Using goals to kick start your writing career

... and why goals are better than 'resolutions'.

This time last year, I started the Exploring Authoring blog and set myself the goal of finishing the first draft of my young adult novel before my 30th birthday. In the past, I’d started plenty of years with the vague, non-specific, resolution to ‘do more writing’ or ‘make time to write’ - but I’d never had a concrete, measurable goal.

Fast forward to January 2017 and I am not only in possession of a completed first draft, I’ve also worked my way through a quarter of my second draft rewrites, plotted out books two and three in my trilogy, written and successfully crowdfunded an illustrated children’s book, and started my own micro-publishing company.

I actually didn’t fully appreciate how much I achieved in 2016 until I sat down and started planning my new set of goals for 2017. Looking back, I’m amazed; it was far from an easy year, in many ways, and yet… that goal kept me focussed. All the other things I did (the children’s book, the crowdfunding…) were a side-effect of starting to believe in myself as a writer.

And that wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t begun the year with a big, shiny, intimidating but oh-so-important goal.

So, if you’re sitting at home wishing you could write but thinking that you’ll never have time, or if you’re planning to ‘try and fit writing in around other things’ this year. I’m here to tell you that you need to set yourself a goal, or two, or three…

Just follow these three easy goal-setting steps, and 2017 will be yours for the taking!

Step one

What do you want more than anything? If time and money weren’t an issue, what would you want to achieve? (hint, for our purposes the answer should be writing-orientated)

In my case, the answer to this question was: ‘I want to write and publish a young adult novel.’

Step two

List three, achievable, realistic things you can do in your current situation to make this dream happen.

My list went like this:

  1. Write three days a week. (This seemed realistic given my work and personal commitments, but significant enough to make a difference to my desired outcome.)

  2. Start reading books about writing and listening to podcasts. (Podcasts were an especially achievable aim for me because I knew I’d be able to listen to them on my drive to work.)