How to Write All The Things This Year

Dare to be creative.

Stop making excuses.

Say yes when you’d rather say no.

Submit it, even if you don’t think anything will happen.

Send that email.

Go to that conference.

Write what you want to write.

Stop caring whether or not other people will like it.

Stop worrying about whether or not people will read/like/share it.

Sometimes, settle for following someone else’s directions.

But always leave room for calling your own shots.

Dare to be creative.

Write terrible things.

Write amazing things.

Write controversial things.

Write things that represent both sides of an argument.

Write because it makes you feel alive.

Write because you want to.

Write when you feel like it.

Write when you don’t feel like it.

Set a daily word count goal.

Sometimes, take days off.

Write what feels right.

Edit when you don’t feel like creating something new.

Practice writing dialogue when you’re bored.

Meet other writers online.

Try something new.

Earn your achievements.

Be proud of yourself.

Do what you think you can’t.

Be strong.

Be brave.

Don’t forget to be awesome.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

Examples of Writing Goals You Can Actually Achieve

Need some help? Here’s a quick guide.


It’s easy to say you’re going to set a writing goal and stick to it – but where do you start? Here are some examples of the types of smaller writing goals you can set to make progress toward bigger writing accomplishments.

Pitch to [magazine/blog/publication] or [number of publications]

Pitching to publications is hard, and a little intimidating even if you’ve done it dozens of times before. Pitching, whether your work/services are accepted or not, is a huge step in the right direction. It’s a constant learning experience. It also makes you more aware of the pubs that are out there, what people are reading and writing about and where your work might be a good fit. Best case scenario, you get published, or hired, or both. Rejection in its own way is still an accomplishment – it means you tried!

Make [x amount of money] per month writing

money may not necessarily be the most important thing when it comes to writing, but what better motivator than a cash reward for getting some writing done? You can enter a writing contest if you’re not making regular money as a freelancer, or establish an income stream for your blog – whatever works for you. Set an end goal for the year or small goals for each month. You’d be surprised how much easier it gets when “I don’t feel like writing” turns into “if I don’t write, I’m going to be broke for the rest of my life.”

Finish/start writing [book/novel/article/script]

Sometimes you get so caught up in worrying about how you’re going to get something published that you forget you actually have to write something first! Prioritize your goals. Even if your end goal is to get published, focus on what comes first. If you’ve already started something, make it a goal to finish it. Don’t worry about what might happen after that until you’ve hit that checkpoint. And start something new if you’re thinking about trying to get published – it’s a big step, even if the end seems very far away.

Do you have any writing goals you’re working toward right now? Share them with the class. ;)

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

The 2 Types of Writing Goals and How to Achieve Them

It’s time to talk about writing goals … again.

writing goals

There are two types of writers: those who set goals and end up achieving them, and those who struggle with figuring out what they really want and how to get there.

Similarly, there are two types of writing goals: those that are easy to set and measure and those that aren’t. This post will teach you the difference between the two, how they feed into each other and how to set and accomplish each type.

Since you are most likely more familiar and comfortable with completion goals, we will cover those first.

Completion goals

What are they?

In terms of writing, completion goals are the goals you set, as the name suggests, to help you complete specific projects. These kinds of writing goals are easier to set because the endpoint and the steps to get to that endpoint are simple to outline. For example, if you want to publish a novel, you already know you’re going to have to spend a certain amount of hours and effort writing a draft. Then you will have to edit and revise, and then go through the process of either self-publishing or drafting and sending out query letters to agents. Where you begin and end are both very clear. People understand that when you say, “I want to publish a novel,” that’s exactly what where you eventually want to end up.

How do you set them?

You already know that setting SMART writing goals is one of many subsequent keys to success as an aspiring writer. We’ll run with the “I want to publish a novel.” Great start, but if you leave it at that, you’re much less likely to actually follow through with it.

You are much better off setting a completion goal like this: “I want to finish writing the first draft of my novel by the end of 2016.” This is a much smaller and more achievable goal that can eventually feed into your larger long-term goal of getting published. Probably the most important piece here is that you give yourself a deadline. This will be important when setting the second type of writing goal as well, but when you’re busy and overwhelmed and you want to write something, deadlines really do matter.

How do you achieve them?

