Monday, October 29, 2007

Set SMART Goals When Writing Your Book

I have learned that in order to accomplish something (well anything actually), particularly your long awaited manuscript, you should establish goals for yourself. Famous authors (like Dan Brown) I've heard set strict regimen to their writing routine. Nobody became an overnight best-seller. It takes time to write the perfect story or the ideal novel.

A writing tip would be to make your goals SMART (that's an acronym for)
  • S - Specific. Be specific about what you want to accomplish. Make sure they are operationally defined, meaning they are described in such a way that you know the final output. For example for people who probably have more time in their hands, I will write 2 pages a day or for the busier folks, I will invest 4 hours of my time weekly to writing.
  • M - Manageable. Don't be over enthusiastic about your current project that you decide to allocate your whole day to one particularly activity and neglecting everything else. What will happen is that you will end up with a whole lot of back log the next day, or worse, you'll burn yourself out and not write at all. Manage your writing career as you would all the other important aspects of your life - in moderation and balance.
  • A - Attainable. Set goals that are attainable. If you raise the bar too high, this might just discourage you and you end up not accomplishing anything at all. You don't need to finish writing your book tomorrow (unless you've got an offer lined up and you really need to, but really). This is more often than not, the cause for writer's block. The pressure to c0mplete your book becomes too much to handle and you end up with a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure. Make sure that the goals you set for yourself are within your means to achieve.
  • R - Realistic. Life is full of unexpected surprises. Your sister might get pregnant or your office might want you to go on an overseas conference. Make sure you allow some break time in between your goals, or cut yourself some slack. In a perfect world, there is time for everything. However in the real world, time for one thing will cut into time allocated for other things. So when setting your writing goals take into account a day or two of possible diversions.
  • T - Time. Time is not always on your side, but time is what you make it. Your goals should always be tied to time. You should stick to it. As long as you have set allowances and were realistic about your goals, you should have given yourself enough time to achieve your target for set periods.

As long as your goals are SMART and you stick to them. Be persistent and surely you will be able to see a finished manuscript within a year or so into writing (depending of course on your goal).

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