Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Goals & Dreams

Moira Allen talks about setting effective writing goals. She suggests that since writing is an unstructured working environment, a good way to be productive is to set goals.

However, since we’re all different in what we want, time we have, and dedication to our craft, Allen says, “To be effective, goals should meet three criteria: They should be measurable, meaningful, and attainable.

She also points out that goals are separate from dreams.

“Goals, by the way, are not the same as dreams. While you may yearn to become a six-figure novelist who regularly guests on Oprah, that's not a goal. It's a dream -- and the only way you'll achieve that dream is by setting measurable goals that will take you toward that dream, one step at a time.”

One of the changes I’ve made lately is to stop obsessing over word count. You’ll notice I’ve taken my word meter off the sidebar. Instead of worrying about word count, my goals consist of time spent on my writing. Publication may be my dream, but the real reason I ever started writing was because I enjoy it. I don’t want to lose that.

So, I’m curious. What is your dream? And, what goals have you set to achieve that dream?

Some links:
Goal Setting: Powerful Written Goals In 7 Easy Steps
Writing: Option or Objective - Setting Realistic Writing Goals
Setting Goals for Your Writing Career
Are You Achieving Your Writing Goals?
Goals Are Worthless If...
Setting Reasonable Writing Goals - (Or don't do what I do, do what I say...)
How to Get There from Here: The Magic of Goals
Goal Planning for Optimal Enjoyment


Melissa Marsh said...

My dream: to make my living as a published novelist.

My goals: write and submit, write and submit!

redchurch said...

My dream: To spread stories far and wide.

My goal: To self-publish and have a blast with the PR campaign.

pepektheassassin said...

hehehe. I got fired once from teaching at a private school because I was "too unstructured and undisciplined," for their tastes.

Yeah, writing is a KICK! My dream is to become structured and disciplined enough someday (time is running out!) to polish and send off a couple of novels I have finished, a couple of picture books and a chapbook, a biography, and a book of, if I can just figure out what GOALS to set to get there....

redchurch, self-publishing is really expensive, I think. Maybe your first GOAL should be MONEY! Lots of MONEY.

Darren said...

My dream is to find my own voice, and published be damned.

My goal is to knock out a polished chapter a week (1000-2000 words), by working EVERY DAY!!! That may seem like a small goal to some people, but not to me.

I'd get a real kick out of being published, but it's so far in front of me it's out of sight.

redchurch said...


Doing a small print run is not that expensive. And I'm not terribly inspired by the submission process, nor getting a pathetic 8-15% and possibly losing the rights to the novel, or handing over subsidiary rights, or having the novel go out of print and the publisher deciding not to reprint. Etc. Etc.

I see self-publishing as a fun biz challenge. The traditional "get published" route is just a quick signing away of all rights and independence on the narrow off-chance that the publisher can (or would even bother) to push the work into the spotlight.

I don't write to be a footnote in somebody else's catalog.

I'll be my own catalog. :)

Besides, I love business in addition to writing fiction, so this is killing two birds with one stone--doing two things I love.

Nienke said...

Some people have been very successful in self-publishing. The 'rage' has to start somewhere...
There's always

Bren said...

I loved this post. I've been doing a lot of thinking about goals lately and this hit the spot. I enjoyed following the links. Thanks for posting them.

My dream: To make a good living writing novels

My goal: To finish this novel by October, start submitting it while working on the next one.

Smaller goal: To write 1,000 words/day.

Meg Allison said...

My dream: To make a decent living at writing.

My goal: To finish one story at a time and keep submitting.

Speaking of stories, my *baby* finally has a cover. (GGG)

Come check it out -- I'm so excited!

Nienke said...

Bren: sounds like you're in a good place as far as goals and motivation goes. Good for you!
Meg: Congratulations! I'll be right over.

Heather Dawn Harper said...

Great advice.

And I ditched the word meter after my computer crashed twice and I'd lost my work.

Nienke said...

Heather: that sucks. Hope you didn't lost too much. I just figure it's about writing and writing well. There is no deadline - I have enough of those at work!

Michelle said...

My dream: to be a bestselling historical romance author and to quit my day job.

My goals: Write 2 full books a year and constantly improve my craft.

Pearl said...

You on Moira's list too? :)

Those are some good goal links. I'll check them out.

KyrinTethron said...

I found a pretty interesting and straightforward article on dreams and how forcefully they're neutralized by those who think they're trying to protect you: