Sunday Style: Write Your Writing Goals!

Everywhere I turn, I’m reminded that this is the time of year for drafting goals. My goals for all aspects of my life (family, health, home, writing, etc.) have been on my mind for a few weeks. But here at Motherlogue, I’m going to focus on writing goals. Many of my fellow writing group members have been talking about their goals in our group’s blog. I’ve seen other writers posting their goals on their homepages and blogs.

But I noticed that there wasn’t too much advice of how to go about writing one’s writing goals. So, I did a Google search. The first hit on my list was from a local resource, The Seattle PI’s Midge Raymond. She suggests this three step process:

– What were your goals last year? If you don’t usually write down your writing goals, this year would be a good time to start. The years have a way of slipping by if we don’t articulate our goals, and whether this is the year to write your novel, to find an agent, or to start journaling, putting it down on paper will hold you accountable. Better yet, find a writing buddy or writing group so you’ll be able to share the joys and challenges, as well as stay inspired.

– Did you meet last year’s goals? Whether you wrote them down or just had a vague idea of what you wanted to accomplish with your writing, how’d it go? If you achieved your goal — finished a first draft, submitted a story for publication, took a writing class — then think about what enabled to you do that: What had to align in your personal and professional life to make that happen? Take note of what worked, and make it happen again in 2010. If you weren’t able to meet your goals, why not? Take a look at what got in the way, and work to resolve this issue so you’ll have a better chance of completing what you set out to do this year.

– What are your writing goals this year? Finally, make that list. It doesn’t have to be grand, like Writing the Great American Novel — it just has to be something you’ve always wanted to do but have never made the time for. When you outline your goal(s), think about how you can use time to your advantage — this is the one time all year in which you’ve got 12 months (52 weeks, 365 days) in which to work on your goal. Don’t waste a single day. If you start out strong, you’ll find yourself inspired, you’ll get into a routine, and you’ll accomplish more than you ever thought possible.

This simple approach makes sense to me. And I love the idea of having this list so that next December 31, and throughout the year, I can revisit what my goals are and feel good about what I’ve achieved and remain true about my path. For an inspiring example of how drafting your goals and then revisiting them can help you achieve great things, check out my writer friend Mary Jo’s post about her 2009 accomplishments.

One of my goals this year is to limit how much information about writing I’m taking in. That may sound crazy, but it’s not. In this techno world, I have so many opportunities to gather information about writing — blogs, newsletters, listservs, magazines, podcasts, books. In 2009 I was thrilled to learn about Google Reader; this service has helped me be better about blog surfing, but it’s also made me a little more crazed about checking those blogs for that one piece of information that MAY be there with which I simply can’t live without. I do the same with the listservs I receive and the newsletters to which I subscribe. I always feel like there might be something in them that I need. And, usually, I do find great information. What I need to remember is the balance between intake and output.

Well, in 2010, I’m going to limit my intake. I have yet to get specific about this goal (how many times can I check Reader each day? each week? each month?) but I know I’m going to set limits. And, I’m going to do the same for the listservs I receive and review. My hope is that by focusing on limiting the intake, I will provide myself with more room for output.

In writing this post, I’m trying on this new approach. As I mentioned, I did a Google search to find information about how to draft one’s writing goals. My first hit provided what I needed. So, I stopped there. This is a new practice. I am resisting the urge to return to that list and dabble in a few of the other suggested links. Hopefully this means I’m off to a good start for meeting at least this goal.

Happy New Year, Happy Goals and Happy Writing in 2010!

Photo courtesy of stock.xhcng

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One Response to Sunday Style: Write Your Writing Goals!

  1. Hey Liz: Thanks for the mention! And I also need to control my intake of information – esp. on the topic of writing. I think having a specific number of times or a limit of time of day or minutes spent is a great idea to keep this under control.

    I also like to research (I know!) successful authors’ writing processes. Know what’s funny? Almost all of them write AWAY from their computers or turn off their internet access so they don’t spend time reading instead of writing. One of my fav’s (Laurie Halse Anderson) says she scans emails first thing in the a.m., then gets to work writing; only after she’s logged writing and revising time does she allow herself the marketing aspect of the writing business. check out her tips here: http://www.writerlady.com/faqh.html
    ~Mary Jo

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