Writing requires commitment. Some projects can take days while others span into months. In that process there will be highs, lows, and hums. The excitement will wane, and it is your commitment that will see you through toward the end — toward your vision goal. Establishing goals for writing your book is the difference between “some day” and a published book.
Not all goals are success-driven goals. Many should-be authors make a goal statement, such as, “This year I will write a book.” Then, on January 1st at 12:01am, they renew their declaration, “This year I will write a book.” Why does this type of goal not work?
Strangely, a goal is like a woman in a long-term romantic relationship, if you refuse to define its present condition and the hope and direction of its future reality, it’s going to constantly stare you in the face and nag, “Where are we going? What are we doing?” Deny answers to those questions long enough and your goal, just like the woman, will walk on by and become a memory.
A goal that you can work and that works with you is a SMART goal.
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Relevant
T – Timebound
I began using a SMART goals as a fourth-grade elementary school teacher. If 9 and 10 year olds can master making SMART goals, I know we can! The SMART model is necessary in making the 3 book writing goals.
“Your goals are the road maps that guide you and show you what is possible for your life.”Les Brown
Book Writing Goal No. 1
Determine your vision goal.
The vision goal is the big goal or the main goal. It is the ultimate desire in your heart.
Then the Lord answered me and said: “Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it.
Habakkuk 2:2 (NKJV)
Obviously, in the case of a writer, the vision goal would be to publish a book. However, this goal is not SMART.
Make it SMART: My vision goal is to publish a book …
Specific: … about overcoming depression and living in God’s joy
Measurable: … by researching and writing one hour daily for five days a week.
Attainable: This is doable and fits into my schedule.
Relevant: I know God has gifted me to write this book, and it will bring joy to my life and others who struggle with depression.
Timebound: I will publish my book on Dec. 1, 2013.
SMART Vision Goal:
My vision goal is to publish a book about overcoming depression and living in God’s joy by researching and writing one hour daily for five days a week. This is doable and fits into my schedule. I know God has gifted me to write this book, and it will bring joy to my life and others who struggle with depression. I will publish my book on Dec. 1, 2013.
Book Writing Goal No. 2
Create a series of mini-SMART goals that lead to the vision goal.
Once you know your destination, you effectively can map out how you are going to get there. Doing this eliminates fear, anxiety, and worry.
Determining your vision goal is great, but creating a series of mini-SMART goals that will lead to the accomplishment of your vision goal is priceless! Another technique I learned while teaching fourth graders is backwards planning – planning with the end in mind. This technique may help in deciding what mini goals to create. Ask yourself the question: What has to happen for my vision to become reality? What task do I have to do? What step do I have to take? What decision has to be made?
For example, one step back from being published is paying the publisher. Another step back is choosing a publisher. Another step back is choosing how to publish (hardcopy or digital). So for these circumstances, the mini-SMART goals would be as follows:
- Research publishing/printing methods for my book genre and category by July 20th.
- Decide on publishing/printing method by August 1st.
- Identify 3 potential publishers/printers by Aug. 15th.
- Decide on a publisher/printer by Aug. 20th.
- Save 20 percent from each biweekly paycheck into a separate account to pay for the publishing/printing.
This process may seem long and a bit laborous, but the more work you do on the front end of the writing process, the smoother it will be to accomplish your dream.
Establish relationships with individuals and groups that will provide support and accountability.
After I set goals, I feel very accomplished. However, if I never share those goals or talk about them with someone else, then it’s just another list that I can tuck away and forget about. But if I find likeminded people who can encourage me, coach me, inspire me, and mentor me, then the sense of accomplishment I feel from making the goals, will pale in comparison to when I actually achieve my goals.
Visions are not achieved by lone rangers. It takes teamwork to make the dream work. It is not suprising that some of my closest friends are also book writers. We pray for one another, share writing tips, boost each other’s esteem, and sharpen one another’s skills.
Even if your friends are not writers, seek out a group in your community or online that will provide you with support and accountability. If one does not exist and you have the time, create the group yourself. LinkedIn, Facebook, and Yahoo! have online writer’s groups.
Happy goal setting! I look forward to seeing your published book.
Yours in book writing,