After 10 Years, it’s Time to Set some Goals

Blank page in day plannerEven though I didn’t know it, my writing career began 10 years ago. It’s high time I set some goals for my writing.

It’s a funny confession, coming from someone who worked as a professional strategic planner and marketer in the health care industry. I have made attempts at setting writing goals in the past. The problem was I was creating goals for a mission I didn’t really believe in. Deep down, I wasn’t sure I wanted to achieve what I was putting on paper.

The result was since I really didn’t care about the kind of writing I was doing, I found myself losing interest. Motivation was harder to come by. I knew I was in trouble when cleaning my toilets or weeding the garden were more appealing tasks.

The lesson here for anyone who works independently is that you have to care about what you are doing. Deeply. Passionately.

I’ve read those words many times in other blogs and books. Now I know that they are true. You can’t write just for the potential money you will make or because someone else tells you it’s a good genre to get into. Or whatever reason.

Part of my struggle was not understanding what I cared passionately about. I had a hard time thinking of things I wanted to write about that excited me. Where I went wrong was confusing the excitement of skiing down a mountain with being gripped by an idea or concept that keeps invading your thoughts that you think about on and off and can’t get out of your mind. It’s a different kind of passion and excitement.

But now I’ve come to the point where I know what I want to do with my writing career, and that it write novels that entertain and explore questions of good against evil and how these ideas can be defined very differently, depending on one’s world view.

So what about you? Have you found something you are passionate about enough to write about? Got some 2013 goals set? Here’s my first stab at mine:

1. Finish and publish my book on what I learned about writing, publishing, and marketing books
2. Write and publish 2 novels
3. Figure out just how to use Facebook effectively as a marketing strategy
4. Do 20 speaking engagements

One thing I’ve learned about goals: big ones don’t get done unless there are some smaller steps to shoot for, every month, every week, and every day.

This means I have a target of 1000 words every day, while I am in the first draft stage. I’ll spend a little time refining these into monthly and weekly targets, without going into too much detail. (The last think I want to do is spend too much time on goals and not enough on actual work!)

But for now, I’ve got some quarterly milestones set:

January to March

1. Finish and publish writing book
2. Draft Novel #1
3. Find beta readers
4. Investigate speaking engagement possibilities

April to June

1. Draft Novel #2
2. Receive feedback on #1 from beta readers
3. Start booking speaking engagements
4. Come up with a Facebook strategy and use it

July to September

1. Edit and publish Novel #1
2. Receive feedback on #2 from beta readers
3. Do 10 speaking engagements

October to November

1. Edit and publish Novel #2
2. Start planning Novel #3
3. Do 10 speaking engagements

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