Last year at this time, I participated in a writer’s group led by a friend of mine. She challenged us to make goals for ourselves to grow in our writing careers. I made eleven goals for myself and promised I would do my best to achieve them. One year later, I pulled out those goals to see how far I had come. I’m happy to report I accomplished nine of them! It motivated me to make a new set of goals for 2013.
Now that I teach a writer’s group of my own, I realize how important making those goals were to my growth as a writer. I have grown exponentially in my writing style and voice since then, and so has my platform. Since this is a blog for writers, I want to challenge you to set your own goals for 2013. Let me take a moment and walk through the exercise with you:
1) Take out a sheet of paper (or sit at your computer if you are more comfortable.)
2) Number the sheet (or a blank word document) from one to ten.
3) Brainstorm. Some can be short term goals, like what you want to get done by next week. Some can be long term, like what you want to accomplish six months from now or by year’s end. No goal is a silly goal. Let your mind go wild!
A couple of things to note:
1) Make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T:
Specific- Goals are not just generic, but specific to your gift and style.The more specific the better.
Measurable- How will you know if you have achieved these goals? Do you have the resources and tools necessary to accomplish them? For example, if you want to book ten speaking engagements to promote your new writing project, how will you know you hit all ten? Record keeping is essential. Excel spreadsheets, Evernote Apps and analytic websites are great tools to keep it all in one place.
Attainable- Much like weight loss goals, smaller goals are easier to achieve then bigger ones. “I want to lose twenty pounds by next week” probably won’t get you where you want to go. But two or three by next week is achievable.
Relevant- Does it relate to your overarching goal to excel as a writer? Setting goals for things other than your specific ministry is not helpful.
Timed- A good goal looks like this: I will write one magazine article suitable for publication by April 2013. Put a deadline on them. Deadlines are great motivators (and great practice for when you get your big publishing break).
2)Be accountable to those goals- Share your goals with another person in the writing world. That could be someone in a critique group, the professor of a writer’s course or facilitator of a writers’ conference. If you don’t have connections in these three areas. put it as a status on your Facebook page. You can even write about them in a blog post. Allow your readers to be your accountability partners. Weight Watchers is the most successful weight loss program not because of their delicious food or celebrity endorsements, but for the accountability achieved during their weekly meetings. Any goal worth achieving requires accepting help, prayer pr support from someone else.
What goals do you want to set for yourself for 2013? Write them down and share them with someone today!