It’s 2012! Are Your Yearly Goals in Place?

I’m not talking resolutions, I’m talking GOALS. What do you want to accomplish this year? Do you have an action plan in place to act as a road map to accomplishment? If not, today is a great day to put one in place.

First, let’s talk about S.M.A.R.T. goals. You know, the realistic kind. The ones you have control over. Writing, revising, submitting…those are all controllable goals. Getting an agent, being offered a multi-book contract…those are in someone else’s court. They’re great ambitions, but they’re not goals. The S.M.A.R.T. acronym is a great goal test:

  • Specific: Goals need to be specific, not some loose, vague, impossible to quantify statement. “I will write better this year″ is not a specific goal. “I will write 2 pages a day” qualifies.
  • Measurable: Goals need to be measurable. Again, a concrete goal is far better than an amorphous wish. You need to know whether or not you achieved it! “I will write for 45 minutes a day” is a measurable goal.
  • Achievable: Goals need to be reasonable and achievable. Don’t set yourself up for failure by shooting for the moon. “I will complete the first draft of my 90,000 word novel in 6 months″ is much more achievable than “I will write a 90,000 word novel in January.” Also, as I mentioned above, make sure your goals are within your control. “I will write the first draft of my novel” is achievable and within your control. “I will secure the services of Dream Agent” is not.
  • Realistic: Goals need to be realistic. Evaluate your time and your lifestyle. Be honest with yourself. Set goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, and realistic for who you are and how you live.
  • Time-Bound: Goals need to have a time frame. Lots of people dream of writing a novel…someday. But without a deadline, a time pressure, there’s no reason to do anything today. Put a date on your goal and then get started on it today. When you reach that date, you’ll know whether or not you accomplished your goal.

Now that you’ve designed your S.M.A.R.T. goals, you need an action plan. I like to use a calendar for this part.

Pull out a calendar (mine is a word processed document…I don’t write with a pen unless forced *LOL*) and think about your work and family commitments. The first thing I did was to go through and cross off major holidays and family events that require my time and attention (birthdays, anniversaries, family reunions, etc.)

Next I looked at my goals, made arbitrary decisions as to anticipated page counts (Young Adult = 180 pages, Single Title = 375 pages…your mileage may vary) and tried to anticipate how much time would be required for revision and polishing drafts. For planning purposes I chose a goal of 5 pages a day, 5 days a week. Then I simply plugged my numbers into my calendar.

I made notes in an empty cell as to how many pages I expect to write each month on each project with running totals in another cell. Leaving time for polishing the first draft, sending it out to my beta readers, and then tweaking it per their comments, I figure I can write one YA and two single titles this year.

Now, we all know that nothing in life goes according to plan, but it’s also true that if you don’t know where you’re going, you won’t know when you arrive. So…I’m planning to write three books this year. If something wonderful (like an unbelievable multi-book contract) comes along and knocks my plans askew, I’ll adjust. But for now, I have goals and an action plan in place and I’m ready to shine!

How about you?

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About Debbie Mumford

Debbie Mumford specializes in fantasy and paranormal romance. She loves mythology and is especially fond of Celtic and Native American lore. She writes about faeries, dragons, and other fantasy creatures for adults as herself and for tweens and young adults as Deb Logan. Visit debbiemumford.com to learn more about her currently available work.

Posted on January 2, 2012, in about writing, Authors - Debbie Mumford and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Thanks Deb for picking up. I posted my goals on my homepage (http://www.katharinagerlach.com). If what I figured out really works, I’ll boost the number of published novels in 2012 considerably. Looking forward to reading some more of yours.

    • Thanks, Cat. Excellent goals, BTW.

      If you find a way to connect with middle grade readers online, let me know. I’m having pretty good success with a MG loss leader at Amazon, but most of the related sales are for the YA novel, not the MG (which I think is the better of the two!)

      Finding readers is an interesting challenge, which is why I try to keep my goals related to my writing…that’s truly under my control 😀

  2. I like this. Simple, doable goals that can be achieved. Why set yourself up for failure by setting impossible goals?

  3. I’m still waiting for that voice to whisper to me like it did last year. At this time twelve months ago, I was thinking that the world revolved around getting my monsterpiece read by an agent, and then moving from there. Nothing. Of course. So I meet some other online authors, and was just starting to think “wouldn’t it be great to be writing something now, like they all are?” and I had a prompt inside me. Like a stage manager whispering my cue from stage left, I heard “three stories online”. So I committed to that, and no one was more astonished than I was when it actually happened.
    Now I’m walking around the house, trying to tease that voice back onstage, saying to myself “two more? how about one more story and half the next novel?”. Still nothing. But I’m going to run with whatever it says- let you know!

  4. Wow, Will. A muse who is a stage manager. Too cool!

    While you’re waiting for your muse to speak, you might try some writing prompts, just to keep your fingers flexible. Who knows? The exercises might even nudge your stage manager into action 😀

    My favorite writing exercise is to pick three random words and give myself 15 minutes to write something using all three. I actually got a short story and the seed for a novel from “dragon – rickshaw – bifocals”

    You never know what will cue your muse!

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