Hi SEers. John with you today. This is the first Story Empire post of 2022. Let me wish you all a prosperous and Happy New Year. (Maybe I’m the last to do that, but the sentiment remains)
The new year means many things to all of us. But to those of us who are writers, the new year is a time to set some goals for our writing. Goals are like resolutions but are a little more concrete and designed to guide the writer’s productivity for the next twelve months.
Since goals carry a burden more significant than those self-improvement desires usually stated in resolutions, planning them should be with a little more care.
The following suggestions on goal setting in this post have the intent of 1. Inspiring you to develop writing goals. 2. Providing a replicable model to assist in goal development. 3. To strongly suggest measuring goals to determine progress.
So, with that introduction, let’s get into it.
For our purposes, what is a goal? A goal is a written statement of the desired outcome that, taken with other goals, produces movement in the direction the individual wants to go. This is not a definition pulled from a dictionary. Instead, it is a statement that hopes to explain the nature of a goal.
What are the steps to establishing a goal?
1 Know the destination.
2 State that destination in as few words as possible.
3 Know what it will take to accomplish the goal
4 List those actions that will achieve the goal
5 Set timelines for completing the actions
The number of goals set is up to the individual. However, one should bear in mind that the goal and resulting actions need to be those things that are in direct control of the person setting them. The actions have to be tangible things that can achieve the goal. Setting goals that are unattainable is a waste of energy.
In the five things mentioned above, two of them require knowledge. To be successful in goal setting, the destination and what it will take to get there need to be known. If the person setting the goal has no idea of either, then setting goals is once again a waste of energy.
So, a goal-setting model would look like this
A written goal in as few words as possible.
Written action steps that will achieve the goal
A timeline for the accomplishment of each goal
Now that we have the model, let’s go to an example. How about as a destination we choose getting published. So, we now know the destination. Do we know how to get there? Maybe or maybe not. Let’s say we don’t. We know we need to find out more. For this exercise, our first goal isn’t to get published. It is to find out how to get published. Let’s state that.
Goal = Find out how to get published
Do we know how to do that? I think most of us know basic research techniques. So, let’s get some actions down.
1 Google “getting published.”
2 Make a list of all the ways to get published
3 Choose the one way that seems most comfortable
4 Set up a series of goals and actions to accomplish getting published
These are good, but we said to set timelines for completing the actions. Here they are with timelines.
1 Google “getting published” – By January 10th
2 Make a list of all the ways to get published – by January 15th
3 Choose the one way that seems most comfortable – By January 16th
4 Set up a series of goals and actions to accomplish getting published – By January 30th (note: This does not mean being published by January 30th. It means setting up the goals and actions for getting published.)
As you can see, setting one goal can lead to a series of goals designed to reach the destination. By the way, the destination could be almost anything. It does not have to be so overarching as “getting published.” Getting published might even be a mission statement rather than a goal.
I would recommend setting one goal at a time and working that goal to a conclusion. This means that maybe a writer will only have five or so goals for the year.
I hope you found this discussion validates the need to set goals and that the process need not be complex.
How about you? Do you set goals? If so, how many do you set? Do you find them helpful?