Tag: writing goals

writing goals

3 Tips for Restoring Broken Writing Goals

“I ask again, ‘What are your Writing Goals?’ Now sit down and write them out and put them where you can see them every day,”  (Lynette Hall Hampton, Writer to Writer, pp. 9)

In the sum of the writing resources I’ve read, the importance of setting writing goals is a common theme. Advice for would-be authors often includes a call to set your goals, make a plan to achieve them, and to stick with that plan. But what do we do with the plans we don’t stick to? How do we deal with the goals we’ve neglected so often that they’ve fallen to the wayside and shattered? What do we do with our broken writing goals?

My Problem Child

After reading the third chapter of Writer to Writer, I sat down to make my list of goals, like I’ve done so many times in the past few years. As is my habit, I started to write, “Finish editing Clouded Skies,” and I stopped before the pen hit the paper. In that moment, I knew this list would be meaningless for me.

You see, I finished writing my first book, Clouded Skies, five years ago. Then I went to college, and my goal of editing the book ended up on the shelf. It sat there, collecting dust, despite the many, many to-do lists with “edit Clouded Skies” written across the top. Finishing my first book was scribbled on every set of New Year’s resolutions and every list of plans for the summer. I set myself multiple deadlines of when I’d have it done, all of which passed without notice. Until recently, I never got past editing chapter four.

And because the book sat on the shelf for so long, the goal of finishing it came to feel less and less achievable.

My Realization

I realized this week that our goals are promises we make to ourselves, and when we break those promises, we break our own trust. In neglecting my goals, I began to doubt my abilities and commitment as a writer because I’d created a pattern of ignoring what I claimed was important.

And I’m sure I’m not the only one. When life’s busy seasons hit full-force, it can become easy to believe that our goals belong on the back-burner. If we give into that temptation, we chip away at our confidence in our calling. Broken writing goals can damage our relationship with our writing voice, and like in any relationship, that damaged trust has to be rebuilt little by little.

So how do we restore our broken writing goals?

1. Put down the list—

If you’re like me and you’re dealing with goals you’ve neglected, stop writing them down. Stop talking about them. Even stop picturing them as goals. As counter-intuitive as it seems, I found that talking about my neglected project made it feel like an item on my bucket list. Finishing my book became a nebulous idea rather than a goal of substance–an idea trapped in the realm of “someday”.

So rather than viewing your project as a goal, view it as a priority. Let it become a normalized part of your life, like cooking dinner or doing laundry. Stop talking about your goal as a dream; instead, treat it as a reality.

2. Embrace imperfection—

Another issue that kept me procrastinating was my belief that my book had to be perfect. The fear that my book would never be as good as I believed it could be was crippling . . . until I made the decision that it’s worth the risk.

In writing, just like in life, sometimes being present is far more important than being perfect. Showing up, shaping the words, and sending them out guarantees growth if nothing else. So allow yourself room to make mistakes and go get started.

3. Take action—

Start small. Maybe it’s setting an appointment with yourself to write five minutes a day. Perhaps it’s entering one contest. Even if you aren’t ready to start marching toward that one big goal, take small steps to complete other goals that lead up to it. Making progress on other writing-related activities proves to yourself that you are serious about this dream. It shouts that you are ready to commit and be proactive.

Bonus Tip:  Make a Plan. Stick to it–

When we’ve neglected a goal for a while, it might take some time to get back into a good rhythm. We might need to shift our approach to get the ball rolling again, but there’s no magic formula for keeping momentum once we’ve started. At the end of the day, we still have to decide to persevere. We still have to persistently move forward, choosing daily, weekly, monthly to keep striving toward the goals we feel called to reach.

But here’s the good news: a broken goal isn’t beyond repair. Even if you’re doubting yourself, the fact that the goal remains on your list is proof that you haven’t given up. You haven’t let it go.

And if you are truly called to write, then I believe that God won’t let you give up. I believe He’ll keep tugging at your heart, nudging you to follow the path He’s set before you.

What’s one way you’re striving to meet your goals today?

 


Karley Conklin is a part-time librarian, part-time writer, and full-time bookworm. On her blog http://litwyrm.com/, she discusses all sorts of literature, from poetry to picture books. Her goal is to use the power of stories to remind others of hope and joy in a world that all too often forgets both.

Navigating Your Writing Goals by Guest Blogger Penny Reeve

Have you ever stood at the edge of a road, holding the hand of a small child, getting ready to cross the road safely? You glance up the street. You look back down the other way. You take notice of the cars and the traffic lights and when all is clear and safe and your small person is ready, you head towards your destination.

Goal setting for writers can be a bit like that. You generally know the direction you are headed; you need this or that manuscript to be researched/written/edited/revised/submitted and so forth. But pinpointing the goals into language and tasks that make them manageable and successful can be a little tricky. Sometimes the oncoming traffic of our to-do list feels overwhelming, or the rejection truck swerves closer than we would like, tipping us off balance. Occasionally we can even find ourselves standing still, lost and unsure of the direction we should be heading and why.

