By Martha Rogers
New Year’s is the time for resolutions, or so people say. Most of those who do make resolutions usually break them within the first month. Years ago, I quit making resolutions and started setting goals. These ranged anywhere from getting my office space organized to setting aside time to exercise. By setting short term and long term goals, I’ve been able to accomplish what many hope to do with resolutions.
Once I became serious about my writing, I began setting goals for meeting deadlines I, or later my editor, set for me. Setting goals for each day, week, or month has helped me to meet every deadline but one. I didn’t meet that one because I forgot to factor in emergencies such as a death in the family or serious illness. Now emergencies are a part of the equation.
Early this year I discovered the Novel Track writing group of ACFW. It has been the best thing I’ve done for helping me to reach my writing goals every month. At the beginning of the month, we all set a goal for how many words we want to write and then report daily with our progress toward that goal.
We celebrate with one another when goals are met, but it becomes even more special in how we pray for each other when life happenings get in the way and set us back. Some set goals as low as 5K for the month while others are more ambitious and set goals of 50K. The important thing is to know your own life activities, set aside some time for unexpected interruptions, then set a goal that is within reach.
Several years ago I read a book by Carole Lewis titled Give God a Year. I took the challenge and used a 5×7 note card to write what my part would be for the year and listed five or six things. One of them was to be more faithful in setting and meeting my writing goals. Another was to write for His glory and not my fame. This was before I had a full length novel published.
On the other side, I wrote down what I prayed God would do in my life that year. One of those pertained to writing. My prayer was for an editor to be interested in one of my manuscripts. Others concerned health and finances.
I wasn’t always faithful on my part, but I met the goals for my writing, and God was more than faithful. In June of that year I received my first contract for a historical series. Since that year, I’ve filled out a card almost every year. God is so amazing when our writing is dedicated to bringing Him glory.
Setting those goals for a day, a week, or a month brings about more success because we can handle life better in small chunks than in great big pieces. A novel is written on chapter or even one scene at a time. If a scene hits you, but it doesn’t go where you happen to be in the book, write it down and save it. Then you can insert it wherever it fits best.
The whole point of what I’m saying is that making resolutions for writing more during the next year or paying more attention to writing is great, but setting goals for that writing will get you to the end of that manuscript more quickly and without as much stress.
May you have a wonderful, productive 2017.
Martha Rogers is a free-lance writer and multi-published author from Realms Fiction of Charisma Media and Winged Publications. She was named Volunteer of the year at the ACFW Conference in 2014. She is a member of ACFW and writes the weekly Verse of the Week for the ACFW Loop. Her latest release is Christmas at Stoney Creek.