So it’s a new month. And, really, it’s a great month. September is one of those where the heat finally starts fading away and the awesomeness of fall starts creeping in, although in this part of the state, we had a pretty nice August with lots of days in the 70s and 80s.
Anyhow, I like to take the first of every month and use it as a day to look over any accomplishments (or failures) from the previous month and either set some new writing goals or reevaluate some existing ones.
I always talk about how important it is to set realistic and measurable goals if you want to achieve success in any part of your life. Obviously, in my case, this is writing. The only problem is you can set goals all day long, but if you’re not 100% dedicated, you’ll fail to reach every single one.
To help keep yourself motivated and make sure you’re setting the right goals, ask yourself these three questions for each of the goals you set:
How does this help you reach your larger life-changing goal?
In my case, my “big picture” goal is to get to a place where I can make a living writing. Yeah, I know, that’s a pipe dream we all have. But you have to keep that endgame goal in mind in everything you do. Every smaller goal you set, must be set with this larger goal in mind, otherwise it’s a distraction, and not a stepping stone. If your bigger goal is to publish a novel, then you better have a smaller goal of sending off a certain number of queries, for example.
What is the minimum you need to do each day to achieve this goal?
I know that statement might come off as lazy, but it’s totally not intended to be. Being able to budget your time is vital. If you’ve got a goal of writing 25,000 words in September, then that means your minimum daily word count is 834, so you need to plan ahead and set a priority of writing that many words every day before you do anything else.
If your goal is to write and submit one new short story, come up with a plan to do so. Maybe 500 words a day until it’s complete, and then spend a week revising and getting feedback , and then another week to research markets and prepare to submit. You get the point.
Just make sure you have a minimum something to work on every day that pushes toward that goal.
Anything extra you do just increases your awesome points.
What are you going to give up in order to get this done?
Here we go. This is the most important question. You will not reach your goal by spending all night watching the WWE network. (I know this first-hand.) You won’t get there by playing games, watching sports, or going on long walks either.
So what are you going to give up? Go back to point # 2. If your minimum amount of work for your goal is 500 words, then figure out how long it takes to write 500 words. If it’s an hour, then figure out something you can give up that you would have spent an hour on. An hour of TV? That’s an easy one. Sleep? Maybe, I guess it depends on how important TV is to you.
Either way, if you don’t give up something less important to reach your goal, then you’re telling the world that whatever you’re doing instead is more important.
So that’s it. Happy September 1. Set some goals, and REACH THEM.
And just for fun, leave a comment telling us what goals you did set for the month!