Monday, January 4, 2016

Set Your Writing Goals for 2016

By Andrea Merrell

Well, 2015 has come and gone, and we are now facing a brand new year. How many times have you made a list of resolutions that usually end up as unrealistic (and unmet) expectations? We all do it—make promises to ourselves to eat healthier, exercise more, go to the gym, and lose weight. Some of us plan to have lunch with an old friend, clean out the garage, or spend more time in God’s Word.

As a writer, have you made resolutions for 2016? Maybe you’re determined to finish a manuscript and start working on those proposals and query letters. Perhaps you plan to make a schedule and set aside a certain portion of each day to devote to writing. If you’re like most writers, you’re probably trying to decide which conference is the right fit for you. There are countless opportunities for us to grow as writers and polish our skills.

Whatever your goals and desires for this year, try something different. Instead of making the usual resolutions—which fade further and further away with each passing day—make reasonable commitments instead. The key is to establish small, bite-sized goals that can easily be achieved. Setting unrealistic expectations leaves us disappointed, frustrated, and ready to give up completely. In other words, don’t vow to have your book on Amazon by this time next year. Instead, establish some reachable goals and then make a commitment to stick to them.

But stay flexible. Life happens. When it does—and it derails your best efforts—don’t beat yourself up and pronounce yourself a failure. And, whatever you do, don’t quit. Tomorrow is a new day and God’s mercies are new each morning.

The list will be different for each person, but here are a few ideas to get you started. Pick out a couple of items, and then put them on your calendar or to-do list.

This Year I Will:
  • Pray over my writing and commit each project to God.
  • Set a certain amount of time each day/week to write.
  • Clean and organize my desk/workspace.
  • Spend less time on FB, Twitter, and computer games.
  • Attend at least one workshop or writers’ conference.
  • Take an online course.
  • Stop procrastinating and complete one unfinished project (devotion, article, blog post, short story, or novel).
  • Step out of my comfort zone and try a different genre.
  • Start a blog.
  • Blog more often.
  • Update my website.
  • Join a critique group.
  • Enter a contest.
  • Offer to mentor a new writer. 
  • Promote other writers (books, blogs, or services).
  • Write Amazon reviews for books I enjoyed.
  • Send thank-you notes or e-mails to those who have helped and inspired me. 
Do you have other suggestions you would like to share? We would love to hear from you.

(Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/Stuart Miles and Digitalart.)

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4 comments:

  1. as always, thank you for a timely post. i have goals in mind, and have mentioned them in my own blog post—which has yet to be published! (gasp!) at first, i felt annoyed that i hadn't completed the post, let alone shared it. then Father told me that the way i started the year—chilling and resting—is, in fact, an indication of the year ahead—resting in Him! so yes, goals in mind and course vaguely plotted, with my eyes fixed on Him.

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    1. Since my last post was about taking a break and resting in Him, I am right there with you. As long as we keep our eyes on Him, He will help us set realistic goals and meet them. Many blessings to you and a very Happy New Year! :)

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  2. Thanks Andrea....I had not set goals in the past years as I was just getting started with my writing and had never thought of it. This year I have set some goals, one of which is to find a critique group in my area and join. I am planning on attending 1 conference and have set writing goals for each month. I am also going to experiment with a new genre. I am excited and looking forward to a good year with God's direction.

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    1. That's awesome, Sheryl. I believe that when we seek God's direction and set those realistic goals, He will be faithful to help us meet them. May this New Year be filled with many blessings and writing opportunities for you. :)

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