How badly do you want to be a writer? Is writing a novel something that you bore friends with over the last third of a bottle of wine, or is it a desire that burns so strongly inside you that it hurts?
The New Year always seems to bring with it a clean slate – a time to start afresh, when all things seem possible and attainable – the perfect time to set some goals to make sure that 2016 will be the year you achieve your writing ambitions.
It is incredible the number of people who have achieved their goals and who will tell you – ‘all I did was write my goals down.’ It really is that simple. Write them down, review them every few days to remind you of your direction and hey presto – like magic – you will achieve them.
Beforehand though don’t set yourself up for failure – your goals need to be attainable. If you write down that you will write a bestseller, make a couple of million and retire to the sun, well quite possibly you are setting yourself up for failure. Maybe you would achieve this, but setting a goal of actually completing and publishing a book is more realistic and achievable for absolutely anyone.
If you work long hours, ride a horse in your spare time and run a busy household then the likelihood is that you don’t have three or four spare hours a day to devote to your novel. But I bet you could find 30 minutes, or even 15. Set those aside every day to your book and you will be surprised how quickly you make progress.
There is nothing new about goal setting, or the concept of writing them down. Buy yourself a notebook, don’t use one of your kids discarded school jotters, buy something new and utterly gorgeous, something that you will treasure and which shows you how much your goals mean to yourself.
Next find some quiet time. OK! Maybe that is next to impossible, a busy commute, noisy kids in the back of the car. But if you can’t find this time, then make it. In the moments before you go off to sleep, turn off the whirl of thoughts about tomorrows to do list and think about your writing goals. Everyone has ‘dead’ moments – in the shower, drying your hair, cooling down or warming up your horse before you ride. Put those fractions of time to good use, instead of worrying about ‘stuff’ plan your goals.
Write them down. It gives great power to goals if you have a big long term goal – like being self-supporting with your writing. But, unless you have already published a few successful novels that won’t happen this year and writing it as a short term goal is just setting yourself up for failure.
Have a five year plan. In five years’ time I will be earning enough from writing novels to quit my job. Then backtrack and see what steps you need to put into place to achieve that. Write every day. Finish novel. Find great editor. Rewrite book. Publish book. Start book 2. Small achievable steps that will carry you in the direction you want to go.
In order to make sure you fulfil your goals, have the small steps written where you will see them daily. In a diary or on a calendar, is probably the best place.
If you need a mentor, or if you need help starting, we can help. We are all writers and we know just how hard it is – to start and to finish a writing project.
Take the first steps today and change your life tomorrow.
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