Goals Bloghop: Setting Reachable Goals

Do You Have Goals bannerThis is a post in the Goals Bloghop AKA Big Dreams bloghop AKA Do You Have Goals bloghop. Follow the link to find others on the bloghop and/or join yourself.

Setting goals— long term, medium or short term— is not like making wishes. You might have a wish to win the lottery in the coming month, but since there is nothing you can do to work towards making that happen, it’s not, properly speaking, a goal.

Setting a writing goal, especially if you are an aspiring writer, an indie writer, or simply an insecure writer, sometimes feels like making wishes. And so it’s not surprising that when we make our goals, we may make some that are more like wishes.

Take the money thing. If you look at some great writers of the past such as Herman Melville, you will see that writing a great book doesn’t guarantee making money from it. The writer doesn’t have much control over the dollar amount.

If you are already making money from your writing, it’s very likely that by writing more and trying higher-paying markets you can set a goal that is money-related that is a doable goal and not making a wish. But if you are a beginning writer who not only hasn’t made a dime writing, but you haven’t even submitted your work to any market yet, making the kind of dollar-goal the first type of writer can is merely wishful thinking. Set a smaller goal such as getting published, and/or breaking into a paying market.

Another problematic goal regards the best seller lists. Many fine writers don’t make it onto the best seller lists. Many published Christian writers have yet to top the Christian best seller lists. And some of us— such as Catholic writers who write faith-based fiction that doesn’t quite fit into Evangelical publishers and booksellers worldview— probably can go a whole career without hitting any best seller lists.

You have no direct control over the best seller lists. Worse, young/new writers who write not what they love, but what they think will sell well tend to sell very poorly if they can even get published at all. So best seller list related goals are, for most of us, more wish than goal.

A good goal is something you can do, but that is a challenge. For a writer who has published three books at small-press publishers, a good five year goal might be to publish a certain number of additional books, to complete and publish a trilogy, or to submit to larger publishers.

For an absolutely-beginning writer, goals must feel doable— finishing and editing a NaNoWriMo novel, perhaps. Or writing a certain number of short stories and submitting them to short story markets— without worrying about whether any get accepted, at first.

In my own case, I have been writing many years but am plagued with writer’s block when it comes to novel-writing. And my mind doesn’t run towards short stories. My problem, precisely, comes in finishing novels. So my goal is aimed at working on the finishing thing. I’ve set myself the goal of finishing 2 works of fiction— short stories, novellas or novels. I would kind of like for one of them to be a novel, but I’d settle for 2 decent short stories.

My progress has not been great so far. I think my next work will be a short story set on my ‘Kirinia’ fictional world that’s sort of a prequel to my later Kirinia stories. I’ve written a story-beginning yesterday which is more like a writing exercise to get to know some of the new characters I’m developing than anything which will be in the actual story. I’m needing to set up a notebook with my up-to-date worldbuilding and character notes, which requires me to buy new ink cartridges for my printer because I used the last ink printing out a Wikipedia article on the Roman gens Julia (and I need to print out the one on Claudia, since my characters include Romans from the Julii and the Claudii.)

Once I have printer ink, I can feel more like I’m making progress as I can start generating printed-out pages to go in my notebook for the project. It just doesn’t seem like I’m getting anything REAL done when it all stays in the computer!

So— how about you? Set any good goals lately? Or even some not so good goals?

5 thoughts on “Goals Bloghop: Setting Reachable Goals

  1. Hi there. I’m doing the 5 year goal blog-hop too and, like you, I realised the most important step to getting a novel published is to FINISH WRITING THE DAMN THING!
    Good luck with your latest project and don’t forget to keep going until you can type “The End”.

  2. You’ve made some very good points. (Although, I still really want a dollar amount LOL). I really liked your point about Christian publishers not always accepting a non-evangelical worldview. I write clean romance and it would be easier to get published in inspirational which is also clean, but always has a “come to Jesus meeting.” Since Catholics don’t get “saved” this is hard for me.

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