A Productive Rant About Setting Goals As A Writer: And how doing so will help set you free! by Keri Kruspe
Let’s welcome back monthly columnist Keri Kruspe as she shares with us “A Productive Rant About Setting Goals As A Writer: And how doing so will help set you free!” Enjoy!
Goals?! Why do I gotta set goals? I don’t wanna…(insert slobbering whine)
Ahem, I digress.
Why, as a writer, should I set goals? Working for myself, I know what I have to do. Write, market, write some more… wash/rinse/repeat.
Maybe. It depends on what you want from your writing career. Is it a career or a hobby? Is it something you want to do in your spare time, something to do when you’re bored? Or, (like me) are you looking to replace your secular job with your own business? Do you plan to replace your income with a steady inflow from your writing?
While goals were a big part of my previous secular life, I didn’t apply them to my personal writing career at first. During the various training sessions I worked through that first year, one thing kept repeating itself… make goals to achieve your dream to be a full-time writer.
I admit, I had a deep craving to take control of my writing life. I refused to be one of those people who went through life feeling like I never seriously tried to grab my dreams.
“Never quit. It is the easiest cop-out in the world. Set a goal and don’t quit until you attain it. When you do attain it, set another goal, and don’t quit until you reach it. Never quit.” -Bear Bryant
DARE TO DREAM BIG
“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” -Les Brown
Author and poet Bill Copeland states, “When you don’t set goals, you can spend your whole life running up and down and not achieve anything.”
That really resonated with me. Not only was I trying to learn how to write, but there was a lot to do once I finished the novel I’d worked so hard on. The word overwhelmed barely scratches the surface of how I felt. I kept losing track of what had to be done to launch a successful book. In my mind, I only had one chance to make a good first impression with my debut novel.
While having a dream is everything (you gotta know what you want), you can’t get there by wishing a beautiful fairy will come and sprinkle glittering dust to make it happen (Yeah… and that magical being had better look an awful lot like a bare-chested Jason Momoa). *Sigh* We all know that’s not going to happen.
A true goal is something you can measure. Something you can set into time-sensitive steps and check off when done.
ONE OF THE HARDEST THINGS TO DO IS TO DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH
“If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.” -Lawrence J. Peter
Just like you, before I get in my car, I have someplace in mind where I want to go. I don’t expect the car to take off on its own without me steering the wheel with my foot on the gas (at least, not yet!). Even then, I’m not going to drive around aimlessly, I have a destination in place. Why should I expect my writing career to be any different?
“If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” -Zig Ziglar
It’s my responsibility to get the tools I need to keep track of what I’m doing as well as when I’ve got to get it done. If I feel things are out of control, I’ll be bombarded by anxiety, worry, and doubt. It’s important to keep focused on what matters most. This will help to keep those negative emotions at bay. As I get close to achieving my goal, I can revel in what that would feel like once I do. Maybe reward myself with something fun and delicious….
“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” – Henry Ford
PSST… IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO SET GOALS!
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C.S. Lewis
I’ve heard this a lot lately. Throw away those excuses! You know, like the one that you tell yourself you’re too old. Bull hockey! John Glenn was the oldest astronaut in space at the age of 77 in 1998. Dimitrion Yordandis was 98 when he finished a 26-mile marathon in 1976. In 2017, Irish racer Rosemary Smith became the oldest person to drive a Formula 1 car at age 79.
As I enter the winter of my life, I plan on aggressively pursuing my dream of becoming a bestseller author (not picky – NY Times or USA Today) come hell or highwater. I have daily/weekly/monthly goals in place so I can achieve that within the next five years.
To keep track, here are some examples.
- Write 31,000 words.
- Complete 16 hours of marketing.
- Send WIP to ELF (my editor).
- Complete 15 hours of training.
The one below is the way I keep a daily track. Here’s how I did in April. Forgive me for being a color-coding nerd. Can’t help myself.
Another side note for using this: it’s a great tool to keep for your records for IRS purposes. Undeniable proof you’ve taken your writing career seriously.
NO RANT/ JUST EXAMPLES
“The great danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” -Michelangelo
Here are some examples a writer can use to create strong goals:
Weak: Write better. Strong: Take two creative writing classes by X date.
Weak: Make a name for myself. Strong: Shore up my author platform through weekly social media updates and blog posts.
Weak: Make a living as a writer. Strong: Create a financial plan with specific income goals and ways to meet them.
Weak: Get published. Strong: Take online courses on how to become an indie publisher by X date.
After you’ve set your goals, it’s easy to set them aside and forget them. Don’t get lulled into that thinking! The key is for your goals to be a part of your daily/weekly/monthly habit.
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” -Henry David Thoreau
Success belongs to all of us – so go out and make it happen!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Keri Kruspe has been an author since the age of twelve and has always been fascinated with otherworldly stories that end in Happily Ever After. Author of Otherworldly Romantic Adventures, Keri’s first series is An Alien Exchange trilogy. An Alien Exchange is the first book in the arousing Alien Exchange sci-fi romance series. If you like sexy aliens, feisty heroines, and fast-paced action, then you’ll love Keri Kruspe’s steamy space adventure.
Keri now resides with her family in the wilds of Northwestern Michigan. An avid reader, Keri enjoys good wine, good food, and watching action/adventure movies. You can find her most days immersed in her fantasy world of writing or traveling with her hubby in their RV, discovering intelligent life here on Earth. For goodies, news of upcoming releases, sign up for her newsletter at www.kerikruspe.com.