As new writers, setting realistic goals will help you get started with your writing, and for us more seasoned writers realistic goals keep us on track when the daily grind sets in. Setting attainable goals at times seems like a daunting task. The gap between where we currently are in our writing career and where want to be can seem insurmountable. I try to look at it as a mile run, broken down into small attainable steps.
You say you want to become the next J.K. Rowling or Stephen King, but you have yet to commit the first word to paper. One immediate attainable goal is to read a book on novel writing. You might choose to take a writing course on-line or at a local college or university instead. These are all realistic and measurable steps in reaching your long-term goal to be a novelist.
Your next goal might be to write your first story, write the outline of your novel, or actually write your first chapter. Following that, you might seek feedback, by joining a critique group or by sending your story to an editor. Each short-term goal marks a step toward your long-term dream. Each goal stands as attainable on its own.
When setting attainable goals, we must be honest with ourselves with what we are capable of achieving at this stage in our writing careers. If we have yet to earn a dime from writing, it is unrealistic to set the goal of becoming self-supporting in six months. If we've never written more than a passionate letter to the editor on the litter in our neighborhood, it is unrealistic to expect our 500-page Great American novel to be completed and sold within the year.
Setting attainable goals isn’t always easy. We are in a hurry to obtain success, so we initially are tempted to strive for overly ambitious goals. The more ambitious and unrealistic a goal the bigger chance we will fall short of meeting the goal, become discouraged and quit, resigning ourselves to failure. We must remember these are our goals, solely for our own benefit and not based on others expectations.
Attainability also means recognizing what is realistic in writing markets. If there is an upswing in science fiction, and we don’t write in the science fiction genre, it is unrealistic to expect to be self-supporting writing science fiction stories.
In the end, like running a mile, our realistic and attainable goals start by taking a small step, are tough enough to make us sweat and stretch to reach the end, yet not too difficult to cause us to throw our hands up and quit.
Challenge: List your attainable goals, including the small steps to reach them.
Keep running and writing,
Welcome to Our Write Mind. I hope you will explore the various pages. I would love to hear from you and am curious about what you would like to see discussed or what you would find helpful to you as a writer. My goal is to have new material available weekly. My best wishes to you as we explore the writing profession. Dara