A New Year for Setting New Writing Goals & Dreams

A New Year for Setting New Writing Goals & Dreams

A New Year for Setting New Writing Goals & Dreams
Photo by Christopher Chan

A New Year for Setting New Writing Goals & Dreams

With the start of the new year officially in session, it's time to make sure your new writing goals are set. If you've been following me for a while, you'll know that I always recommend having a plan ahead of time. It just helps us to build that momentum we need to get to the next step.

Whenever I wait until the last minute to do things, I'm always stressed out. And sometimes things just don't get done at all. We can't have that when it comes to our writing goals. We need to keep moving forward so we can live a fulfilling life through our writing passion.

Why is it a good idea to consider your goals ahead of time? It’s a good idea so that as soon as the new year (or month) rolls around, you can get a jump start on working toward your goals. If you wait until after the first to work on defining your goals, you increase the risk of not being able to build the momentum you need to keep going forward.

But since the new year has already started, now is the next best time to define and set our new writing goals. The good news is that there is still time to consider them. They don't need to be written in stone. And you can change them at any time, and add new ones.

So, what do you want to achieve this year?

Think about everything that you want to accomplish this month as well as the next 11 months. Make a list and then rate each goal based on your level of desire to accomplish it. Once you've determined your top goal, write out all of the small goals that you will have to accomplish in order to accomplish that goal.

For instance, if you want to write a book this year, how much work do you need to do? Do you want the first draft written by the end of the year or do you want it publishable (meaning you’ll have to work on revisions this year, too)?

That answer will affect your answers for the following questions:

  • What is your daily, weekly, monthly word count goals?

  • When do you need to start revisions?

  • How much time will you need to set aside to focus on the above?

When estimating the time you need, be sure to give yourself enough time. Rushing through the writing and editing processes will result in mediocre material.

So, how much time will you allow to accomplish your daily, weekly, and monthly goals?

Once you determine how much time you need to accomplish your goals, block out time on your planner. For instance, pick a time you can easily stick to and then write at that time every day (or however often you've decided to schedule your writing sessions).

How high should your new writing goals be?

There’s a fine line between aiming too high and aiming just high enough. Most writers work full-time and write in the mornings, evenings, or during their lunch breaks. Because of that, writing for 8 hours a day is virtually impossible. I say “virtually” because it can be done, but it would come at a sacrifice to our health. If we try it, we’ll burn out too quickly.

Focus on what you can do. How much time can you reasonably devote to your writing?

While we need to be realistic so that we don't become discouraged, we need to recognize that this is a mindset issue. Writing 50,000 words in a month isn't difficult. Writers have been participating in National Novel Writing Month since 1999. It's just under 1,670 words a day.

So, you can easily write a complete first draft within a month or two. After that, put your manuscript aside for a couple weeks so you can get back to it with fresh eyes. In the meantime, start your next novel.

Once you've given your manuscript enough time to marinade, get back to it and focus on revisions for the next month or two. Five months from your start date, you'll have a complete manuscript ready to submit and another one on the way.

What are YOUR new writing goals this year?

Jody Calkins
Follow Me
Latest posts by Jody Calkins (see all)