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Why Goal-Setting is Important for Writers and How to Set Goals for Your Own Writing

By Audrey Quinn

Have you ever had something BIG you wanted to accomplish, but were unsure of how to do it? 

Maybe it’s securing a dream job, or finishing an intricate art project, or traveling somewhere you’ve always wanted to go. No matter the end point, you’ve likely had some experience of setting goals for yourself and then working to achieve them. Goals are important–they give you something to look forward to and strive for, and give you a sense of purpose in your life. 

Goal-setting is also an important process for writers! 

Why is it important for writers to have goals for themselves? What sorts of goals do writers set for themselves, and how can you apply this to your own writing practices? Read on to find out!

Why setting goals helps writers

Writing goals give you something concrete to work towards. 

Whether your end goal is a novel, a script, or a poem, having some idea of where you want your writing to go is important to know before getting started. It also serves to keep you focused and on track. 

If your goal is to write a novel, you’ll be able to set smaller goals along the way that guide you toward this bigger goal. Maybe a short-term goal would be to finish one chapter, and then a slightly longer-term goal would be to finish five chapters and then go back and revise what you have so far. 

Goals help you see your accomplishments

Having goals for yourself as a writer and then completing them gives you a sense of satisfaction and achievement. It’s especially important to be able to look back on all the things you’ve accomplished so far when you feel stuck or discouraged. 

There will be times when you might want to give up on your bigger goal and, in those moments, you can look back on all the steps you’ve worked through that you once thought were so challenging.

Types of writer goals

What are some types of goals writers set for themselves, and how can you incorporate them into your own writing practices? 

There are many different goals writers set for themselves, which fall into a few categories. 

There are goals related to the quantity of writing, goals related to revising your writing, goals related to the final product, goals related to publishing your writing, and more! I  recommend thinking about each of these categories, how they relate to you and your writing style, and setting a few goals for yourself in each of them.

Below are a few suggestions for each category:

Quantity of writing

  • How many words do you want to write a day? 
  • How long do you want your final writing project to be?
  • How much time do you want to spend writing each day? Each week?

Revising your writing

  • How many people do you want to help revise and review your writing?
  • How many chapters, sections, or pages of your writing do you want to revise each day? Each week?
  • How many times do you want to revise your writing?

Final product

  • What is the final genre or form you want your writing to have? Is it a novel, a script, a poem, a shot story, etc?
  • Who do you want to share your final work with?

Publishing your writing

  • Do you WANT to publish your writing?
  • How many publishers do you plan to contact?
  • What are you looking for in a publisher? 

Having goals for yourself is about more than just having a checklist to follow. It’s about daring to dream about the places your art can take you, and others with it. 

Every dream has to start somewhere, and I encourage all writers to dig down deep and find that “big thing” they want to write about in their lifetime. 

After you do, set some measurable goals for yourself and embark upon your writing quest with an adventurous spirit and glimmer in your eye!

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