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How To Identify Your Writing Goals

How to Identify Your Writing Goals

It’s a new year! Which (for those who love to plan) means it’s time to start planning for 2020. ALLi Author member, Rachel McCollin shows you how to identify your writing goals so you can plan the best writing year you've had.

Rachel McCollin

How to Identify Your Writing Goals for 2020

I don't know about you, but at this time of year, I always start thinking about what I want to achieve for the year. There’s the luxury of a break: time off for Christmas, time to think about what I managed to achieve last year and what I want to achieve in the coming year.

So, this post is aimed at helping you identify your writing goals for 2020. And I’m going to encourage you to do that by looking at your wider goals. And I really mean wider.

Ready to jump in? Let’s get started.

Your Dream Life

Start by thinking of yourself in five years’ time. Imagine your perfect life. Will it involve being a successful author? What kind of successful author?

More generally, think about your lifestyle. Where will you be living? Who will you be with? What kind of location will you be living in? Will you be on the beach, in the mountains, in a city? Will you be alone? Will you have family with you? Friends, or a partner? Whatever works for you.

This is much more fundamental than simple writing goals. Think about what you really, really want to achieve with your life in five years’ time.

Your Values

From that, the next step is identifying your values. The ideal life you’ve imagined for yourself will help you to identify what’s important to you. This could include one or more of the following:

  • Creative growth
  • Critical acclaim
  • Money
  • Loved ones
  • Health
  • Location

The list goes on. Take some time to consider your dream life and identify what it tells you about what’s important to you.

If you've identified a scenario that involves being a multimillion dollar bestselling author, that means that you're either motivated by money or by acclaim. If you see yourself winning awards, that could be creative or it could be acclaim. If you see yourself living in a cabin, quietly writing and enjoying a peaceful life, that might mean you're motivated by your own personal wellbeing. And these things will help you to identify what you need to focus on as a writer.

Translating Values to Activities

The next step is to then turn that into the kind of activity you need to engage in to achieve those goals.

If your goal involves money, or living somewhere expensive, you need to focus on activities that will help you earn money. That might mean you need to double down on your marketing for 2020.

If your goal is to achieve creative success (either personally or by winning awards), that means focusing on creative development in 2020. Identify where you can develop your craft. Are there any prizes that you might be applying for in 2020 that could help you achieve those creative goals? Are there writing groups you can join, courses you can take or books you can read that will help you improve?

If your goal is to achieve acclaim, you need to set a different type of goal. First, you’ll need to be writing the best books you possibly can, but you’ll also need to work on building a reputation and a following. Instead of making money, you might build your following by making your work available for free, so more people are accessing it.

If your goals relate to your family, your relationship, or the people around you, think about how your writing impacts on them. I often spend time writing when I could be with my family (something my husband supports). But if your goals are about developing your relationships, think about how you can work your writing around those relationships and maybe involve the people you're close to in your writing career. You could bring your partner in to support you with publishing and marketing, or you could involve the kids if they're creative.

It's Not Always About Sales

Making money is usually a means to an end. It can help you achieve a particular lifestyle. It can help you quit your day job, or retire your partner, or pay for a family holiday.

If you identify your deeper goals, it can help you identify the writing activities which will help meet those goals, which might not always be more sales.

But if you do need to make more money to meet your goals, then you’ll need to look at your marketing, and how you can sell more books. Just don’t assume that’s the only answer.

And once you put all that together, hopefully you've got some ideas that you can translate into goals for 2020. Focus on the things you need to do to help you start achieving those long-term goals. That way, you’ll find a way to fulfil yourself as a writer and a human being in a way that can be about much more than simply chasing sales.

Good luck!

How to Create Your Writing Goals for 2020 @rachelmcwrites #indieauthor #selfpublishing #IARTG #ASMRG #writingcommunity Click To Tweet


Have you set goals yet? Have you mind mapped all your ideas and dreams? Do you have any tips to identify your writing goals?

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Author: Rachel McCollin

Rachel McCollin has been helping people at all levels of technical expertise use WordPress since 2010. Whenever she goes to a writing event, she finds herself answering questions about author websites, so she’s decided to distill all that information into a book. WordPress for Writers will be published in July 2019. You can find out more about the book, get tips on author websites and other writing related topics and download a free author website blueprint at her website www.rachelmccollin.com.


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