By Jennifer Blanchard
Now that you’re on the path to accepting personal responsibility for your procrastinating actions, you can begin to change your behaviors. It all starts with asking yourself one question:
What do I want to achieve?
What are your writing goals? What outcome do you desire to get from writing? What are your writing dreams?
Your first step to achieving your goals is knowing what they are. Take a minute and write down the writing goals you want to achieve. Maybe you want to complete a novel. Maybe you want to enter a fiction contest. Maybe you just want to earn some income from your writing.
Whatever your goals are, write them down.
Next, you want to make sure that each goal is SMART:
- Specific–Make sure your goals are specific. Don’t just say “I want to write a novel.” Say, “I want to write a 300-page romance novel.” Or “I want to sell an article to Women’s Health.” The more specific, the better.
- Measurable–Having a specific goal also makes the goal measurable. Three hundred pages or writing for Women’s Health magazine are two very measurable goals.
- Attainable–Anything is attainable if you set your mind to it and work hard, but if you’re just starting out in your writing career, you want to make sure you’re not setting the bar too high, otherwise you might burnout before you reach your goal. I suggest starting with a small goal, such as writing a novel, and work into the larger goals, such as getting published or finding an agent.
- Realistic–Just like the goal being attainable, the goal should also be realistic. And my definition of “realistic” is something that’s believable for you. So if you don’t believe you can actually get a publisher (even though you can) then don’t make that one of your goals. You want your goals to be something you can truly believe in. Remember, believing is 90 percent of achieving.
- Timed–Although it doesn’t have to be a short timeframe, you want to make sure your goals are timed in some way, otherwise you could end up chasing the same goal for years without reaching the finish line. Here’s a good example, when I decided to write my first novel, I gave myself a three-month deadline. Choose a deadline that works for you when setting your writing goals. Maybe finishing your novel can happen in three months, but finding a publisher might take a year.
Next comes the most important part of reaching your goals: Making writing a priority.
If writing is important to you, you need to make time for it.
It’s as simple as that. Writing has to be a priority.
If you want to achieve any of your writing goals, you need to accept the responsibility for writing being a priority.
Think of your writing career as a cute little puppy (like the one pictured above). In order for it to grow and become an adult, you need to take care of it. You have to feed it. You have to take it for walks. You have to play with it. You have to give it water. You have to train it.
For you to be a successful pet owner, your pet has to be a priority.
For you to be a successful author (or writer), you need to make writing a priority. You can’t skip it because you’re tired. Or because your favorite TV show is on. Or because you’d rather do something else.
So…what are you committed to?
Ed. Note: This is part three in a three-part series on Making Writing a Priority. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any great posts to come. And if you missed part one: What Are You Losing By Procrastinating? or part two: Learn to Accept Responsibility for Your Choices and Actions, be sure to read them.