As a writer, I have lofty goals. I’d like to have my books in bookstores and libraries. I’d like to do signings and conferences. I’d like to get at least one of my scripts produced.
It’s fine to have big, overarching goals. But the only way to reach them is to break them down into steps and sub-goals.
This is not easy for me, but I’m trying. For instance, one of my grand goals is to have print books on hand for my author table at the conference in October. Only one of my books currently exists in physical form, but I’m hoping to add at least one more. There’s a chance Changers will be in print by then, but I’d like my current WIP Brynnde to be ready and in print, too.
Okay, so that goal needs to be broken down into finishing Brynnde with time for formatting and printing. I’m aiming to be done writing by the end of June. I did the math, and that means writing 650 words a day.
There. Bite-sized goal, totally doable, as a stepping stone toward a much bigger goal.
As for getting a script produced, well, the best I could maybe do is to have a goal of sending out one query a day until I land a manager, agent, or production company. If your dream is to be published, maybe you should set a similar goal: a certain number of words per day written, or a certain number of queries sent out. Keep a spreadsheet on each, and you’ll find that you feel productive when you can see the numbers and the progress.
Another one of my writing goals is to sell, on average, two books each day. It doesn’t sound like much, but I wanted to pick something attainable and sustainable. Right now I sell 1.2 books per day, so I’m more than halfway there. Once I add some new titles, I hope the number will go up. All the more reason to set writing goals—words per day, deadlines for finishing projects.
Writing can feel like such an amorphous thing. It’s creative and subjective, but it is quantifiable in some ways. Word count, page count, number of queries, sales . . . We writers don’t often want to reduce our work to hard numbers, but sometimes it can’t be helped. And sometimes it IS helpful to do so.
What are your big goals, and how have you broken them down into achievable units?