From Sarah, With Joy

*Poet * Author * Wanderluster*

Monday, April 8, 2013

G is for Goals

Ya know, there is so much associated with that word, goals. I think in large part its pretty positive, but I also think for many of us its full of pressure and anxiety and feelings of guilt and impossibility. I don't think it needs to be that way.

There are lots and lots of things we're working on in all areas of our lives, but we're just gonna focus on writing here. I think the negative side of our feelings about setting goals comes because of the goals we set themselves. It just doesn't work when we make goals about things we're not in control of, or things that are beyond anyone's control. So today I want to talk about three areas for writing goals that we can control.

1. Putting Down Words: This is the most important area. I think its more nebulous and pressure-ful to just say, "I'll have this done by this date." Deadlines are good, yes, but I think its more helpful on a day-to-day level to make the goal more about a certain number of words a day. 2000 a day if you're Steven King, maybe more like 500-1000 for us more normal people. That way you're making progress every day, and if you miss or fall short one day, you still know what you need to do tomorrow.

2. Submitting: By this I mean querying agents, submitting to literary magazines, applying for freelance gigs, all that good stuff. Its not in our control to make goals like "Have an agent by this date" or "get published by my birthday" or anything like that. Its just not something we can control. But we can make goals like do one query/submission a day, or three a week or something like that. That we can control.

3. Networking: I think this one stresses people out more than anything. There are just SO many websites and social networks out there and SO many things we feel like we should be doing to market our books. I think it can become a lot less nebulously anxiety inducing when we make some concrete goals. I like to use a spreadsheet of all the networks I use and what my goals is for each day. So for example, on Monday a blog post, commenting on three new blogs, two tweets and a picture on Tumblr. When you break it down like that, you can turn your social media stress in to like, fifteen minutes a day.

Well there you have it. Three writer goals that I think can be made pretty manageable for just about anyone, and that really are in our control most of the time. Do you think these are manageable goals? Any others you would add to this list?

Sarah Allen


  1. They're not so much goals as the job spec for a writer - writing, submitting and networking all have a pretty equal focus, and you'll have more of a change of succeeding if you do all three!

  2. More of a chance... I knew I'd made a typo, but couldn't see it lol

  3. Keep it simple then sit the butt down and do it. Perfect.

  4. I would add working with a critique group - you learn so much from what other people write and how they see your writing. Great post.

  5. It is a day by day thing with me.

  6. Whoa - you can create a blog post in fifteen minutes? Okay, someone explain to me what I'm doing wrong.

  7. sounds good, but you really do have to commit to doing them or else you're just wasting time

    hope you have a sweet day.

  8. Goals make dreams happen. I do agree with you on #2. Having a goal like getting an agent or published by a certain date is out of our control. It's like getting married. You can put in all the effort, but when it comes down to it, there is someone else who has a say in the matter. The only thing we can control are writing, querying, and networking, among others of course. Great post!

  9. Goals are very important. Thanks, because it's always something to remember!

  10. I like what you have written, especially #2. It implies ownership of one's future, defining success in your own terms.

  11. Sometimes my goals are as simple as: write more than one word, be thankful, and don't forget to breathe at some point.

    Your goals are awesome! I completely admire your ambition :)


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