How to Achieve Your Writing Goals One Step at a Time
Updated: May 23, 2022
Whether you’re trying to nail down your story idea or polishing that final draft, learning how to achieve your writing goals is crucial no matter where you are in the writing process.
Coming up with writing goals is no easy task. Even thinking about where to start can prove to be a daunting task regardless of your skillset. But you, my friend, have the power. And it all starts by saying it out loud. Pause, sit up straight, and sing it loud and proud from wherever you may be: “I’ve got the power!”
There! Now that you’ve said it, it’s time to start believing in it—and yourself!
You are more than capable of setting your goals and achieving your dreams. Your future is up to you, no one else. Are you ready to hit the pedal and race across that finish line? If you answered yes, then keep reading. If you answered no, still keep reading. Quite possibly, you’ll change your mind!
If you’re like me, and most writers out there, at times you may struggle with distractions, remaining focused, and even that nipping self-doubt. As unpleasant as it may be, self-doubt is part and parcel of the human nature. Yet if left unchecked, the fear that fuels our doubt can drive us to be over caution and prevent us from achieving our goals.
STOP selling yourself short! Push back, say yes, dive in, and pick up that pen (or tap those keys)!
Slap on the safety belt! We’re going for a ride to tackle your writing goals—one step at a time.
Step #1: Understand the ‘Why’
Ask yourself: “Why am I writing this book?”
Think back to when you first crafted the idea of your book. Consider what your book has to offer others and how it will impact their lives—and yours. Is the purpose of your book to entertain or to launch a career or provide financial stability? Maybe it’s something else entirely.
Nevertheless, your book belongs in this world for a reason. Write that reason down and post it in your writing space as a visual reminder to motivate you along the writing process.
Step #2: Develop a Writing Plan
Let’s be honest. Some days will be easier than others to stick to a writing plan. Life can get in the way at times, but remember that writing excuses are not permitted. In moments when self-doubt creeps its way in, revisit your “why” and focus on the next step you need to take to accomplish your goal.
Visualize yourself achieving your goal. Imagine what it will feel like when you finally reach the top of that mountain. Post pictures and quotes in your workspace to remind you of this feeling.
The more you say your goals out loud, the more you’ll start to believe in them and yourself. Here are a few examples to get you started:
I am a writer, and the world deserves to hear my story.
I am capable of doing anything I set my mind to accomplish.
I will complete my first draft by May 1.
I will become a published writer.
I will finish Chapter 6 by Friday.
Soon you will feel more confident, and the belief you have in yourself will outshine any trace of self-doubt.
Of course, none of this is possible if you don’t write. Setting aside a block of time to write every day will not only develop positive habits, but it will strengthen that ever so crucial writing muscle.
Step #3: Set Realistic Deadlines
Nothing kills the dream quicker than procrastination, and a bit of pressure goes a long way in achieving your goals.
Set realistic writing deadlines. For instance, don’t set a goal to write your 80,000-word fantasy novel in two days. Unless you have an impeccable ghostwriter who never sleeps, you’ll end up throwing in the towel quicker than your laptop loses its charge.
Create a planner to jot down your writing goals and deadlines. Visually seeing goals written in your calendar makes it official, helping you to take yourself seriously and stay on track.
Step #4: Take Breaks
If you feel that sitting for long periods kills your creativity, you’re not alone. A technique I learned a while back is to stand up and stretch every 20 minutes throughout my writing session. I may walk around the house, grab a glass of water, or take a moment to pet my cat. But the key is to not venture away for more than 5 minutes. Giving yourself mini-breaks between writing blocks can help you regain focus, increase motivation, and jumpstart creativity.
Another technique I’ve learned is at any point when you feel bogged down or start to lose focus, simply stand up, and count to ten. I like to do this as I look out my back window into my yard. By doing this, you reset your brain to zone in and focus on the task in front of you.
Try it. It works!
Step #5: Prevent from Getting Sidetracked
We all can admit that not every day will be our most productive. Some days we feel off, and they occur more often than we’d like.
When this happens, take baby steps. Ask yourself: “What is one task I can do today to get me one step closer to my writing goal?”
No matter how small of a step it may be, it will still put you closer to your goal than you were the day before. Progress is progress, and every step counts. Pat yourself on the back, give some tough love, and get back on track the next day.
Step #6: Remain Positive
A positive mindset will ultimately prevail. You’ve got the power! You even said so at the beginning of this article. Choose positive words and tell any negative talk to take a hike.
Re-shape your mindset. The glass is half full, not empty. Instead of thinking about how many more chapters you need to write, look at the chapters you’ve already written.
“Keep your face to the sunshine, and you cannot see shadow.” – Helen Keller
Our thoughts are the drivers of our lives. They can propel us to unimaginable heights, or they can stall us out before finishing the first lap. The choice is yours, and only you hold the ignition key.
Lastly, remember to be patient with yourself. Success rarely comes right away. It takes time, effort, and consistency. Celebrate your wins along the way, no matter how big or small!
Now turn that key and conquer those dreams!