Hitting your writing goals requires a commitment to keep going no matter how hard it is to sit down and write. If you are an author with a lot of projects in progress, but few completed, then make a commitment today to take one of those projects and finish it. Ignore the excuses to abandon your writing goals. Stick with them.
Commit to meeting your writing goals.
Writers who finish what they write are writers who publish and sell their work. That just makes sense. Looking for the quickest way to start selling? Starting achieving your writing goals. Here are seven tips to help you:
1. Write down your goals. Seriously. Commit your writing goals to paper.
You may have heard this many times, but it is true. Writing down what you want to accomplish is the most effective way to achieve your writing goals. You are more likely to work on your goals if you write them down on paper by hand. Computers are great, and I write books using a computer, but if you don’t want to forget to do something, studies have shown that writing it by hand is the best way to remember to act on a task.
2. Put your writing goals where you can see them.
You have so many different tasks and activities demanding your time, that during a day of constant interruptions you can lose track of your writing ambitions. If you are struggling as to what happens next in your story, starting another project is a tempting way to procrastinate. After a while, you forget all about that first writing project you were working on. Promise yourself you will finish every writing project, no matter how bad you think the story is going. When you go back and reread your first draft, your writing is always better than it seemed when you were buried in the writing process. Besides, editing is for making your book better. First, just get the story written.
3. Make a promise to yourself that you will finish a writing project before you start tackling any of your new writing goals.
Writers can get trapped in the shiny object syndrome. We are creative people. We are always coming up with new ideas, and the most recent is often the one that is most appealing to our imaginations.
Make a personal rule that you must meet a specific writing goal before starting any new writing goals. If you follow this strategy accomplishing your writing goals will become a habit. Once you establish the pattern of finishing your writing projects, you will be more comfortable working through issues you encounter in subsequent books.
4. Set a deadline to complete your writing projects.
A deadline is a constant reminder you need to make progress on your writing every day. Tracking your progress has several benefits:
- Deadlines focus your attention on your current project and discourage you from going off and starting a different project before your current work is done.
- Recording how much you wrote each day gives you a sense of accomplishment and lets you see your progress.
- Recording your word count and completed work shows the IRS that you are working to be a professional writer should you ever be audited.
Deadlines can be a traumatic burden for some writers. The idea of having to finish by a completion date can be so intimidating many authors can’t write. If you find that a specific due date is not motivating you to complete your book or story, try setting a broader time frame. Instead of saying you will finish your book by August 5, 2020, aim for winter 2020 or just simply decide you will hit your goal in the year 2020. Once you get used to completing a book project by a projected time period, you will find it easier to set a more specific goal such as, “finish by August 5, 2020.” Eventually, you will overcome being intimidated by deadlines. Meeting deadlines is a great business skill for any writer to learn and one you should work hard to acquire.
Remember, if you fail to meet your deadline, the sky will not fall. Set a new goal and work hard to achieve it.
Have trouble setting goals and making the commitment to hit them?
Professional writers have to make deadlines if they are to write enough to make a full-time living as a writer. If you have trouble meeting deadlines, you might want to read Meeting The Writer’s Deadlines, which has lots of tips, advice and links to help you develop the ability to meet your deadlines.
5. Don’t try to work on more than one writing project at a time if you have trouble finishing projects.
Some writers are comfortable and successful working on multiple projects. If you are one of them, you should just keep doing what you are doing and keep juggling. Just make sure you are actually completing the work. If not, consider putting all the projects to the side. Make a commitment to finishing your current book or story. Then move on to your next book project.
6. Limiting yourself to achieving one writing goal at a time doesn’t mean you can’t work on all the other tasks authors have to do.
Writers have many tasks to complete whether they are traditionally published or pursuing indie-publishing. You must also do marketing, answer fan mail, submit your work and finish all the other responsibilities of a professional writer. The best way to handle all these tasks is to break them down. Don’t try to finish more than three to-do items each day. For example, you might decide to write 2000 words, write a blog post, and send out your newsletter.
I took a webinar from Orna Ross and based on what I learned I identified three types of work to complete each day: 1) a writing goal, 2) a management/administrator goal – review my expenses or sales for the week, and 3) an entrepreneur/partnership goal or what I can do to grow my writing business. I assign a block of time each day in my calendar for working on each goal category.
7. Don’t give up when you don’t hit your goal.
As long as you keep working on your writing until it is done you are succeeding. You may take longer to complete your work, but you will finish if you keep working on your one project until it is completed.
Bonus Tip: Don’t quit when you get to the middle of your book or story
It is well known that just about every writer gets discouraged when they hit the middle of their book. I become convinced every time I hit the middle of my projected word count, whether I’m working on a novel, a non-fiction book or a short story that I am toiling on the dumbest story every envisioned. However, I always finish my writing projects because I keep writing until the project is done. Every time I go back and read what I’ve written I find that the middle is just fine. If you get feel like quitting in the middle of your book, keep writing.
Conclusion – Finish what you write and make your work available for others to enjoy.
When your story is finished, don’t put your book in a box and forget it. You met your writing goals, so do something with your manuscript. Send it to an editor, self-publish or indie-publish, but get your story out so others can read it. You want to turn out a well-edited piece with no typos or spelling mistakes. You want to produce the best book you can write at this point in your career, but don’t wait for perfection. None of us are perfect, and neither is any story. Rewriting until the story is perfect is a great way to never get published and never sell a book.