Make yourself a promise in the form of a writing goal
Read on and learn how to define it for your best chance of success.
You might want to write three pages a day or a thousand words every weekend. Maybe you want to join that poetry group you’ve been thinking about for six months.
Achievable Goals lead to Success
A well defined goal might be something like “Go to poetry group every Wednesday at 6pm”. A bad example would be “get a short story published within six months” because you don’t have full control over that. Instead you might say “submit a short story every month for the next six months”.
Where and When?
Where and when will you work on your goal? Be clear about days and times so you don’t keep putting it off, thinking you will do it later. “I will write for two hours every Saturday and Sunday morning from 8-10am in my bedroom”.
If there’s nowhere you can be alone, go to a cafe, public library or park. You don’t want interruptions.
A trigger can help you keep the habit, like starting to write every morning when you have your first cup of coffee.
What is Success?
How will you know when you have been successful? No-one is perfect, so you can allow for that. “Success is attending three poetry groups each month”, or “success is writing three pages on 25 days every month”.
You know your real hope is to go to the poetry group every single week, or to write every day without fail, but by giving yourself some slack you are being realistic and setting yourself up for success, not failure.
Decide how long you can keep it up
Habits take time to develop. Decide up front that you are going to start out by doing the thing for a specific length of time. Will it be a week, a month, a year? But you want to do it forever, don’t you? That’s fine, you will.
A few years ago I decided to walk “every day” and set up a month of dates to tick off. I missed out most of the second week and gave up. Someone said, “if you can’t do it every day for a month, can you do it every day for a week?” Then one more week and one more. After that I was nowhere near perfect but did a lot more walking — and still do.
Write the dates ahead of time to give you deadlines, and tick them off so you can review what you have done. Keep it simple, the less record keeping I have do, the more I seem to get out of it.
Pin it Up
Write down your goal and date it, then pin it up somewhere with your record sheet next to it. You need to be able to see them easily.
Review Progress and Redefine Goals
Stretch yourself, but not so much that it takes all the fun out of doing the thing you want. Every week or month, see how you went. If you keep failing your goals, redefine them to be more do-able. This week you write three days a week, next week you can decide to do more.
The Final Goal
You should now have a writing goal and know what to do, when and where you will do it and how you will measure success.
Promise Yourself and Keep it
When time is short and everyone wants some of yours, it’s easy to break a promise you’ve made “only” to yourself. Your future happiness depends upon keeping this promise, so tell everyone around you — in advance — about your commitment, which means you won’t be available on these days at these times. Be specific.
Every day, every week, every month, every year — whenever you meet your goals –celebrate.
What are Your Writing Goals?
Leave a comment and tell us about them
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