Because of this, it can be helpful to slow down and carefully navigate our way forwards in regards to our writing goals. Here are four directions we need to look in order to prioritise our writing goals for 2020:

  • Look Back

Looking back is remembering our writing dreams and reflecting on the progress we’re made so far. We can celebrate our writing achievements and be kind with our disappointments. Even a rejection can indicate progress if it means we’re putting in the hard work and growing as writers! Looking back allows us to deliberately build on last year’s progress and provides powerful motivation for our new year’s writing goals.

  • Look Ahead

Looking ahead as a writer means thinking strategically about what we’d like, or need, to achieve in the New Year (and beyond). It means realistically considering what might be achievable (for example: write a children’s devotional, or complete my middle grade novel), but it can also mean allowing yourself to dream. This is especially important if you’ve had a tough year writing wise.
Looking ahead allows us to create goals that move our writing forwards.

  • Look Down

Looking down means checking what’s already on our writing desks. Literally, this may mean doing a clean-up. Clear your physical and mental space for new projects. Sort the paperwork, tidy your desk, flick through your ideas notebook and choose the fun ones you’d like to work on this year. Looking down also means checking the status of your works-in-progress. It ensures us there’s nothing in our way to trip us up as we step out to achieve our writing goals.

  • Look Up

Looking up means reminding ourselves of God’s perspective. It’s so easy to get swept away in the try-harder mentality, or to be discouraged because our writing dreams haven’t turned out as we might have liked. But when we remember Christ and the extent of his humility and love (Philippians 2: 5-11) it reminds us that our writing is but a small thing in the scope of God’s glory. Our task is obedience. Walking humbly in step with the Spirit of God, we write as an expression of worship.

 

So as you step onto the curb of the New Year, don’t forget to look ahead, look back, look down and look up as you journey through goal setting for your writing in 2020.

 

Which direction do you find easiest to consider when setting new goals? Which one makes the most impact in your planning? Leave a comment below.

 

Invitation: If you’d like to spend some more time reflecting on your writing priorities and goals for the New Year, why not join the Summer Writer’s Refresh Facebook Group? It’s a January 2020 challenge for writers of any stage and genre, to celebrate, reassess and reflect on their writing. Join here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/summerwritersrefresh/

Penny Reeve is the award-winning author of more than 20 books for children and older readers. She lives in Sydney, Australia and writes picture books, junior fiction, children’s Bible Studies and young adult fiction (she also writes as Penny Jaye). Penny is also a writing workshop leader, conference presenter and writing coach with a particular interest in equipping children’s book writers. For more information visit www.pennyreeve.com or follow her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pennyreevethepennydrops/

 

Writing Resolutions for 2018

Have you made personal new year’s resolutions for this year? If you did, now that we’re two weeks into 2018, how many resolutions have you kept?

Have you set any new year’s resolutions for your writing? It’s not too late. Here are a few resolutions for you to consider:

 

Pray

Of course you’d expect prayer to show up on any “Christian” list of things to do, but prayer is more than something we do, it’s the basis for how we approach life. Still, when you pray writing-related prayers, what do you actually pray for? Check out this post for new ideas on how to pray for your writing.

Set goals

Yogi Berra once said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll wind up somewhere else.” Where do you want to go in your writing this year? Do you want to complete and submit a magazine article? Finish a book? Learn rhythm and rhyme? Set a goal and work toward it. December 31, 2018 will be here faster than you think!

Learn something new about your writing craft each week

Subscribe to writing blogs or newsletters. Read books on writing. Learn about your target audience—their values, culture, likes and dislikes. Whether you write fiction or non-fiction, learn nuances of your craft. A good writer never stops learning. Which leads us to another possible resolution…

Attend at least one writers’ conference

Don’t wait until you need an agent or acquisitions editor before you attend a writers’ conference. The workshops and continuing classes provide copious amounts of information to help you develop as a writer. Just as important, attending conferences provides opportunities to network with other writers and publishing professionals.

Purpose to write for at least one hour each day

I’ve yet to meet a writer who says she has more than enough time to write as she balances her other responsibilities. It’s up to us to make time to write. Get up an hour earlier. Or schedule time to write the way you would schedule other important appointments. If you can’t find an hour, carve a half hour. Whatever you do, be consistent.

Join a critique group

It’s a big step to let someone else read your writing. It’s a bigger step to allow them to critique your writing. As writers, we need to develop a thick skin and a willingness to apply constructive criticism. You can find writers groups through your local library, writers’ associations, and Word Weavers International.

A new year stretches out before us. Twelve months from now, what will you have accomplished?

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