The only way you will ever find yourself finishing your manuscript, finding an agent, and landing a book contract is by setting writing goals. As a writer, you have no set structure handed to you. You may have a book deadline, but no one can give you daily or weekly deadlines except yourself. You won’t find yourself magically at the finish line without having done all the work to get there. First, you have to set some goals that are both measurable and attainable to set yourself up for success.
Define Your Writing Goals
When it comes to making goals for your writing, you need to make both short-term and long-term goals for yourself. You also need to make sure they are measurable and attainable. If they are not measurable, you won’t be able to tell if you are falling behind or not. And if your goals are not attainable, you may need to reassess your final goal. You can’t say you want to write a book within a month and wait until two weeks in to do anything about that goal, which is why you need to set both short-term and long-term writing goals.
Types of short-term writing goals:
- Number of words per day
- Number of chapters per day
- Number of book queries sent out a week
- Number of blog or social media followers a week
- Number of hours a day
- Pages a day or week
Types of long-term writing goals:
- Number of books completed in a year
- Number of blogs published in a month
- Acquire an agent
- Sign a contract for a book deal
- Reach 1,000 blog or social media followers
Do the Math
Once you have your writing goals in place, do the math to figure out what it will take to get you there. In other words, how many short-term goals will you need to make in order to reach your long-term goal? If you want to write an 80,000 word-long book in 3 months and write only 4 days out of the week, how many words will you have to write each day? That’s over 26,000 words a month, over 6,000 a week, and roughly 1,700 a day (rounding up quite a bit there). When you break the numbers down, writing a book so quickly suddenly doesn’t seem so intimidating now, does it?
Put Your Goals on the Calendar
With the math part out of the way, figure out how much time you will need a day to reach your word count goal. For some, 1,700 words could be written in an hour, while for others, that amount of writing could take closer to 3 to 4 hours. Of course, that time can vary, depending on how inspired you are feeling that day.
After you have an estimated time, schedule that time into your schedule. Some people live by their calendars, and if there isn’t a set time marked for writing, it won’t end up happening. And to make sure your book writing time doesn’t get stolen by distractions like research or blogging, schedule time for those other things as well. Your writing calendar should consist of blog titles you will write for the month (if you blog) and a description of each chapter you need to write to complete your book manuscript. And if those scheduled times aren’t getting checked off the calendar as complete, you know something needs to change.
Reassess Your Writing Goals
When you are first getting started with your writing goals and calendar, you may want to have a weekly reassessment of what you have accomplished. If you’ve felt too overwhelmed with your schedule or haven’t been meeting your daily goals, you should consider tweaking those goals. Maybe you need to add an extra day of writing or extend your final goal date, which goes back to setting attainable goals for your writing.
Meet Your Goals and Write
No matter how attainable your goals are, they will do you no good unless you put in the work to meet each goal. It’s time to stop saying you’re going to write a book and just do it. And if you find yourself struggling to get motivated, try making your goals smaller. Remember, something is always better than nothing.