How to Set a Writing Goal (aka, how to get a book written)

It’s September, the first of the BER months, the last part of the year, for the self employed, it’s the fourth quarter.

I’ve never liked using January as my goal setting, start over month. There’s something about it that says pressure.

I can’t remember exactly when, but I’m now using September as the start of the new year. Time for me to sit down and plan my writing goals for the upcoming year, but especially the fourth quarter.

Without goals, you’re going no where. I always tell my students that it’s a bit like leaving the house, knowing you want to go someplace but not knowing where exactly or even how to get there. It sounds like fun, it sounds mysterious but it can also be scary and you end up turning around and heading for the safety of home.

Your novel can get sidetracked just like this unknown journey.

Sit down and start planning out what you want to do and how you plan to do it.

For example, I knew that I wanted to write the next book in my Kalispell Shifters series. It’s the first time I’ll be self publishing a story in that series so I had no deadline. I also have no editor telling me, edits need to be handed back by so and so date.

With goals, I like to work backwards. I know I want to release this title the week of Thanksgiving.

I’ve set the goal to have my first draft written by September 30th. The blurb and cover created by mid October. My second draft ready to e-mail to the freelance editor I work with, by the October 15th which will give me plenty of time to format the manuscript and get it ready for uploading on the 22/23rd of November.

I also know that to keep on track for all these mini-goals, I need to work on the manuscript for at least an hour a day and if I skip a weekday then I need to make up for it during the weekend.

You can work on any goal just like this, breaking it down, setting yourself a deadline, giving yourself consequences if the work doesn’t get done.

If up till now, you’ve just said I want to write a book and haven’t gotten very far, give this method a try and see how things go.

I’d love to hear what happens.

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