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?



2 Replies to “What’s your writing goal for 2012?”

  1. 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.

    1. 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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