Setting Goals

What’s this, you say? A post about goals in the middle of the month? Aren’t you a couple of weeks early (or too late) for that sort of thing?

Well, yes, I would be, if I was talking specifically about my goals. Instead, I’m talking about the general importance of setting goals for a writer. Once more, since I rarely feel qualified to advise anyone about anything, I’ll talk purely about what works for me and why. Maybe you’ll get some use out of it.

The reason I make myself goals each month is simple. If I didn’t, I’d probably procrastinate, lazy about and get very little done. I’m a lazy person by nature and setting goals is a way for me to fight that. Plus having goals tends to make me think about things a bit more, with a view of I can do and what I can’t (more on that later) and also if I know what I want to do (and when) I can plan accordingly. Our recent trip to Florida is good example of this. I try to give myself just enough that I have to push myself to get them done without giving myself so much I feel overwhelmed and give up. Which brings me to something I didn’t even know about until I was looking for an image to put on this post.

smart-first-draft

The SMART acronym is something I’ve apparently been trying to follow without actually being aware of it. And each of them (with the possible exception of timely) is something I struggle with now and then.

Specific is good and kind of goes hand in hand with Measureable. I mean, you can say “I want to write more” and you can do twenty more words than you did before and you’ve technically made your goal but does that really help you in the long run? Many authors often have a goal of X number of words per day. That’s something I’m honestly still working on but I do my best to track my daily word count and build on it as much as I can.

Achievable is the main one I have issues with, mainly because I probably have unrealistic expectations of myself. Even when I achieve a goal, there is a fairly constant thought that I should have been doing more. So I find myself trying to balance what I want to be able to do with what I can actually get done.

Relevant seems pretty self explanatory. After all, why set a goal that doesn’t really help you? And Timely, well, since I review and change my goals some month to month, all of my goals tend to be time-bound anyways, although whether or not they are achievable in that time is another matter.

So, there’s my thoughts on setting goals. I don’t think you need to have them in order to write, but I do think they can help. I know doing my monthly goals has helped me.

Before I wrap this up I would like to thank Pat Sherard who suggested this topic to me on Twitter earlier today. Pat is a very sweet and generous woman, and I advise you to check out her Twitter feed and/or her blog.

Until Monday, then.

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