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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Stick to It: Tips to Help You Stick with Your Writing Goals



It’s the start of a new year and most writers are thinking about New Year’s resolutions and writing goals. But like New Year’s resolutions, writing goals seem to be made to be broken. A few weeks into January and you’re already falling behind on what you planned to accomplish.

It looks like this will be another year filled with disappointments and unobtainable dreams.

No, not this year!

You’re going to focus on your writing goals, pat yourself on the back when you accomplish what you had set out to do, and make this year your most productive one yet.

Here’s how.

Write a Business Plan

While it would be nice if you could concentrate solely on the creative side of writing, the reality is that writing is a business and must be treated as such.

Write up a business plan that describes your mission and provide details on how you will achieve it. You can use this business plan to set your goals.

Post your business plan in your work area where it is easily visible. This will help motivate and encourage you to move forward.

Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals

One of the things I talk about in my Organize Your Writing Life workshop is the need to set goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely; otherwise known as S.M.A.R.T. goals.

Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals is vital to your productivity. Goals that are too vague, unrealistic, or immeasurable can only increase your chances of failure. You quickly become discouraged, begin to procrastinate, and soon abandon your writing goals.

Don’t let that happen to you!

Take the time to set up S.M.A.R.T. goals from the start. For more about S.M.A.R.T. goals you can read this article - http://time-management.writer2writer.com/falling-in-love-with-smart-goals-.htm

Break Down Your Goals

Once you have your S.M.A.R.T. goals in place, you need to break them down into smaller more manageable chunks.

Write out a weekly to-do list so that you can chop away at your goals one step at a time. Make sure you review this list daily, check off what you accomplished, and make a plan for what you’ll work on the next day.

Reward Your Accomplishments

Maybe it sounds like you’re in dog obedience class now, but rewards are important to helping you stick with your goals. If you’ve had a productive month, don’t be afraid to treat yourself to something special.

I’ve treated myself to manicures, massages, and new clothes after a month of plowing through my to-do lists. Whatever you decide to do, make it memorable and consider taking a picture so that you can hang it next to your business plan to motivate you to keep going.

Don’t Over Commit

This has been a lesson I’ve learned the long, hard way. You are only one person and there are only so many hours in the day. You can’t do it all by yourself.

There is no shame in learning to say “no”.

It’s not always easy, but if you want to have a balance between your personal and professional lives, it’s a must. For more on learning to say “no”, you can read this article - http://time-management.writer2writer.com/learning-to-say-no-.htm.

Ask for Help and Support

Writing can be a lonely business. Tied to your computer for hours on end—which I don’t recommend for health reasons—you don’t have the opportunity to interact with others. And let’s face it, no one really understands what you’re going through except another writer.

Don’t be afraid to ask family and friends for help. Whether it is to finish household chores or to run errands, family and friends will be eager to help out if it means you’ll be able to spend time together later.

Support from other writers will help keep you motivated and eager to work toward accomplishing your goals. Consider joining a local writers group. If there isn’t one, there are plenty of online writing communities that offer various types of support to writers. Most of the writers I know, I have met online, and they are some of the best folks around when it comes to supporting me during all kinds of weather.

Armed with these tools, you have what you need to stick to your writing goals all year long. You have the power to make your writing dreams come true. Use it!

© Cheryl Malandrinos- All Rights Reserved


Cheryl Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. A founding member of Musing Our Children, Ms. Malandrinos is also Editor in Chief of the group’s quarterly newsletter, Pages & Pens.

Cheryl is a Tour Coordinator for Pump Up Your Book, a book reviewer, and blogger. Little Shepherd is her first children’s book. Ms. Malandrinos lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two young daughters. She also has a son who is married.

You can visit Cheryl online at http://ccmalandrinos.com/  or the Little Shepherd blog at http://littleshepherdchildrensbook.blogspot.com/.

5 comments:

J. Aday Kennedy's A Writing Playground said...

I'm trying to scale back this year and buckle down. Your article is timely & helpful.
Blessings,
J. Aday Kennedy
The Differently-Abled Writer & Speaker
Children's Author of Klutzy Kantor & Marta's Gargantuan Wings available at

Pen and Ink said...

Great article Cheryl.
I passed it to the group.
Thank you
The Management at Pen and Ink

Cheryl said...

Thanks. I'm glad you found it helpful.

Cheryl

NancyCL said...

Wonderful article, Cheryl!

Cheryl said...

Thanks Nancy.

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