I remember back when I was in grade seven, being forced to sit at my desk and think about what to achieve during that school year. Each year, until twelfth grade, we had to fill out a goals form. I hated doing those forms. I’d rather work on an essay. It wasn’t until after I graduated from high school that I realized how vital aspiration is in life.
Goals are incredibly important in getting what you want out of life. For writers, goals for our writing are more than just important; they’re life. Without these aspirations, we have no motivation. We grow lazy and directionless. We accomplish nothing. Our personal and professional world closes in around us. We stop writing, which as a writer you know is a little like death.
I have been writing for a good chunk of my life but I had never submitted my writing to publishers. I’d never shared my writing with anyone. I write and then put it aside, in a draw, forgotten. Later I’d stumble on something I’d written months or even years before and wonder why I wrote at all.
One day my mother found something I’d written. After reading it, she asked me why I never tried to have my work published. I blinked with surprised. To be honest, it had never occurred to me. I never considered it. I’d never even thought of doing so. She suggested I make publication a goal of mine, and I did.
Goals can be as simple or as complex as you want them to be. It all depends on who you are and what you want to achieve. I find many short-term goals helps me along the way to my main long-term goal. You know what, let’s do this together. Create a goal for your writing life, right now, with me.
First we need a main long-term goal. Mine is to:
- Publish and produce screenplays.
Breaking this down into smaller short term goals I started with:
- Find an idea that excites me.
- Write the story.
- FINISH that story. – This is a tricky one for me because I tend to start many stories but rarely finish any.
- Edit and polish that story. – Editing not my forte.
These goals continue leading to the final to publication and production of my work.
Goal setting in this way might not work for you but it gives you an idea of how to begin planning ahead and setting the course for your own writing future. Your dreams and aspirations do not have to be elaborate. Some can be very easy to attain while others require more effort. Accomplishing a simple milestone makes me feel like I’m leaping towards the future I want for myself.
Whatever you’re striving to achieve, make sure to set your goals, write them down and place them where you will see them every day. Repeatedly reminding yourself of what you want to accomplish helps you focus and can increase your motivation. Go for it!
What writing-related aspirations do you have? What smaller goals and milestones do you create on the way to your primary goals?