Happy New Year! With all the talk of goals and resolutions in the air, I’ve decided to blog about this timely topic on the very first day of 2011. This may help me stay focused and perhaps offer a little inspiration to you.
One of the things I’ve learned from my professional career is the importance of setting tangible goals. They’re more measurable, and in the end, much more do-able.
Instead of deciding: “This year I will be more innovative at work,” try being more specific: “This year I will add a new outreach strategy to my communications plan.” Or, instead of saying: “I will be more compassionate this year,” you might say: “I will volunteer 16 hours at a center that supports my favorite charities.”
What does this mean for writers? You may have already guessed. Instead of saying: “I will write a book this year,” consider refining that to say: “I will write one chapter of a novel per week.” Most successful writers are even more specific. They say: “I will write 3,000 words per day.” This can be a blog entry, this can be a short story, essay, or even the synopsis of a novel, but it will never go to waste. And 3,000 words per day translates into a staggering 1,095,000 words per year or almost 14 novels!
Is this a realistic goal for most of us? No, probably not, but you get the picture. For me, I’d be perfectly happy to produce 5,000 words per week, or about 714 per day, for my current project, the sequel to Naked and Hungry. Along the way, I also plan to submit two new short stories to contests, and develop at least one new crepe recipe per month. If I end up exceeding my goals in any of these pursuits, even better, but setting realistic goals is the most important step.
So, think about your goals very carefully, don’t forget to set them, and then the fun part: match!