What’s your writing goal for 2012?

Where do you want to go and when do you want to get there?

Most people ask themselves those questions before heading out on a trip. I also ask them when I’m writing a book.

Completing a book requires a huge commitment of time and energy. If I don’t have a map of where I’m going and when I want to arrive, the project can stretch on into infinity. That’s scary.

So I set goals.

It took me a while to figure out what a goal is. I want to write a book and have it published is not a goal, that’s a dream.

A real goal goes something like this: I want to complete a 60,000 word manuscript by August 31, edit and revise it by December 31 and send it to a publisher/agent by January 1. In order to accomplish this I will work on my book for two hours every Saturday and Sunday.

Now that’s scary too. But it also gives you a clear idea of what you need to do.

However, sitting down at the computer knowing you intend to write 60,000 words is enough to give anyone writer’s block. So what I do is break the project down into smaller increments, say so many words or chapters each month.

I try to be reasonable about what I can accomplish, yet push myself a bit too. Every month or so, I review what I’ve done. To be perfectly honest, I never meet my self-imposed deadlines. But they keep me on track and motivate me to try harder.

Most folks lead busy lives and frequently have to give something up in order to create writing time and achieve their goals. That might involve setting the alarm an hour earlier each morning, having a writing lunch break or drafting your manuscript in the laundromat while waiting for your clothes to spin dry.  Many writers – including me – don’t watch television and limit their email and social media time.

But simply having a goal isn’t always enough. To be really effective experts say you should write your goal down, make a commitment by telling it to someone and to also be accountable to someone.

It’s early January, the time of year when many people make resolutions and set goals. Have you given any thought to where you want to be in your writing journey by the end of the year?



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2 Responses to What’s your writing goal for 2012?

  1. linda diver says:

    I have a completed manascript. My goal is to have it on the way to publication by the end of 2012. But, there always seems to be a ‘but’, I need to revise the first chapter and need help.

    • Paula says:

      Hi Linda,

      Every writer struggles with the ‘buts.’ There always seems to be something important that gets in the way. I found once I established a regular writing routine, I looked forward to that time and found it easier to say no to the distractions of life.

      Congratulations on completing your manuscript! Many writers never get that far. The next part of the journey is getting it ready for publication. Knowing you need help is the first step. A participant in one of my workshops last year was in the same situaton. I worked with her on chapter one, she applied the info she learned to the rest of the manuscript and now has a book contract. You can read more about Yvonne in my Feb. 6 blog titled Workshop student lands book contract. I’m giving two workshops this year, you can check them out on the Workshop page of my website.

      Another way writers get feedback on their work is by having a professional look it over. Even published authors hire other writers or editors to help them polish their work. Many writers provide this service. And, in my experience, an analysis of the first 10 pages is often all a person needs to get on the right track. You can Google manuscript evaluation to find someone or see my Manuscript Evaluation page.

      If you’d like to discuss this further, feel free to email me at paulawild@shaw.ca.

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