  • Create a schedule and figure out how to stick to it
  • Hold yourself accountable
  • Create a writing-focused vision board
  • Get your procrastination under control
  • If you want it … work for it
  • Erase your excuses
  • Celebrate your small accomplishments.

Examples of completion goals that don’t work: I want to write a book someday; I want my favorite author to read my book when it gets published; I want to be a professional writer. What’s missing from these goals and how would you improve them?

Improvement goals

What are they?

Unlike completion goals, writing improvement goals are more difficult to set and extremely challenging to accomplish. The reason there’s so much material out there trying to teach you how to set goals is because, in general, we’re not good at setting goals. Especially when there isn’t an endpoint, at least not in the same way there is to mark the finish line of a completion goal. Let’s say your goal is to “improve character development in your stories.” The catch with improvement goals is that they are often tied to smaller fragments of completion goals. You don’t just want to level up your character development skills … you want to level up those skills for a very specific reason.

How do you set them?

As you are identifying and setting improvement goals, always keep your completion goals in mind. This is why there are two different kinds of writing goals of equal importance. Staying vague and failing to set deadlines is not going to get you where you want to be.

There’s really nothing wrong with a goal to “improve character development,” at least as a starting point. But there’s a pretty specific set of steps you are going to have to take here in order to set improvement goals you can actually achieve.

  1. Identify your “I am here” point. Analyze where you are in terms of character development at this moment, for example, by reading through recent character sketches or analyzing character arcs in your most recent work. This will serve as your starting point and your synthetic method for measuring progress throughout.
  2. Identify your destination. This will probably involve doing some deeper research into what the experts consider to be optimal examples of character development. Get an idea of what level you eventually want to arrive at. This will serve as your endpoint, even though, technically, there really isn’t one.
  3. Start small and work your way up. Going along with our example, you would probably want to sketch out a character’s specific arc in a story you may or may not end up writing. Practice developing that character. You might do this with several sketches. Then you might try writing a short story, focusing primarily on character development. The more you practice, the more skilled you will become, until you reach whatever metric you are using as your endpoint (e.g., “write a story with a well-developed main character.”

And always remember to tie your improvement goals back into your completion goal(s). You want to write a story with a well-developed character so you can improve character development in your stories so you can write a good draft of a book so you can publish a novel before you’re 25. See how that works?

How do you achieve them?

  • Work toward them little by little, consistently
  • Keep your completion goals in mind (your answer to “why am I doing this?”)
  • Don’t compare yourself to other writers – compete against yourself
  • Remember that small improvements are still progress
  • Don’t give up until you have the results you want, or the results you can more realistically achieve.

Examples of improvement goals that don’t work: I want to be a better writer; I want to blog more; I want to be more successful; I want to spend more time writing. What’s missing from these goals and how would you improve them?

If you’re someone who has a hard time setting and sticking to your writing goals, start here. Accomplishing goals is all about making sure you’re setting out to do what you really want to do. If you don’t want to write a full-length novel, don’t waste your creative energy trying to write a full-length novel. Every writer’s goals are different. Even if no one else respects your goals, treat them well. Take them seriously and get back to writing.

What’s your current completion goal? Your current improvement goal? Try combining them into one (long but ambitious) sentence as shown above.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

We Need to Stop Saying Writing is a ‘Dream Job’

Dreaming won’t get you anywhere.


Only once have I referred to any potential employment as my ‘dream job.’ I don’t like that phrase. I used it because it happened to be a position in which I would get to write, but writing was only a small part of the impact I would be making at a certain company I admired. When I think of my ideal full-time career, there is no one position that comes to mind. Instead, I think about not things I want to do, but ways I want to make a difference.

I don’t really ever say I want to write for a living anymore, because that would be a lie. I don’t even think writing as a career is something worth aspiring to, because no matter what you do, you’re never really going to be writing full-time and doing nothing else. You are always going to have other roles on top of that. Would I love to, traditionally, publish a novel someday? Sure. But it’s not because I just WANT to. If I did, it would be because I had a message I wanted to distribute through a story.

Saying ‘I want to publish a novel because it’s always been my dream’ is like saying you want to get a PhD because it sounds like fun. Professional writers don’t write because it’s fun, honestly – I love to write, but that’s not why I do it. I do what I do now (freelancing) because I am trying to finish graduate school and am still in that really awkward, post-graduate phase where I don’t have a ‘real’ job or a family or even my own place to live. I’m still figuring things out. I know what I want to accomplish in the next few years, but career-wise, writing is just a part of a much bigger picture.

