Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Goal Making Time

It’s January which seems like the perfect time to focus on writing goals for the year. Every December I jot down what I hope to achieve in the months ahead.

Last year I hung a bulletin board (see photo above) in my office. I write the name of each writing project/goal on index cards and attach them to it.

I pin my ‘want to do’ on the left hand side and on the right, projects that are done and out there circulating. Some of the index cards contain titles of my WIPS. Many are carry-overs from the year before. Most are new projects I want to start and hopefully I’ll finish.

Did you set writing goals this year? Here are some tips that have worked for me.

Write Them Down
Just like me, get a bulletin board or at least a notebook and write down your goals. Make sure it’s somewhere close by so they’re always in view and a constant reminder of what you want to achieve.

Check Them Often
Make a note to look through your list on regular basis, mark it down on the calendar if you need to. That way you can track your progress.

Tell Others
Do you belong to a writer’s group? Have a critique partner? Even a non-writing spouse or friend who’s willing to help you? I’ve found if you share your goals with someone you’re more likely to stick with them. A side tip here, ask them to check on your progress and to make you accountable for getting them done.

Reward Yourself
Did you achieve one of your goals? If so, how are you rewarding yourself? A bar of chocolate, an evening at the cinema. Rewards, no matter how small can motivate you.

What Went Wrong?
Don’t count on failing but be prepared to readjust and reset your goals now and then. Why didn’t you achieve a goal, was it lack of time, lack of motivation? Did the plot seem to go nowhere? Sometimes just thinking about why something isn’t working is enough to get things in motion again.

Set A Deadline
For me, goals only work if they have a time limit. For example, I want to send my historical novella out to the first publisher by Feb 1st. Time limits give goals more urgency.

Susan Palmquist is a freelance writer and author of four novels. Her latest, Sleeping with Fairies was published in December by Lyrical Press. Susan has a monthly blog at Between the Pages, called Susan Palmquist Interviews. Find out more about her at


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