Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Setting Goals

Setting Goals, the most important thing a writer can do (besides writing of course.)

If you’re like me, you sometimes place goals as second or third on your list. I can’t help it, I have a son to tend to first and foremost and making him set goals is as important as me setting goals.

Okay maybe I need to be more clear here. Setting WRITING goals is front and center in a Writer’s life. You need to be clear as to where you are going and what you want to accomplish.

If writing a story is your goal, then set out to make it the best story possible. Day one, you will free write. Allow the keyboard to take on a ghostlike feature and just type away until your fingers hurt. Remember turn the internal editor off first, then type.

Day two of your writing goal will be to peek in on what you wrote. (This is where we usually begin talking to the screen and saying, "EGADS, did I make THAT many mistakes?") You may go over your work and fix all the red squiggly lines. Try not to edit too much at this point.

Day three, peek in again at what you wrote. (This is where you might say, "Sheesh did I write that?") If that’s the case let it settle a little longer. But while it is settling, think of markets that you’d like to send it to. Get a clear vision of what you wrote in your mind and think markets!

Have you gotten a market in mind? Well now you need to revise the piece! Revise it three to five times, hopefully with a workshop (like the great ones in WVU) or a yahoo group, of course. And make the piece shine. If it is 1,000 words or less this will be easier. If it is a short story, then you’ll obviously need more time. If it is a novel, it is still a good idea to have a clear marketable place in mind.

Goals are important in life. It is like a highway that is placed in our journey. We ride with the flow of traffic but if we didn’t have an occasional red light or off-ramp, we would keep driving aimlessly into the blazing sun. The road will then take on the mirage of melting wax, and you may get lost along the way, swimming in a pool of the unknown.

In writing we need to know where we are headed. Setting goals is the perfect way to absorb the clear idea you have in mind. "Where do I want to go with my writing?" After you know where it is that you want to go, make plans to get there. Whenever you are headed out on a long journey, what is it you do first? PLAN the trip first, setting a direct goal and the finishing outcome in mind, then you leave, hopefully not forgetting anything or you’ll have to start all over again on the journey.

Is your goal to become published? Do what is necessary to get you from point A to point B. Point C is reaping the rewards of all your hard work. It’s the relaxing part where you sit back in the luxury of a deserted island drinking Mai Tai’s and basking in all the glory.

Okay, that’s a fantasy for Mr. King. For us realistic souls, we go back to the writing board and begin the journey all over again!

Happy Writing! ~ joni


Anonymous said...

Great thoughts on goal setting. I'm one of those. My mother taught me that setting goals isn't about checking off a list. It's about taking inventory of all that you want to accomplish and all that you can accomplish. At the end of the day, week, month or year, you look back and realize how well you've used your time. Life really is short.
when I look back I think how much I've gotten out of life. It makes me feel good, like I've made good use of my time.


joni said...


Making good use of your time means that when we're finished here we can look back and say, "I'm ready to go home." And know in our hearts that we accomplished what we had intended.

Thanks for visiting Raven! :-D


June said...

Setting writing goals should be part of every writer's life.

I usually do mine at the end of each year for the following year. I try to review my goals every couple of months to see that I'm on track. Some years I've printed them out and put them near my laptop.

I usually write long and short terms goals. I also make them achieveable and stated in a way that I know if I've met my goal or not.

All our plans can change and I use the review points to see if I want to modify my goals.

Well done, Joni!

Take care,