SMART Goals for Writers

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By Preslaysa Williams

I always get excited about a new year. I have a chance to start fresh and do something new. I’ve set goals, met goals, and left others unmet. Every new year, my goal setting skills have improved.
Some may ask: Why set a goal if you won’t meet it? Here are a few benefits of setting goals:

1. Provides an inner compass. Goal setting directs you towards a specific end result. Goal setting prevents drift. When you have a clear vision, you can always revise your strategy to meet your vision. If you don’t have a vision, then you’re left to live as the wind takes you.
2. Limits stress. Goal setting enables you to focus on your highest priorities. This limits enables you to work on your goals with clear, calm focus.
3. Facilitates planning. You can brainstorm ways to meet your goal. This will help you see if your goal is realistic or not, and it will help you adjust your plan.

Here are some tips to help you set 2017 writing goals. Many have heard about the SMART system for goal setting. Let see how that looks with this sample writing goal: “Write more.”

1. The ‘S’ stands for specific. Right now, our goal of “write more” is vague. What do you want to write? Blog posts? A novel? A novella? A non-fiction book? What’s the title of the book? Or what are the topics in the blog? Let’s say that our writer wants to write a suspense novel entitled: Dead Last. So we’ll revise this goal to say: “Write the suspense novel, ‘Dead Last'”.
2. The ‘M’ stands for measurable.
. How long is the book? How will you know if the book is complete? Here, we’ll revise the goal to say: Write the first draft of ‘Dead Last’, an 80K word suspense novel. This lets us measure how much we have to write, and we know that this is a first draft. A revision goal will be needed in the future.
3. The ‘A’ stands for actionable. Our goal is actionable. It involves writing. Whenever possible, use action verbs for your goals.
4. The ‘R’ stands for realistic. Given your life and circumstances, are you able to meet this goal? If you work full time, when will you write? If you’re a stay-at-home mom, the same question applies. For our sample goal, the writer works 40 hours a week, and so they’ve decided to devote an hour in the morning to work on their novel before leaving for work.
5. The ‘T’ stands for time bound. Every goal has to have a deadline. And all of those deadlines shouldn’t occur at the same time! When setting goals, make sure you have a clear time for completion and stagger your deadlines.

Our sample writer estimates that they can outline ‘Dead Last’ in two months time, and then write 1,000 words a day, five days a week. If they start in January, they can have a first draft completed by July, but they’ll add some buffer time. The final goal looks like this: “Write the first draft of ‘Dead Last’, an 80K word suspense novel by August 31, 2017.”

The next step is to determine one simple thing you could do to meet your goal. o need for long drawn out plans, just think of one item. After that’s done, come up with the next ‘to-do’.

There you have it. A SMART writing goal! What are your writing goals for 2017? Post them below, and I’ll help you make them SMART goals!

preslaysa-williams-hr-4-002Preslaysa Williams is an award-winning author of restoration romance, modern day stories of people who seasons of loss and found the God who restores, strengthens, and establishes the brokenhearted. She is an actress who has appeared on television, Off-Broadway, and regional theatre. Visit her online at

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