Does Setting Goals Actually Help?

All I hear is that setting goals is a key to success. My mind tells me this is right, but I still don’t like it. Writing down goals implies I’m going to actually have to stick with them, and not be free to jump from project to project. Last year, I tried setting writing goals.

How did I do?

I had four major goals:

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

I started well, completing goal number #1 in February with the publication of Read Me Before You Write. I’ve done minimal marketing, and was rewarded with a few sales a month. That’s something that needs to be addressed in 2014.

I made some progress on Goal #2. I had the first novel drafted in May. Then the summer hit, I got distracted, and life got in the way. Family needs pushed writing to the side. Novel #1 still awaits editing, and #2 is about half drafted.

Facebook still eludes me as a marketing strategy, and judging by the number of blog posts I read about it, I’m not alone. I did change the name of my fan page from Beyond the Rapids to Author Evelyn Puerto, to avoid having to create a fan page for every book I writ

Still, I know I’m not using Facebook well. What I decided to do is focus my efforts on writing, producing books for sale, then worry about the social media avenues. I’ve got a little fan base for my page, and a slowly growing Twitter following. When I get closer to publication of the first novel, then I’ll start marketing.

Speaking engagements were a complete bust this year. Ouch. I had thought to use them as a way to promote Read Me Before You Write. Knowing my time was limited, I hired a free lancer to schedule some events for me. She came up with nothing. My conclusion is she didn’t know how to pitch a speaker, as she asked for very little from me in the way of background, what my talk would be on and the like. I could have volunteered some of this, but a few weeks after I hired her, my life changed and I found myself in St Louis dealing with the family issues.

It didn’t cost me anything to try, and I did learn some things about using free lancers. I also have the sense that I might be more effective at making my own pitch to get speaking events set up.

Painful as it is to look at unmet goals, the exercise does help give me focus and a sense of direction. Far better than wandering aimlessly, chasing the project that seems most appealing at the time.

So I’ll try again 2014 with some new goals:

1. Write and publish the memoir I’m ghostwriting
2. Edit novel #1 to be ready for publication
2. Finish the first draft of novel #2 and edit it to be ready for publication
3. Write novel #3 for National Novel Writing Month
4. Plot novel #4
5. Blog weekly
6. Use social media to be social and build real connections
7. Find a good critique group

I’m coming to appreciate goal setting as more than a necessary evil. Rather, it’s more like creating a map for where I want to go. Have you set next year’s goals yet?

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