Is a busy schedule or lack of organization holding you back from writing your book? If you want to be successful, writing goals are important. Without goals, the process of writing can become jumbled and confusing.
When you have writing goals, and you meet them consistently, you will be able to write the book you’ve always wanted to write. Not to mention pursue other writing ambitions, like content writing or freelancing!
What are writing goals?
Goals are created when you set clear results for your career, health, or life. In order to accomplish the goal, you may create routines or habits or find other ways to improve.
So you know what a goal is, but what are writing goals?
A writing goal defines what you want the outcome of your writing to be. Which may be a finished manuscript, writing a certain amount of words a day, or finally sitting down to create your book’s outline.
Your writing goals will be specific to you, and they can get you from just dreaming of being an author to actually becoming one.
Why is it important to have smart goals for writing?
When you work from a goals perspective instead of aimlessly or just when you feel like it, you will make a lot more progress.
You will avoid getting stuck with your writing and never finishing it, and you can also track your progress. In fact, goals can help you form new habits and keep going when things get tough.
What are the benefits of setting goals as a writer?
You might wonder what are the things that make writing goals so worth it. Having goals as a writer can make a huge difference! Here’s how:
Organizes your thoughts before you write
Writing goals allow you to have a clear starting and ending point as a writer. You will begin your work understanding what you expect from yourself as you sit down to write.
Knowing what you plan to accomplish will help you to save time and get your work done.
You know what direction the story is going
If you decide to set smart goals for your writing that help you organize your story, you won’t lose sight of what direction the book is going.
If you have habits that help you check in with your work, your orderly approach will help the story to flow, and you won’t get lost in the particulars. Or get caught up in fluff writing.
Goals ensure you actually complete the book
You might have a ton of great ideas, vivid characters, and the perfect story. But if you never finish your writing, you will never get to share that!
Smart goals for your writing will allow you to complete what you started and end up with a manuscript you can pass on to an editor or publisher.
How to set goals as a writer
Goals are motivating, and now you understand their benefits. Here’s a step-by-step process for creating writing goals for yourself.
Start with what type of book you’re writing
Before you choose your smart goals for writing, know what type of book you are creating. Is the story a fiction or a non-fiction book? These require different approaches.
Ask yourself other questions, as well. How many chapters will the book be? What is the main idea or concept of the story or information? What is your reader persona?
Starting from the very beginning with very clear ideas of what you want to create is the best approach for setting smart goals for writing.
Set a word count goal per day or per week
After you know what direction your book is going, setting a word count is the next big thing to decide. Word count goals help you know how long your book will take to write, and they keep you on track.
You can judge whether or not you’re meeting your time goals for the book based on whether you’re meeting your word count.
You can set a minimum word count per day or per week. If you have a busy schedule and can’t write every day, or prefer to write for small amounts of time, then per week is likely best. If writing is your full-time job or you plan to devote time to writing each day, then daily word counts could be a good option.
You should set your word count based on how fast you write, how frequently, and your schedule. Don’t feel pressured to do what any other writers do, instead, come up with a realistic number that you know you can accomplish.
Set an outline or chapter goals
After your word count writing goals are set, it’s time to decide on your outline and chapter goals. There are several ways to do this.
You can set a goal to write your whole outline within a specific time frame. Or you can outline small parts of your book at a time, then write them, then move on to the next part of the outline.
This may work well if you intend to write one chapter at a time and want to work at a more leisurely pace.
Set a completion date for your book
After you’ve decided how long outlining will take and you know what your word count will be, you can set a deadline for completing your book! Base your deadline on how long the book will realistically take to write. Refer to your word count for this.
Give yourself a bit of extra time, too, as a grace period. And remember that it’s okay to make changes to your deadline if you find that you want to write something different or it’s taking more time than you thought. The completion date just helps you stay focused.
Get an accountability partner
Now you’ve got all of your writing dates and time frames decided. So, it’s time to bring in an accountability partner. Pick a friend or mentor you trust to cheer you on and help you succeed.
Tell this person about your writing goals, and ask them to remind you to stay focused and be there to support you. Talking with others about your goals can be incredibly helpful, especially if you’re new to book writing.
Participate in a writing challenge
Another way to get accountability is to be part of a writing challenge. There are a lot to choose from.
The 30-day writing challenge involves doing various writing exercises for a total of 30 days. It’s a good way to get started if your schedule is super busy.
Another option is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writers Month). This requires a serious amount of time and effort, but it can be just what you need if you are serious about finishing your book quickly. It happens in November, and the goal is to write 50,000 words in a month!
Yet another writing challenge is the YeahWrite Super Challenge. If you want to kick-start your writing fast, you can participate in this event. You will be provided with a prompt, have a short time to write something, and then turn it in to try to win the competition.
Examples of writing goals
Maybe you really want to become an author, but you’re still unclear on where to focus your efforts. Here are some examples of writing goals that can help you begin.
Write 5000 words a week
If you have the time, writing 5000 words in a week is one of the best things you can do.
You can change the word count to whatever you want, but 5000 gives you the option to write about 1000 words a day on weekdays only and frees up your weekends.
Write three scenes per week of your story
If you’re writing a novel, one of the examples of writing goals is to write 3 scenes per week (or as many as you want).
You can take the time to really think through the setting, characters, and dialogue when using this approach.
Outline your whole book in two weeks
If you need to get organized fast and want to have a very clear understanding of what your story or non-fiction book is going to be about, consider doing this.
Outline your entire book in a set amount of time, like two weeks. Doing so will help you jump-start your writing goals.
Setting writing goals will help you complete your book!
By checking out examples of writing goals and coming up with your own, you’ll soon have a plan to complete your book!
Something that may hold back writers from even getting started is perfectionism, believing that they have to decide and organize everything about their story before beginning.
Instead of getting caught in this trap, set a few great writing goals, get out that laptop, and start. You can make more goals as you go along, and you’ll find that writing becomes easier with time and great habits.
Remember, there are people who may need to read exactly what you write in the way you write it. You can tell a great story, help others learn and succeed, and make a difference by becoming an author. So, get out there and write that awesome book!