Write From Home
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There's Goals In Them Hills!
(Goal Setting & Keeping)
by Kathryn Lay
Understand Your Goals
When was the last time you had a one-on-one (you being both the one's) goal
talk? Do you know your goals for your writing?
Until you understand your writing goals, it's difficult to make goals and move
on to keeping them. Every one has different goals. Mine are different than
yours. No one's goals are more right than the writers around them, they're just
different. And, as time goes along, your goals may change.
Perhaps you have a financial goal of a certain amount of money you'd like to
make a month or a specific publication you'd like to break into.
As you think about the markets you are striving for in this class, understand
that you can accomplish financial goals in two ways. You can sell a $1000 piece
to one magazine, or 10 $100 pieces. The $1000 piece is prestigious and a good
clip to add to your file and resume. But, the work involved in writing for such
publications, the research and time may be more frustrating than writing several
shorter pieces. Both are great. They each have their own challenges,
frustrations, and rewards.
2. Set Your Goals
Setting your goals doesn't mean you can't change them. It doesn't mean your
stuck with them the way they are or you can't move forward, back a little, or
take a step sideways.
But setting some kind of goals, down on paper, where you can see them, is a step
toward reaching your goals.
You may have a goal of a certain project. Break it down into attainable goals of
writing time and segments of the project. It may be a goal of getting published
in a specific publication or sending out more of your work this year. Setting
marketing goals doesn't mean you have moved from writer to agent, it just means
that you are serious about getting your work in front of a magazine editor.
Set realistic goals, then move beyond them. It doesn't hurt to step away from
your comfort zone. Your goals may include writing time and projects, research,
marketing, promotion, etc.
Set weekly goals, monthly goals, and long-term goals. These are for
yourself. You might share them with us or a writing buddy, but the only one that
really matters in understanding, making, and accomplishing them is yourself.
Don't view goals that aren't reached as failures, but as opportunities. Time has
a way of changing trends, editors, publishing houses, your editing and rewriting
abilities, and so on. Projects may go unpublished and suddenly, the time is
right and you find the perfect opportunity and wham! That goal you set months or
years earlier has become reality.
I thought for sure several years ago that I would break into Woman's Day
or Family Circle or one of the other big slicks. I sent idea after idea.
Suddenly, one hit. Then another and another...
Was it the right timing? My writing style changing? My ideas better for their
market? Had my understanding of those magazines grown? Was my clip file
more impressive? Maybe a little of each. But the point is, I kept working at it
and the rewards came in the form of contracts, publication, and relationships
3. Keep Your Goals
You may not see all those goals met at a specific time, but strive to keep your
goals. Maybe you CAN'T write 2 hours every day, but you can try as much as
possible to reach that goal. Maybe you won't sell your essay to Family Circle,
but you won't know unless you keep that goal of sending it out.
Make a contract to yourself that you will work at keeping your goals. They are
YOUR goals. You made them because you wanted them. If you meet them or chuck
them out the window, it affects no one but yourself.
In the end, a goal is a promise to yourself. What have you promised your writing
self this week, this year, and years down the road?
Kathryn Lay has had 650 articles, essays, and stories
published in: Woman's Day, Guideposts, Woman's World,
Today's Christian Writer, Cricket, Boy's Life, Chicken Soup
For The Mother's Soul, Chocolate For A Woman's Blessing,
God Allows U-Turns, and hundreds more. Her writing courses
are found at
http://coffeehouseforwriters.com. Her 62 page
booklet, The Organized Writer Is A Selling Writer can be
ordered by e-mailing her at email@example.com.
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