Houston Independent School District begins classes on Monday for the new school year. What happened to summer? When I was teaching school, I looked forward to the summer days when I had no papers to grade or grades to average. I set goals for getting things done around the house, activities for my children, and for travel. Most of them were met, and I think it was because of the limited amount of time I had to do those things that I really wanted to do.
Now that I’m retired and have become a published writer, those goals have changed mainly because of deadlines. This summer as I finished up one contract and am waiting on a new one, I found that I needed goals now just as I did when my children were at home, so I set a goal to have the first novel of the new series completed by a certain date.
Goals give us direction and something to be accomplished in a particular amount of time. One of the reasons people give up on their goals is that they set unrealistic goals. Sure, we like to aim high, but if the goal is too far out of our reach, we can become bored, discouraged, or even frustrated that the goals aren’t being met.
Short term goals help us move forward to that one big goal. Goals to meet deadlines make meeting the deadline easier if we stick with the schedule and the goals set. Setting weekly or bi-monthly goals can hone or ultimate goals to doable chunks.
If a writer is undisciplined or disorganized, a goal may be the only to get anything done. Success in meeting the first short term goal leads to enthusiasm for the next step. If we set a goal of writing 2500 words a day, five days a week, we have to be careful not to let the days we don’t accomplish the goal frustrate us to the point of anger and giving up. The wiser thing to do is to look at each day’s schedule and factor in the time needed for unexpected life happenings. Set a goal that is attainable for that day and move on to the next.
Of course, the closer one gets to the deadline, the more important writing goals become. The ultimate goal is to have a completed manuscript by the deadline, but it takes smaller goals along the way to achieve the ultimate one with our editor.
What types of goals do you set for yourself as a writer or for anything else in your life? What tips do you have on achieving your goals?