Defining Goals and Redefining Success

ACFW Authors and writing, Encouragement, Friends of ACFW, writing Leave a Comment

By: Janette Melson

As I edited a previous blog before publishing, I realized that I used the word goal a lot. And I concluded that there is a reason for that. According to some of the greatest minds throughout history, goals are a way to keep life exciting, successful, and productive. After all, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time,” Zig Ziglar said. Now while that may sound like success, we all know that achieving nothing is the height of failure. No one wants to be a success at being a failure. LOL! So, set goals.

As a pre-published writer (I like the sound of that better than “unpublished”), I have set several new goals in the last several months. Of course, the overarching one is to get published as an author of Christian fiction. But from now until then, I keep a list of smaller ones which I update as I attain them. These goals are based on who I am, and they work for me, but they may not work for you. They may be too little or too much for your personality type and life stage, so set goals that work for you. Don’t sabotage your personal writing journey by trying to achieve goals that were meant for someone else.

Here is a list of my current goals:

  • Publish a Christian novel
  • Go to first writers’ (ACFW) conference
  • Get an agent interested in my novel
  • Enter First Impressions Contest
  • Improve as a writer
  • Write for at least one hour a day
  • Create a website
  • Start a blog
  • Create a newsletter
  • Join a critique group
  • Keep up with my website
  • Write a new blog entry every 4-6 weeks
  • Create a newsletter every 4-6 weeks
  • Go to second ACFW conference
  • Enter First Impressions Contest again
  • Write 2,800 words per week (approx. 400 per day)
  • Finish half of rough draft (approx. 40,000 words)
  • Finish rough draft of novel by Sept. 2020
  • Enter Genesis Contest in March 2021
  • Write 2,800 words per week (approx. 400 per day)
  • Read other Christian authors
  • Go to third ACFW conference
  • Obtain at least 1,000 subscriptions to my newsletter
  • Go to fourth ACFW conference
  • Sign a contract with an agent
  • Sign a contract with a publisher

Wow! You know what? I’m glad I did that. The checkmarks signify goals I have finished or am consistently reaching. It is motivating to look at all I have accomplished because I often feel like I’m not doing enough or am moving at a snail’s pace. Some of the goals, like writing for an hour a day or writing 400 words a day, are not consistently met. But my weekly goal of 2,800 words is. Like Bruce Lee said, “A goal is not always meant to be reached; it often serves simply as something to aim at.” And as long as I am aiming at that daily word count goal, I am going to reach it sometimes. And as long as I am reaching it sometimes, I am working toward that ultimate goal of publication. And as long as I am working toward that ultimate goal, which I believe is God’s current plan for my life, then I am succeeding, regardless of the outcome. According to Allen Arnold, Christian author, publisher, and ACFW board member, we Christians need to redefine success. Are we doing what God wants? If so, we have already achieved success because it is in the process and not something to chase after.

No one wants to be a success at being a failure. LOL! So, set goals. -Janette Johnson Melson #ACFWBlogs #writetip #critiques #ACFWCommunity Click To Tweet

Janette Johnson Melson, the finalist in the 2021 OCW Cascade Contest, lives in Georgia with her husband, Will, and two rescue pups. She is also blessed with two children, both of whom are married or soon will be, and two grand loves. When not writing, she is a piano teacher.

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