1. Don’t just think about what you want to do when you’re setting a writing goal. Think about who you want to help and the kind of impact you want your words to have on that intended audience. I don’t just publish blog posts about writing. I publish blog posts aimed to help other writers create their own success.
2. Start small and work your way up. Some writers prefer to start their own blog before writing articles to submit to publications. Choose a starting point and work your way up from there.
3. Choose a goal you know you’re going to have to work hard to achieve, but draft a list of “action steps” so you can clearly see how you’re going to stand up to that challenge.
4. Not all your goals have to push you to the limit though. Sometimes setting goals you know you can reach still prompts you to keep writing your way toward achieving something small.
5. Set a larger goal but break that large goal up into multiple smaller goals to make it easier to achieve step by step.
6. Set a starting and ending deadline, but make it flexible just in case unexpected circumstances arise.
7. Choose a writing goal that involves at least one thing you’ve never done before, even if the rest of what’s involved is very familiar and comfortable. Maybe instead of just publishing a blog post like normal, for example, you could try sharing it in a Facebook group that allows it.
8. Make sure your goal is as specific as possible. Setting a goal to “be a professional writer” is an OK place to start, but it helps to have some self-guidance about what specifically you want to do as a writer.
9. Create a reward system for yourself. Make sure you’re ready to treat every small victory as something worth celebrating — and actually follow through on that celebration.
10. Don’t “punish” yourself for not teaching a goal within a specific time frame. Good goals are meant to be flexible. You don’t always know what a workload is going to look like until you’re halfway through it.
11. Be proud of your accomplishments, no matter how small. Tell everyone about them, even those who don’t want to listen. The more you build yourself up, the more motivated you’ll be to keep reaching for the bigger goals you’ve always dreamed of.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is an editor and writer, and a 12-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food, and Star Wars.