‘Being a writer’ is not a dream job. It’s one small fragment of a much bigger mission statement. You might even have a mission, as a writer, and you don’t even know it. Instead of saying you want to be a writer, focus on what you want to accomplish while writing – and something beyond having other people read your stories, which, again, is only part of the equation. Some writers want to promote diversity, or teach people about something, or give a certain group of people a set of characters to relate to; it really doesn’t matter WHY you write, as long as you use that reason to drive you forward and keep you on track when things don’t go the way you thought they would.

Wanting to write because it’s your dream is, I suppose, a start. But many writers never get past that point because, honestly, there are just too many people trying to do the exact same thing. It’s the same with other industries, too. You have to go deeper, and define a more specific goal. That’s how some of your favorite writers have gotten to where they are. Even if they never talk about it specifically, within themselves, they have known deep down why they do what they do. Some of them have never even considered writing as a dream profession. It sort of just happened.

Dreams and goals are not the same thing. Specify. Create an endpoint and figure out how to get there. Dreaming won’t get you anywhere; working will.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

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Am I Making Progress On My 2016 Writing Goals? UPDATE!

So how am I doing? I wanted to share an update.


Back in December, I shared my 2016 writing goals with you. This was before I started freelance writing, which means I set my personal expectations way higher than I would have if I would have waited just one more month to set my goals. It’s been a rough ride, but somehow almost six months later I’m still writing on average about 20,000 words a week. (This might not seem like much to you professionals out there, but as someone who hasn’t been doing this all that long in comparison, it’s pretty cool to me.)

So how am I doing? I wanted to share an update with you as we approach the one year anniversary of me spontaneously deciding I was going to post on this blog daily. No, I haven’t missed a day yet. No, I don’t plan on it. Yes, I am tired. And yes, it has been worth every second.

Goal #1: Finish writing my 2015 NaNoWriMo novel

Since setting this goal back in December, I have probably written about 8,000 words total. I have not been putting very much time into meeting this goal, but that is going to change soon. I have given myself a deadline of July 31. Since I probably have about 20,000 more words to write, I need to get going. I only have a first draft deadline right now, which is fine. One step at a time.

Want the premise of the story? A girl walks into a bookstore, finds a new release dedicated to her father. The book is written by someone she does not know. Her father is deceased.

Goal #2: Write and send out query letters

Nope. Honestly, I haven’t even touched this one. I would love to send out queries for the novel I’m still trying to finish. But we will have to see how much time I can give myself for editing and revisions, etc. I have never sent out queries before so this will either happen very late at the end of this year or we will have to push it back to 2017.

Goal #3: Finish grad school

I have about two and a half courses left. I made it through some of the toughest ones since setting this goal and the class that I am in right now is taking a lot out of me. However, it is my last “tough” class. The final two courses I have to take are writing classes, so … as you can probably guess, I’m not so worried about those. I will finish classes in October, which will free up so, so much time in my schedule. I won’t actually get my diploma until February, but that’s fine. I started the program at a weird time in the year. I can deal.

Goal #4: Write some novellas for a [no longer secret] project

So far, I have written and published five of the twelve novellas as part of The Novella Concept. I have sold exactly one copy out of all of them – YES!!!!!!!! (Haha, milestones.) I will begin writing the sixth story this week. I have not put as much effort into marketing the whole thing/cover design as I should be, but there is only so much I can do on my own. I  am raising money for charity – if I raise only $3 the whole year, that is still more than zero. This has been a fun experience so far. If you want, you can check out what’s out on Amazon. No matter what happens from this point forward, I still consider this a success thus far.

So far, this year has challenged me more than I have ever been challenged before, writing-wise. I have ghostwritten my first book (technically), published my first writing, written an ebook (get it here), written 300+ articles for clients and have not had a total breakdown (yet). Most importantly, I am having fun. I am slowly finding more and more things that I truly enjoy.

And I have all of you, with more joining the community every day. Thank you for always supporting me. You keep me writing even on days I don’t want to. That means the world.

I can’t wait to share my progress with you again in December, with periodic updates here and there on the blog. I will continue to post daily. As always, if you need any writing advice at all, I’m here to help you out in any way I can. Now get back to writing!

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter.

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