Last week my real life writing peeps and I had our first meeting of 2015. We were all asked to bring a list of our writing goals for the year. Gulp. Setting goals down on paper and sharing them with others takes courage. Once a goal is acknowledged, it has power.
It has power to make you feel guilty. So a fear of commitment can keep you from writing down the goal. The only problem is...without commitment, dreams are harder to achieve.
It has the power to make you face reality. So a fear of imperfection keeps you from writing down your goals. Here's a fact: everyone's first draft is messy, maybe even full of holes.
It has the power to make you feel bad at the end of the year. So a fear of failure keeps you from writing down the goals. The way around that is to make sure you have SMART goals.
So let's explore what a SMART goal might mean...
"I'm going to get an agent this year" is a not-so-smart goal because you're not in control of the outcome. An agent has to say yes for you to achieve this goal.
Here's a S.M.A.R.T. version:
"I'm going to research agents in my genre and send out 5 queries by March." This one is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound (aka with a deadline).
In terms of writing...
You can say "I'll spend an hour every day trying to write ." This one has too many holes. I don't know about you, but I have spent an hour (or more) with my word document open while I a) check my email, b) take a facebook break, c) read a book and so on. What's at work here is a distracted mind.
For me, a better goal is: "I will write 500 words a day." I don't have to do it all at once. The main point is getting that specific measurable amount of words at the end of the day. A lot of times I surprise myself and do more.
There are so many ways of talking ourselves out of committing to our dreams and writing down goals. But there's only way to making our dream of being a writer come true and that's by writing. So I hope you'll take the pen/pencil/keyboard by the horns and start by setting out your goals.
My writing goals for 2015 (yes, I'm sharing them with you to further commit myself and maybe inspire you):
1. Write my weekly food column.
2. Revise my 24K WIP (Work in Progress)
3. Write a new djinn story
4. Write the sequel to my dragon story
5. Blog more often
6. Try new markets
Bonus goal -- if I truly have time between the above, family and other commitments (Ha!) -- write a werewolf story for fun.
So what do you think?