Top 5 Reasons Many Writers Don’t Reach Their Writing and Income Goals

As a writing coach, I work with dozens of writers every week, and new clients come to me all the time. So I’ve gained some insight as to why writers often don’t achieve their writing goals and income goals.

Here are what I have found to be the...

Top 5 Reasons Writers Don’t Reach Their Writing and Income Goals

1. They aren’t clear about what they want and how they will get it.

Many people who say they want to make a living as a writer aren’t clear enough about what they want. They usually simply say something like, “I want to quit my job to be a fulltime writer and I’d like to earn at least $50,000 to start."

That sounds pretty clear.

At least the income part is clear. They want to earn at least $50,000 to start.

What isn’t clear is HOW they plan to earn this money.

In other words, they aren’t clear as to what they will write to generate this income and who will pay them to write it – so they have no plan.

Without knowing exactly what they want to write and who will pay them to write it, they can't go after clients or writing assignments. Instead, they tend to hope work will find them. But it usually doesn't.

2. They aren’t consistent.

Even writers who are clear about what they want and have a plan to get it are often inconsistent when it comes to taking the steps to get what they want. They don't consistently follow their plan. Succeeding as a writer usually means taking the same steps over and over again until these steps start producing results.

3. They aren’t focused or they don’t stay focused.

Many people who say they want to be successful writers aren’t focused enough to make this happen. They do one thing one day, then drop it and start something else the next day in the hopes that it will work better. If they stayed focused and stuck to their plan, they'd be much more likely to reach both their writing goals and their income goals.

4. They are afraid to STOP doing things that don’t work.

Most writers (like most people) develop habits that are pretty comfortable. They might love to blog, for example, so they write articles for their blog several times a week. The only problem is, they don't monetize these blog posts, so there is little possibility of these posts generating any income for them. They'd be better off spending their time trying to find clients or writing assignments, but that isn't so comfortable. So instead, they just keep blogging like they've been doing, but they complain that they don't have any (or many) clients or assignments.

5. They don’t expect to succeed.

This may seem strange, but when it gets right down to it, many writers don’t really think they can pull off making a living as a writer. It’s fun to dream about it. But it’s more comfortable to dream than it is to take steps that are a bit scary. So they continue to dream, but that's about all they do.

Does any of this sound like you?

If it does, change your behavior so you WILL reach your writing and income goals by the end of the year.

Identify what you hope to write and make a plan for finding people (clients, publishers, editors, etc.) who will pay you to write these materials.

Once your plan is made, consistently follow the plan. Take the same steps over and over again to reach your goal and follow through with your plan.

Stay focused. Remember – all you have to do is follow the plan. You don't have to keep creating a new plan. But do make sure the things you are doing are working. If they aren't, then it's time to revise the plan just a bit.

Finally, expect to succeed.

That makes all the difference in the world.

Try it!

Suzanne Lieurance is a fulltime freelance writer, writing coach, certified life coach, and the author of over 30 published books.

If you need a little help reaching your writing and income goals this year, get your free subscription to her Morning Nudge at


Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

From my own experience and from what I hear from other authors, staying focused seems to be the hard one. It's because we have so many interests (in my case, fiction, poetry, and helpful nonfiction for writers) and we have to market some of the work we have done in the past--often so we can earn a living. There are ways to balance our needs as writers but nearly as I can tell, each of us must figure out what's right for our own career.

Karen Cioffi said...

Great tips, Suzanne. Check, check, check, check, check. I've been through all five. Still struggling with a couple but have gained much more focus than a year ago. And, that focus matters and translates into reaching your writing and income goals - I'm currently juggling 7 ghostwriting gigs. Thanks for your coaching help Suzanne!

Suzanne Lieurance said...

Karen and Carolyn,

I think staying focused is one of the hardest parts for all of us creative types. The other is, sticking to what works and letting go of what isn't working. Karen, you've seen what a difference that makes. It's been fun to watch your income and your ghostwriting business soar this past year. I can't wait to see what you do in 2016! said...

Staying focused is so hard with so many interruptions in my life. Thanks for the comments. I'm trying. At the moment, I'm struggling with copyrighting my latest books disrupting my focus.

Karen Cioffi said...

Mary, interruptions can certainly derail us from our writing goals, but keep going back to those goals. Don't let interruptions stop you!

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

@SuzanneLierance and @KarenCioffi-Ventice, I think this is a big problem in many industries!

Karen Cioffi said...

Carolyn, it's true. With the internet and digital devices it's just too easy to get distracted no matter what industry you're in.

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