One of the most polarizing distinctions in writing styles is pantsers and plotters. One, the plotter, plans out their outlines, research, etc. The pantser does none of that and simply writes the way the inspiration leads them. It’s been my experience with writers that, similarly, writers view their goals the same way. Some of us hate goals and some revel in them. (I’d bet plotters are the goal-setters too.)
I tend to be slammed right in the middle between the style of a plotter and pantser. My goal setting tends to be just about the same. I set lofty goals and make spreadsheets to map them out to give me an idea of when and what I can achieve. It makes me motivated and excited about the possibilities of my achievements. Perhaps, though, this is really all they are for me. I’ve set goals before, and they get me off to a good start. Sometimes I exceeded those goals; though, oftentimes they went out the window and I did something else entirely. But, seeing as I want to finish my first manuscript, I decided to rethink my goals for 2015.
After reviewing my 2014 year, I realized I could have written a lot more had I consistently stuck to my original routine of structuring my writing time. I got the most writing done when I stuck to blocking off my time on the good ol’ Google Calendar. For the first half of 2015, I’ve set some goals for myself using the following simple method.
- Identify your overarching goal. Ask yourself where you would like to see yourself by the end of next year. For me, I decided that I want to see my manuscript fully drafted and polished. And let’s make it simple. The very definition of a goal is the object of a person’s ambition or effort. So decide what that is for you.
- Set milestones. Understand what you need to achieve before you reach that goal. This starts with being honest with yourself about where you are with your work. Sometimes an outline helps with this, but if you’re a pantser, I doubt you’d go that route. In either case, as an artist, I mean writer, you know whether your work is finished. Do you need to research, draft, edit? What about marketing? List all of these things down, in order. Each of these are called milestones. (Milestones can be overarching goals as well. That’s for you to decide.)
- Scheduling. For each milestone, you must estimate how much time and effort it would take to reach each milestone. Again, be realistic. Don’t plan to do 6000 words in a day if you genuinely think you could only do 1000 a day. Yes, try to push yourself, but don’t set yourself up to get demotivated.
Some examples of goals and milestones are:
- Drafting 100k words for your manuscript
- Drafting 1000 words per day
- Drafting one half a chapter per day
- Drafting one scene per day
- Editing one chapter every two days
- Send 2nd draft out to beta readers
- Get 5000 legit Twitter followers
- Network and attend conferences
- Query agents
- Get your finished manuscript published
- Get a big fat paycheck for your writing
What are your goals for 2015? Let me know via Twitter @AuthorGrona!