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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Art of Goal Setting

First, I would like to thank everyone who commented on this blog regarding the Haiti donation. I am extending the time and posting much the same on one of my other blogs so check it out there as well.

But let’s get on with today’s lesson. Today, we’re talking about goal setting, what it is, why you need them and how to set them. Now, all of us have goals but maybe you don’t know that it’s a goal because you never thought of it that way. Most goals can be broken down to short term and long term. Short term goals are things you can see happening in the immediate future, usually 1 to 60 days at the most. Long term goals are items which you wish to attain within 60 days or more.

There are many different theories and ideas in regards to goal planning and at the end, I will add a few links where you can look at these BUT in essence, goal setting is just making real the things you want to do in life or in this case, your writing career. Some books talk about goals being immediate, short and long term with different time frames than I have here.


The whole idea is to make everything digestible chunks which you can manage successfully. The old adage don’t bite off more than you can chew is very true when setting goals. The only item from all the books that I adhere to 100% is the fact that if you write something down, you make it real to yourself. You see it in black and white, on the page and suddenly, it becomes tangible, something you can strive for in your life.

Let’s look at some examples of short term goals for a writer. They could be as easy as the following:

Write 1000 words per day
Take a class monthly
Commit to writing daily

True, these are simple but they are specific. They are something a person can commit to doing then do it. One problem people have with goals is that they don’t write something specific. They use the words try or might instead of action words like write and commit. Remember all the lessons you’ve had regarding passive writing? Well, the same applies for setting goals. You must be specific and your goal needs to state an action you will take.

Long terms goals are a little different because they take place over a longer period of time. Here are some examples of long terms goals for a writer:

Get a agent in 2010
Submit to an NYC publisher within six months from today (1-26-2010)
Commit to doing a daily blot in 2010

I’ve made these long term and specific in what I want to achieve and when I want to achieve them. And these are actual goals on my 2010 list. These are some of the things I will do this year. I’ve written them down and I own them.

When I was a struggling writer, meaning I wasn’t published and it was hard to motivate myself, I did things like make a dream book where I could write down all my writing goals for five years. I made a page for each year and wrote down what I wanted to do during that year. I also had a page in the beginning of the book which outlined my daily and monthly goals. These could change daily as items get completed or they evolve into something else. I also made mock covers, interviews and anything else I could think to make the writing life real to me.

I still have that book and quite frequently look at it to see how well I may or may not be doing.

Here are some links regarding goal setting:

http://www.cignabehavioral.com/web/basicsite/consumer/educationAndResourceCenter/articleLibrary/working_person11.pdf

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goal-setting_theory

http://www.mindtools.com/page6.html

http://www.goal-setting-guide.com/smart-goals.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goal_setting

But the bottom line is if you don’t write it down, it won’t be real to you. Now go and make your short and long term goal list. Let me know what you see as some of your goals and don’t hesitate to ask questions. I might not always know the answer but chances are I know someone who does.

Goal setting and planning go hand in hand which is why I will talk more in depth about planning next week.

Here’s hoping that you achieve all your daily and weekly goals! Until next week...

Lynn



2 comments:

C.R. Moss said...

good info! i like the idea of the dream book. thanks for posting this.
=)
C.

Lynn Crain said...

You're very welcome, C.R.!

Lynn

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