, a 3 year plan or a 5 year plan for your writing career (although, ideally, you should have all three), but I’m sure you have dreams. And dreams can be easily converted into goals, then step by step action items that you can follow to make sure that you reach those dreams. After all, dreaming is lovely, but living your dream life is even better!
So what’s the difference between dreams and goals? “A goal is a dream with a deadline.” Napoleon Hill had said, and he gets partial credit.
Good goals are SMART goals.
Specific: Instead of saying, “I want to write more,” say, “I will write ten pages per day, Monday through Friday, and will have a 300 page manuscript by Jan, 15, 2011.”
Measurable: Instead of saying, “I’ll improve my writing skills,” say, “I will take 2 online writing courses this year, will read The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman and Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Mass, will attend one writers conference and take as many workshops as possible, will find a critique partner and will enter my writing in three judged contests to measure my progress via feedback and placing in those contests.”
Attainable: Plan for things that are achievable by you. Instead of saying, “I will get a publishing contract,” say, “I will submit my polished proposal to twenty agents I’ve thoroughly researched.”
Relevant: You should care deeply and passionately about your goals. Your goals should be about what you want for yourself, not what others want from you or for you. If your goals are not important to you, it’s unlikely that you’ll put in the effort necessary to achieve them.
Timelined: (All right, Mr. Hill, here we go at last.) Goals that don’t have a deadline tend to be put off indefinitely, so make sure to set firm but achievable deadlines.
How big should your goals be? As big as you can handle, but don’t set goals that will so overwhelm you that you won’t even be able to start. As you’ll see below, my personal goal right now is to do everything in my power to make the Borders Bestseller List with my next book, THE SPY WHO SAVED CHRISTMAS. After two dozen published books, I feel that this is doable. Would I like to hit the New York Times Bestseller List? You bet. But I’m saving that goal for a little later.
On the other hand, make sure that you don’t set goals so small that they will fail to inspire you! When scientists examined the behavioral effects of goal-setting, they concluded that 90% of laboratory and field studies involving specific and challenging goals led to higher performance than did easy or no goals.
Here is a quick tip to make sure you achieve your goals:
You’re more likely to achieve your goals if you publicly commit to your goal/share it with a support group. So please post your goal to this thread and share with others here!
Personally, I find goals motivating. Each time I achieve one, it’s proof positive that “yes, I can handle this.” So set achievable goals to make sure to give yourself positive experiences. Then when you meet with a difficult challenge, you can look back at all the obstacles you’ve already conquered and know that you have what it takes to rise to the challenge. If you have self-confidence, you will take advantage of opportunities you might have let pass before. You will find that you will exceed even your own expectations.
Writing a bestseller sounds daunting right now? Write the first 10 pages of a book and enter it into a writing contest. You will get feedback from the judges, the attention of agents and/or editors if you’re one of the finalists, and who knows, down the line it might lead to a contract for that book that could be your first bestseller!
Goals give you short-term motivation and long-term vision.
“Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.” Fitzhugh Dodson
List your writing goals. Make sure they are very specific and measurable. You should be able to answer the following question for each goal: “How do I know when that goal is met?”
Number your goals according to priority.
Break down your top priority goal into manageable tasks that are necessary to take you to your destination.
Put your tasks on a timeline. (See my sample goal chart at the end of this lesson.)
Next: Now that you have a timed plan for reaching your priority goal, repeat these exercises for all your goals.
The assignments in this lesson will take some time if done right, so I'm going to stop here. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions. And don’t forget to share your goals with the class!
Have a fabulous week,
“Many people fail in life, not for lack of ability or brains or even courage but simply because they have never organized their energies around a goal.” Elbert Hubbard
My priority goal right now is to promote THE SPY WHO SAVED CHRISTMAS with the hopes that it will make it onto the Borders bestseller list.
Here are my steps toward that goal:
WHO NEEDS TO DO IT
Take Beth Barany’s online Social Networking Class
Take Marcia James’s online PR class
Build following on Twitter
Post reviews, quotes
Build following on Facebook
Post cover, reviews, excerpts and quotes
Post cover, reviews, excerpts and quotes, Q&A, fun facts, etc
Notify existing readership of my new release via newsletter
Mention cover, reviews, excerpt, link to book stores, link to my Facebook and Twitter, reader contest
Reach new readership via a blog tour
Sep. – Oct.
Post, cover, reviews, excerpt, link to book stores, link to my Facebook and Twitter, reader contest
ARCs (advanced readers copies)
Send to reviewers then make sure to send thank you notes once the reviews come out
Update web site with new release information