Do you want to write a book, but hesitate? You need writing goals, and they revolve around a single word.
Several weeks ago a writer contacted me who confided: “I’ve tried to write. But after I write a couple of chapters of a book, I give up. Please don’t ask me to set set writing goals. Clearly they don’t work for me.”
Perhaps you’re like this writer. You start more books than you finish. You feel that writing goals don’t work for you.
Here’s a secret. You need to set two kinds of goals.
Writing goals: set process goals, as well as achievement goals
You need both process goals as well as achievement goals.
Process goals involve what you do, daily, or weekly.
Achievement goals (sometimes termed “outcome” goals) are what you hope to achieve via your process goals.
An example: you want to write a bestselling book.
Your process goal: I will write every day.
Achievement goal: I will write a bestselling book by January 1, 2021.
Process goals are under your control. If you set a goal to write every day, you either do (succeed), or you don’t (fail.)
Unfortunately, achievement goals usually aren’t under your control. You set achievement goals, realizing that events may derail you. Then you’ll rely on process goals to get you back on track.
The one word that will help you to achieve your writing goals
So, what’s the single word that helps you to achieve your writing goals? Here it is: write. You might add to that: without expectation.
Consider that writing is writing. It’s not:
- Doing research;
- Worrying about your plot;
- Joining writers’ groups to talk about writing;
- Going to writers’ conferences…
Only writing is writing, and you can’t achieve your writing goals without it. “Thinking” won’t help either, unless you write down your thoughts.
Overthinking: the biggest pitfall standing between you and your writing goals
All my writing students over-think writing. I do too. That’s why I keep my DDT acronym (Do, Don’t Think) on sticky notes where I can see them.
Write. Here’s why. From Beginning Writer: 2 Strategies To Remove All Your Roadblocks:
Writing is thinking. Ideas won’t come to you in words. They come as insights, impulses, or compulsions. Often they’ll arrive as images (if you’re writing fiction.)
Write down the words which arise from those insights and images.
Then hey presto — you’re thinking. And writing:-)
Achieve your dreams: start writing
You can’t achieve your writing goals without writing. Try to get into the habit of thinking with a pen in your hand, or at the keyboard. You’ll discover that when you do, you become more confident, and your concerns about writing fade away.
Please don’t equate “writing” only with working on a current project.
I love this Flannery O’Connor quote:
“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”
Writing helps you to solve your problems and make decisions. So write your thoughts. Questions? Write them down. Consider your goals, and write about them. Keep a journal or a bullet journal.
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