Did you start the new year off by making New Year’s resolutions? Well, the month of January is half-way gone already, but there’s still time if you haven’t. Are you good at keeping your resolutions throughout the year or does your resolve fizzle by mid-February like mine? 😉
So this year, like I’ve done the past two years, I’ve set goals instead of making New Year’s Resolutions. And since my primary focus is enhancing and elevating my writing, my goals are centered on improving certain aspects of writing and publication.
I’ve found that when I set goals, I’m more successful at keeping them. By establishing target dates, I have something to work toward. If I don’t set dates, more than likely I won’t accomplish the task.
Below are suggestions for establishing writing and publishing goals. If you don’t have any, perhaps you can utilize these to customize your own goal-setting:
1. Set Strong Target Dates
Last year I set a target date of February 28, 2018, to finish writing the manuscript I’d been working on for two years. I missed my deadline by about a month, finishing up at the end of March instead. But had I not set a solid date to work toward, “The End” would be nowhere in sight.
If you haven’t set a date to finish your manuscript, go ahead and look at the number of pages to have left to get to your desired page count and set a date.
If you have finished your manuscript, but now need to edit it or have a professional editor do it, set a target date to get that done too. You’ll be surprised how much you’ll accomplish just by having a goal to work toward.
2. Establish Daily Writing Goals
I’m taking a Creative Writing class this semester. In his discussion on “How to Write a 70K Word Novel in One Year” our instructor, Brian W. Smith presented a technique for establishing weekly/monthly/quarterly writing goals in order to have great productivity in one year’s time.
Brian recommended writing 200 words a day which is roughly equivalent to one typed page. At that rate you will complete 1,400 words in a week; 5,600 words in a month; and 16,800 words in a quarter. Completing 16,800 words during each of the four quarters in the calendar year equals 67,200 words, just shy of reaching the goal of 72,000 which you’ll need if you’re writing a novel.
Brian also suggested that if you fail to reach your daily goal, as life sometimes gets in the way, double up the next day and so on.
1. Complete and polish your query letter.
2. Write your synopsis. Again, set target dates to accomplish both of these tasks.
3. Establish a goal to send out “X” number of query letters per month. You determine what the number is.
4. If you’re self-publishing, determine your “next” steps and move forward.
1. If you write non-fiction, you should create a website or a blog site if you don’t have one. You’ll need a landing page for prospective readers, literary agents, or editors to find you. For non-fiction writers, it’s important to show that you are knowledgeable in the area for which you are writing.
2. If you have a website or blog, but you’re not getting the traffic you’d like. Improve the appearance and functionality of your site, perhaps by purchasing a premium template or add an e-mail list builder.
3. Create Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or other social media accounts to establish your digital footprint. Link your website or blog site to those mediums so that your new posts go to them automatically.
Note: Writing experts say building a platform is not a necessary requirement for fiction writers. As a fiction writer, your book will be your strongest marketing tool. But if you have published books, you’ll certainly want to use a website to market and sell your books.
1. Plan to attend at least one large writers’ conference and/or a couple of writers’ workshops. If you plan to pitch your manuscript, you’ll need to attend a larger conference where literary agents also attend and allow pitch sessions.
2. Plan to take a Creative Writing class
3. Read, read, read. Reading expands your vocabulary, stimulates your creativity, and helps to improve your writing skills.
So, did you make New Year’s resolutions this year or did you set goals? Drop me a line. I’d love to hear from you.