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Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Goals and Success

I've been thinking over the last few days about goals. Somebody commented recently (sorry, I can't remember who) about meeting their writing goals. I was impressed that they actually had writing goals. I mean, I have goals, but they are huge things - publish a novel, sell more short stories, etc. The comment reminded me that goals need to be broken down and written down, and they need to be flexible.

Publishing a novel is a great thing to aim for, but what are all the steps to getting there? I can't just sit down one morning and say to myself, "Today, I am going to write a novel." I think that has been most of my problem lately. I get up every morning with the need to write, but it is such an abstract thing.

Og Mandino said, "The victory of success is half won when one gains the habit of setting goals and achieving them. Even the most tedious chore will become endurable as you parade through each day convinced that every task, no matter how menial or boring, brings you closer to fulfilling your dreams."

So to be successful as a writer I need to set more concrete goals. They can be things like writing a certain number of words each day, making a daily entry on my blog, editing previous work for a certain amount of time. It always seems by breaking down the dream into smaller puzzle pieces, things start to fit together and pretty soon, the bigger picture starts to emerge.

So my achievable goal for today is that I am going to come up with a list of concrete little goals to hang near my computer and refer to every time I get distracted by the bigger picture. And like Mandino says, my success will be half won by the goals I set and achieve. What kind of smaller goals do you set for yourself to keep you going?

12 comments:

Karlene said...

Stephanie, Do you know about latterdayauthors.com? It's a wonderful forum, but the best part about it is they occasionally sponsor a virtual BIAM (Book in a Month) writers retreat. They are really fun and help keep me focused. I find I write almost every day during the BIAMs, although I haven't yet finished a book in a single month.

I think the next one is in September.

Stephanie said...

I'll check it out Karlene, thanks for the suggestion. I did the Nanowrimo last November and finished a book that I am trying to revise now.

Aneeka said...

I have a writing goal that I have to reach each day, either being amount of words or, if I'm revising, the amount of chapters. I find that I progress better when I can see the small little steps being achieved each day :)

I also set monthly goals, word counts that I'd really like to meet in a month. I keep it just a little above my usual average in order to push me a little harder.

And of course, if I reach the monthly goal, I go celebrate. Whee!

Stephanie said...

Reaching the goal is great, but celebrating is my favourite part.

Shanna Blythe said...

You so right. Setting smaller concrete goals is very helpful. I'm trying to do that right now, but not having much success.

Thanks for the reminder!

Tristi Pinkston said...

I love how you said "setting concrete little goals" to keep yourself from worrying about the big picture. It's the whole thing about eating an elephant one bite at a time -- and it feels so good to set those goals. I'd recommend monitoring how much you tend to get done now, and then setting your goal just slightly higher. If you're writing 1000 words a week, shoot for 1250 -- and that stretch will make the accomplishment feel so wonderful.

Stephanie said...

Thanks for the advice Tristi.

Annette Lyon said...

Another idea--have a reward, even if it's small. For some time I had a cannister of individually wrapped truffles in my office, and I could have one each time I reached a word count or daily writing goal. It was amazing how the motivation to get that little piece of chocolate kept my fingers typing!

Stephanie said...

I love the reward idea, but I should probably think of something other than chocolate, since I really should eat better. On the other hand, what is as motivating as getting a piece of chocolate...hmmmm...

Karen Hoover said...

The only problem is making yourself eat the chocolate AFTER the effort, rather than before . . . .

ali said...

Stephanie, I really appreciated this post. I'm behind, I see, on your postings - you've been busy! - but glad I went back to read what I'd missed.

I don't have any writing goals. I am a bad, bad girl. I need to take myself and my writing a whole lot more seriously.

Thanks for the kick in the pants!

Stephanie said...

Not a "bad, bad girl", but just distracted by day to day life like the rest of us?

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