How important is it to you to set goals?
It is very important to me, and I only just realised this recently. They help to me focus and keep me motivated; without clear goals I get off track and feel lost.
I have been feeling very unfocused for the last few months, and it only occurred to me why: I hadn’t set any new goals for myself. I have always set goals for myself, so not having any goals set had me feeling a bit like a plastic bag floating in the wind. I was working on all these projects, jumping from one to another, not fully focusing on any.
The problem was that a few months ago I did have a goal. I wanted to focus on my YA epic fantasy. The next step was to send it off to be beta read. I did, but it took longer than I anticipated to get it back, and while it was off with the beta reader I had to keep writing. So I turned to my other projects, but couldn’t commit myself to any of them fully because what I wanted to be working on was my YA epic fantasy. I finally got my manuscript back and I can now work on it again.
So I decided to set goals for the rest of the year and realised that’s what was missing, that’s why I have been so unfocused. It feels so good to have a plan. I need plan. I may be a pantser instead of a plotter, but I am definitely a goal setter.
I have a few levels of goals. I have daily goals, monthly goals, and of course the BIG GOAL that those little goals lead up to.
For me, the BIG GOAL is to get an agent and a traditional publisher, to have a life time career and because I like to dream big, reach the New York Times Best Seller list.
On a daily level, the ultimate goal would be to write for 4 hours a day (this hardly ever happens but it’s more likely to happen eventually if I have it as a goal.), six days a week. (I believe in having a day of rest one day a week, for me this day is Sunday.)
I like to juggle multiple projects, so of those four hours I want to spend one hour writing 1000 words, two hours editing, and an hour working on a short story.
*The trick is to be realistic to your circumstances. You’ll just stress yourself out trying to squeeze in time that you just don’t have. Twenty minutes a day might be all you can do right now, which is fine, as long as you are doing something.
I’ve also set monthly goals until the end of the year.
October I will write 1k a day of my MG.
I will finish a draft of my YA epic fantasy.
November I will finish the first draft of my MG.
I will do a read over of my YA epic fantasy, get someone else to read it.
November/December – finish the first draft of my paranormal romance. (six weeks.)
December – If I think my YA epic fantasy is finished then I will start querying. This may not be the best month to start querying with Christmas and everything so I’ll investigate, but there is Miss Stark’s First Victim Baker’s Dozen Agent Auction.
December/January – Finish the first draft of The Girl In The Mirror. (six weeks)
*I think it is important to always be writing, so when I’m editing I like to still be writing another manuscript.
It feels so good to know where I’m going. I have a target and not just shooting arrows into the dark. I find that if I don’t set goals, I don’t work effectively. I like to have something to work towards, to set myself a deadline.
I believe it is important to write down your goals. To know what you are reaching for, and celebrating the small victories. I also think it is important to keep adjusting the goals you set to reach that BIG GOAL as needed, because you never know what life has in store for you. Stay focused on that BIG GOAL and do what you have to do to achieve it. Keep your eye on the prize, as they say. So if you need to stay focused and motivated, writing down your goals will help you. In fact, studies have shown that people who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them. It doesn’t take much time, and it can save you lots of time in the future.
Here is another great post on setting goals you might want to check out.
How about you? Do you write down your goals? If not, do you plan to start?