“A word after a word after a word is power.” — Margaret Atwood
Open up your favorite calendar and circle today’s date.
Why? Because no matter what day it is, you’ve been given a wonderful gift: a bright and shiny year ahead to make your writing dreams come true.
What are your writing goals for the coming year? If you don’t have any, this is the perfect time to create them. Clear goals help you stay focused as a writer. If you choose what you want to accomplish, you can arrange your time and priorities to get them done.
Take five minutes right now to decide what big things you’d like to achieve this year. (I’ll focus on your writing, but this technique can work for any area of your life.)
A long-established acronym, SMART, can help you create great goals. SMART stands for:
Specific: When determining your goals, be precise. Instead of “I’ll write more this year,” consider “I’ll complete a new chapter every two weeks.”
Measurable: For each goal you choose, make sure you can measure progress. For example, how will know you’ve completed it?
Action-oriented: Choose goals you control so they’re not at anyone else’s mercy. Rather than “This year I’ll get a book contract,” set goals to complete and polish two novels or mail 30 queries to agents.
Realistic: It’s always good to stretch yourself. However, if writing ten pages usually takes you several weeks, don’t count on writing six novels this year. Unrealistic expectations can get you so frustrated you’ll lose momentum. Instead, create goals that motivate you without being burdens.
Timed: Setting a particular deadline will help you pace yourself to get things done. For each of your goals, establish a completion date.
Next, take these big SMART goals and figure out what smaller steps you’ll need to achieve each of them. Design these subgoals to be SMART too!
Once you have a list of goals for the year, put them where you’ll see them every day. Print them out and tape them to your computer, your office wall, even your bathroom mirror.
See them, know them . . . do them.
Writers, I hope this coming year brings everything you wish for. More importantly, I want you to make your dreams come true!