Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Keep Your Writing Goals Front and Center

As a writer, you have to move forward to keep up with the onslaught of books and authors in the book publishing arena. And, you especially need to be sure you're keeping in alignment with your writing goals. This means every now and then you need to stop to evaluate what your core goals are and if you’re actually heading in that direction.

Every marketer will tell you that the beginning of each year you need to create a list of core or major goals. It's important to make your goals realistic and obtainable, and not to burden yourself with too many goals.

Three is a good number of writing goals, not too few, not too many. Then under each goal you can list a few tasks that will you will do on a daily or weekly basis to help you reach your objectives.

In addition to creating and typing your goals down in a document, they need to be printed and kept visible. It's important to put them somewhere you'll be sure to notice on a daily basis. You might put your list on your computer, inside your laptop case, on top of your daily planner, on the inside of a kitchen cabinet you open everyday.

You get the idea, your writing goals need to be visible each and every day. Not just visible though, they need to be read each and every day.

Why is it important to keep your writing goals front and center?

Here's another question to help answer that question: Did you ever hear the expression, ‘Out of sight, out of mind?’

That's your answer.

On January 1st of 'any year,' you may tell yourself, and maybe even write it down, that you will:

1. Write a minimum of five pages of your new book each week
2. Effectively market your published books
3. Submit articles to three paying magazines on a monthly basis

Okay, that's great, but suppose it's now July and you haven't even written 10 pages of your new book, and you haven't gone past the very basics of promoting your published books.

What happened to your writing goals?

Easy. You didn’t keep your goals list front and center, so you got sidetracked.

While you may have had the best of intentions on January 1st, without keeping those writing goals visible, it’s difficult to stay on course.

Maybe you decided to add the writing of unrelated e-books to your workload. Maybe you decided to do book reviews and started a critique group of your own. Maybe you devoted too much time to social networking and your online groups.

These additions may not necessarily be a bad thing, but before you continue on, ask yourself three questions:

1. Are these additions to your workload moving you in the direction of your major writing goals?
2. Are they actually keeping you from attaining your goals?
3. Are they providing some kind of income?

If your answers to these questions are NO, YES, NO, then you need to step back, redirect your steps, and get back on track. If you keep your writing goals front and center, you’ll be amazed at how you automatically work toward achieving them.

Image courtesy of / Photographer: Gracey
Related Articles:

Aim for Writing Success
Determination, Focus, and Perseverance

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Mayra Calvani said...

Great article, Karen! Every morning when I sit down to write, the first thing I do is write my 3 major goals on a new page of a notebook, then I list my objectives or tasks for that day. This system is keeping me really focused this year. I go the idea from Suzanne Lieurance and at first I thought she was exaggerating--what, write them down EVERY day??? But this system really works!

NancyCL said...

Great motivator, Karen. Thanks for sharing!

Karen Cioffi said...

Thanks, Mayra. That Suzanne really knows her stuff - she's a great writing coach!

Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing

Karen Cioffi said...

Hi, Nancy. I'm so glad you found the post motivating!

T. Forehand said...

Excellent advice and at the perfect time for me. I tend to fill my days with too much and the writing goals sometimes suffer.Thanks for the reminder that my writing goals are as important as other goals in life.

Shirley Corder said...

Thanks Karen. Really thought provoking. I'm great on goal setting. Not so great on reading them though! Need to get back to them goals!!!

Magdalena Ball said...

Very timely reminder Karen. Goals that aren't front and centre tend to recede (to keep the metaphor going). I like to schedule them in, blocking out time in my diary to focus on the big stuff.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Yep, re-evaluation. And persistence. And motivation. All very good things Great reminder, Karen!

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Excited about the new edition (expanded! updated! even more helpful for writers!) of The Frugal Book Promoter, now a USA Book News award-winner in its own right (

Heidiwriter said...

Good reminder, thanks!!

Unknown said...

Thanks for your words of wisdom,Karen.

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

I so agree that keeping your goals front and center is key to achieving them. I like your three questions, I will look at that later this month and see where I am.

Karen Cioffi said...

Sorry I'm getting back to this so late. Thank you all for stopping by and leaving a comment.

I actually learned a lot in February about focusing and freeing up time to do that. I'm hoping to apply it on a regular basis.

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