Setting Achievable Writing Goals

The process of writing a book can be frustrating, to say the least. There’s the initial stage when you just write and tell everyone you know you’re working on a book, “the next great South African novel” or something. Next comes planning and mulling over how many drafts or even which direction to take the story. It’s often said that discipline is the most important part of writing a novel, and setting writing goals is right up there with discipline. By setting attainable and realistic writing goals, writers can stay motivated to outline, draft, edit, and revise their work daily, monthly, and annually.

Goals can help you identify what you want and make a plan to achieve it. The book you’ve always dreamed of writing could never be finished without goals to keep you focused and on track. To write a novel, you need more than just a plan; you also need to outline the steps you’ll take.  

By setting smart goals, such as daily page and word counts, you will incrementally progress toward completing your novel. This will make big projects easier to handle. As a guide to helping you along your writing journey, we’ve outlined five steps below:

I. SET REALISTIC GOALS

Goals that are unrealistic will be unachievable and overwhelming. If you are passionate about finishing your novel, don’t push yourself too hard and set unrealistic goals. It might not be reasonable to set a goal of writing your novel within one month, for instance. It is not a good idea to set a word-count goal of writing 10 000 words a day if you are also working a full-time job. The sooner you set reasonable goals, the easier it will be for you in the long run.

You can achieve your writing goals one day at a time by setting daily goals. Instead of burning yourself out early with ambitious expectations, create daily habits that will help you achieve your goals. Here are some goals that many writers will set for themselves:

  • Write 1 500 words every day
  • Making use of writing journal
  • Using writing tools or templates

II. SET MEASURABLE GOALS

In the absence of clear goals, you will be unable to track your progress. However, if your goals are more specific, you’ll know when you’ve accomplished them. You can check off your accomplishments as you go if you create goals you can track. In addition to helping you develop daily writing habits, this will help you develop smaller goals that will pay off in the long run.

In the absence of clear goals, you will be unable to track your progress. However, if your goals are more specific, you’ll know when you’ve accomplished them. You can check off your accomplishments as you go if you create goals you can track. In addition to helping you develop daily writing habits, this will help you develop smaller goals that will pay off in the long run.

Tracking writing goals is easier when they are defined by numbers or deadlines. A good example is setting a goal of writing at least a certain number of words every day, and then checking in at the end of each month to see how it went. Alternatively, you could plan to have a certain number of pages by a certain date.

Set a deadline for the completion of your project. You might want to finish by the end of the year, or you might want to finish in a specific number of months. Give yourself a reasonable amount of time each day to work on a small piece, and you might be able to finish your manuscript by the end of the year.

III. TRACK PROGRESS

No matter what kind of writing project you do – be it a fiction novel, a set of short stories, or a non-fiction book – you will write thousands of words and perhaps hundreds of pages. Keep track of your progress. The closer you get to completing your first draft and crossing the finish line, the more likely you are to succeed.

You can easily track your goals by using a calendar. Mark off your goals as you go on each day. Keeping a journal can also help you keep track of your progress. Sometimes, you find that your goals are too ambitious, or not ambitious enough. In some cases, you may find that you don’t have the time to write every day as you thought. In order to meet your needs, you can modify or write new goals along the way.

IV. ACCOUNTABILITY

Making your goals a priority is necessary if you want to achieve them. Unless you do, you’ll find every excuse not to achieve them, and you’ll lose sight of your long-term goals. Finally, you will have the opportunity to learn time-management skills and become an author.

Your schedule should be evaluated to determine where and when you will write each day. To achieve your daily goal, you should be fully focused and time-bound during this planned writing period.

V. MOTIVATION

Every author has a different reason for writing. When you’re feeling like you can’t write anymore, tapping into your passion will motivate you. You don’t want to halt your writing career because of writer’s block.

As you work toward your long-term goals, consider incorporating a reward system to motivate yourself. A good example would be to tell yourself that if you write every day for a month, you will buy yourself something nice. Depending on how many words you write, you can also give yourself a day off.

Whenever you feel down or need inspiration to write, listen to a writing podcast, read blogs written by people who are working on their own projects, or watch videos of authors at writing conferences. Seeing how other writers have achieved their writing goals can inspire you to do the same. From good writers, you can learn a lot about setting effective writing goals and becoming a better writer. In addition, you can find local groups of writers who can serve as a support network throughout the writing process.

Check out our shop for some writing tools to get you started on the next great South African story!

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    A team of individuals with a range of skills all working for their mutual love of literature.

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