Many thanks to writer S.Bee who has some wise words to say about setting goals.
This is something I definitely need to do. Without goals, nothing seems to happen but you also need a strong dollop of self-belief, motivation and determination, to carry them through (or is that just me?).
I have probably said this before, but I struggle with procrastination (which is a posh word for ‘faffing’). If you’re the same, then Joanne Harris has a new thread on her Twitter feed #TenThingsAboutProcrastination which you might find useful.
Do you set goals? How do you manage your writing and ensure that the days and weeks just don’t just disappear, without getting any writing done? If you’ve got any tips or suggestions to add, please put them in the comments section below.
Here’s what S.Bee has to say on the subject:
We all need to value the importance of goal setting. This simple technique can help, encourage, motivate and support us to produce high quality regular results. Here, I outline ten steps to get you started on the goal setting path.
1. Why we need to set goals
Goals keep us motivated, it offers us structure, plus it forces us to be disciplined and organised. We can actually finish projects instead of having lots of vague ideas hanging about cluttering up our hard drives, our creative minds and our notebooks.
2. Decide what your goal is
It should be something you really, really want to do. Two years ago, I decided to attempt a rom-com novel. I gave myself a rough time limit of a year to start it, finish it, edit it and submit it.
3. Goals prevent the ‘blank screen’ scenario
Grab a pen and paper, write your goal down and place this note on your desk.
It doesn’t matter if there’s just one small item on the list.
Then every day, when I sit at the computer, I have a good idea what my goals are and what I can realistically achieve in my time limit.
You can crack on with that project straight away – no more time wasted staring at a blank screen. If you adopt this method, you’ll never get stuck, because your goal is already there waiting for you.
4. Daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals
You can set goals for every day, every month or every year. If this sounds too much like hard work, that’s because (sorry, writers) it is!
Professional writers and full-time freelancers actively choose to work in their own specific areas of employment – if they don’t work, the bills don’t get paid.
My one big goal for last year was to finish my rom-com novel.
5. Set more than one goal
There’s nothing wrong with having several goals. In fact, I would actively encourage it. However, I would advise you to complete one project before you start work on another, because your mind set may change with each one.
6. How to keep motivated
You shouldn’t have any problem keeping motivated if you have set your goals clearly. If you’ve run out of goals, simply set some more!
Reflect on your past success and think ‘I did it then, so I can do it again now.’
7. Goals must be realistic and achievable
I feel that my goal of producing a commercial rom-com novel is both realistic and achievable because:
(i) I’ve had over 55 stories published in national UK magazines
(ii) I enjoy reading the rom-com genre
(iii) I’ve had practical working experience of my MC’s occupation and
(iv) Hopefully, my novel will fit alongside the other rom-com writers on the book store shelf.
Remember, ideally, your goals should be realistic and achievable.
If they’re not, think about how you’d get from A to B.
For instance, if you wanted to write a political stage play, but you’ve spent twenty years working on a farm, it’d be good idea to carry out research beforehand.
Don’t simply make it up and think it’s going to be okay. It won’t.
Talk to your friends about your project and listen to their suggestions.
8.Struggling? Set yourself a different goal
If you’re struggling to start or complete your goal, it’s perfectly okay to put it on the back burner for a while. Perhaps it’s not the right time for it, or perhaps it’s a big project and you don’t feel ready.
It’s a waste of time and energy to force yourself into something, so jot your idea down, and then switch focus to a different goal instead.
9. Give yourself a reward
There’s one very important aspect of goal setting.
It involves treats. Lots of them, in fact!
Reached the basics? Fix yourself a coffee – oh, and have a biscuit too.
If snacking ain’t your thing, vow to get your nails/ hair done or buy that new book by your favourite author.
Little treats like this gives us something to look forward to when we’re in the midst of despair.
10. Keep going with those goals!
Regard goal setting as standard practice for your working life.
When I was an unpaid writer, my goal for the next day was to visit the local library, type my work up from my longhand and save it on a floppy disc. The fact that I wasn’t a published, paid writer didn’t deter me one little bit.
I didn’t listen to others who put me off achieving my goal – and neither should you.
The reason why I felt my goal was realistic and achievable was because I’d had my work assessed by a specialist womag fiction agency who’d said my material was ‘spot on’ for the magazine market.
I had set my goal and I did everything within my power to achieve it.
And finally, I did it.
My first short story was published in The Weekly News and I actually got paid! I was so proud. I’ve since gone on to repeat this success.
So, go set those goals today!
If you love animals and a pick n’ mix of fiction, our e-anthology PAWS FOR THOUGHT contains short stories by womag writers such as Patsy Collins, Jacqui Cooper, Beatrice Charles, Alan Williams and Fran Tracey.
Income from sales are donated to the RSPCA. Details here.
Many thanks, Sharon, for a stimulating and thought-provoking post. I like the sound of those treats! Good luck with your charity (RSPCA) short story anthology and do let us know when your rom-com novel hits the shelves!