Monday, January 3, 2011

Goal-Setting for Writers

The New Year is usually a time for reflection on the year past and making resolutions for the future. I don’t normally make resolutions (weight loss, be a better person, etc.) because I know I’ll break them immediately!

However, setting writing goals is something I’ve been doing for several years and although I don’t always meet them, it’s fun to look back and see how many I actually did get to. That helps make me feel better when I’m thinking I didn’t have a good writing year.

So, my challenge to you all is to set goals for 2011. Be specific and set dates. For example, my goals for this year:

1. Clean and organize my office first week of January
2. Plan Virtual Book Tour for February 10-20
3. Plan “reality tour” in Montana June 15-30
4. Finish first draft of WIP by August 1
5. Revise manuscript for submission by December 1

Some other suggestions might be:

1. Set a time for writing every day
2. Write 1,000 words a day (or five pages, or whatever is doable for you)
3. Find and join a good critique group
4. Make a list of potential agents and publishers to submit to
5. Send out your work

And most of all, have fun while you’re doing all this!

Happy New Year to all. I wish you writing success, happiness, and good health.

A native Montanan, Heidi M. Thomas now lives in Northwest Washington. Her first novel, Cowgirl Dreams, is based on her grandmother, and the sequel, Follow the Dream, has recently been released. Heidi has a degree in journalism, a certificate in fiction writing, and is a member of Northwest Independent Editors Guild. She teaches writing and edits, blogs, and is working on the next books in her “Dare to Dream” series.

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  1. I'm not even close to being ready for #5 of those last suggestions. I'm already doing #1 & 2. #3 is a mystery to me. I live in a small town. There isn't much call for book groups, let alone critique groups.

  2. I have a lot of those things on my To Do List, but the absolute challenge for me and therefore my #1 goal is to write 500 words a day. I wasn't very good at getting words on paper in 2010, so that's where I'm putting my focus in 2011.

  3. And resolve not to make so many resolutions that you get overwhelmed and give up on all of them. (Speaking from experience.)

  4. Except for number one and the specific dates of others, our goals are very similar. And I really do need to rearrange my work day so I write first and do other business and networking later.

  5. I have a three-day series about creating a plan over at the Little Pickle Press blog that goes neatly with this. I know what you mean about daily words, Pat. I signed up for Book-in-a-Week again because I get so much written that first week of every month.

    (Go ahead, copy and paste ;)

  6. I'm sharing your goal of writing at a specific time every day. Routine makes me happy. Boring, perhaps. But I'll take being boring if it means I can finish some of my WIPs!

  7. To write 500 words a day. Revisions and rewrites count. Blog posts do not count.

  8. Great goals! Thanks for adding your thoughts.

    Glynis, there are on-line critique groups you can join. It's so helpful to have (good, positive)feedback--writing can be a lonely endeavor!

  9. As long as you set your goals in small measurable steps, you should make progress, whether you actually achieve all of them or not. "Finish the Manuscript" is good, but calculating how many words/pages a day/week it will take to meet that goal breaks it down into measurable steps.

    Terry's Place
    Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

  10. Oh to be able to get to those 1000 words a day.....

  11. I'm working on those goals, especially on being organized. I might try setting deadlines too--that might help. I just read Sage Cohen's book The Productive Writer and she's on my blog today. I'm hoping some of her ideas will help too.


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.


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