Writers Abroad Blog
Posted by Nicola

Well, it’s that time of year again—goal setting time. Actually, I’m a little late, but I was totally distracted in December due to the procurement and arrival of the newest member of my household (but in my own defence I did actually have a goal to get a horse.) And here’s a picture of Rufino just because…

So goals. Do we need them? Should we plot out our writing lives with a detailed, in-depth outline, or should we pants our way through the year, writing what we like, when we like (and having heart attacks when we realize we have a deadline looming and no book.)

I love the idea of setting goals...in theory. Among other things, I think goal setting gives focus, motivation and direction. And I also think it’s great to share your goals—seems to make the whole process a little more accountable. But I’m not that good at following them in practice and I don’t get too bothered if I deviate along the way.

I tend to think in terms of long term-goals—where do I want to be in five years? (okay, if I’m honest, I never get very far with this one—just too difficult.) Medium—what do I want to achieve this year? Usually an overall wordcount and a list of books to write. And short term—what do I need to do today? I’m not the most organized of people, but I’ve I’ve started doing daily lists on OneNote and each morning I jot down a list of the things I want to do that day. So today I have – WA Blog, Plot Brazen 3, send outline of spec book to Liz, goals for 2017.

To help me get started writing this blog, I looked up goal setting on google and SMART goals came up again and again. So what is a SMART goal:

S pecific: I’m going to write specific books (actually this is the bit that’s proving difficult at the moment—I’m not sure what I want to do) and I’m going to ride Rufino every other day.

Measurable:  I’m going to write 600k words this year. And Rufino is going to be fit enough to do a 60km ride in April.

A ttainable: Okay 600k might be a little ambitious, maybe 400k? And 40km for Rufino (He huffs and puffs going up hills at the moment—I don’t think he’s very fit.)

R elevant: each individual goal should be relevant to where you want to get to and as soon as I’ve decided that...

T ime-bound: every goal should have a time frame. This might be dictated by deadlines or self-imposed.

So with number 1 crossed off my daily list, I’m off to work out what I plan to do for the next twelve months. Do you all set goals—if so are you SMART about it? If not—why not?

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