Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Do You Have Writing Goals for 2010?

Have you set your writing goals for 2010 yet? Setting goals is easy when you use the SMART format:

S= Specific. Identify a concrete product that you intend to create, e.g., a novel, a nonfiction book proposal, a short story, a memoir.

M= Measurable. Goals should include something you can count on a daily basis, e.g., finish five pages per day or two chapters per week.

A= Achievable. Set goals you know you can reach. Most people set goals too high, get discouraged, and quit. Setting goals you have a good chance of making sets you up for success.

R= Realistic. Again, set goals that are do-able for you and your lifestyle.

T= Time Limited. Give all goals a deadline and track your progress using some type of log.

Once you have goals, create action steps that you will take on a daily basis to reach these goals. This can include setting aside time after dinner each evening to write, going to the library on weekends to do research, or taking classes to improve your skills. I call this your Writing Action Plan™.

Post your plan somewhere that you will see it every day, and reward yourself weekly for making progress toward your goals.

Learn more ways to set and achieve writing goals in TIME TO WRITE: More Than 100 Professional Writers Reveal How to Fit Writing Into Your Busy Life-- No Excuses, No Distractions, No More Blank Pages (Adams Media).


What are your writing goals for 2010? Leave a comment and be entered into a drawing to win an autographed copy of BREAK INTO FICTION by bestselling authors Dianna Love and Mary Buckham.


  1. Ok, I'll start! My goals for 2010 are to complete drafts of three different novels by the end of the year. Not necessarily good drafts, but ones where I actually type "The End"! One of my major hurdles is actually finishing anything, so I have nothing to revise, or send out.

    My plan is to write one draft every 4 months, by writing 1000 words per day. Once I get one finished, I'll put it away for a few weeks, start something new, but then come back to the first one after it has steeped for a bit.

    By the end of 2010, the first draft should be polished enough to send out for contests or queries, which is the other goal for 2010, actually send something out! The second and third stories should be somewhere along in the revision process by then as well.

    I've begun getting up at 4:30 in the morning for some writing time. I'm not totally productive yet, 'cause day-um, thats early! But having a daily goal and getting the perfectionist monkey off my back should help some.

  2. I guess it is time to think about that, isn't it? A realistic goal for me would be to complete the first draft of my fiction manuscript by the end of of June and to write and submit at least one story or article monthly. I think that is doable and realistic. Thanks for the push, Kelly.

  3. Kelly ~~ Great and timely blog! Last year I chose to read a great craft book a month. And trust me both your TIME TO WRITE and THINKING WRITE were on the list - thank you! Found the year so much more focused with writing mentors daily.

    Cheers and here's to a productive and goal-orientated 2010! Mary B

  4. My goal for 2010 is simple - complete one of the manuscripts I've been working on for a long time in time to pitch at my writing conference. Then I want to finish the other manuscript I've been working on for a long time by the end of the year. That's certainly doable. My problem is not only finding the time but making the time to write. I can find time every day to write. No more excuses. So that's it, short and sweet-two ocmpleted manuscripts is my goal for 2010.

  5. Hi Kelly –

    Great list to get everyone’s writing kick started for the New Year. I’ll add one more suggestion to everyone’s list – read a copy of TIME TO WRITE. I meet writers all year who ask how published authors with family and jobs to juggle (many still work a day job) manage to hit their deadlines and turn out several books a year. I always suggest TIME TO WRITE and love hearing later from those writers about how your book showed them they could also be productive.

    The other great thing about your list is how it works for everyone. I’ve never had a structured schedule because of having contracted in business for so many years, which meant working weekends, holidays, whenever, yet sometimes being off in the middle of the week. I use a weekly “time limit” and if I miss a day writing I just have to work longer hours another day to make up the pages.

    Thanks for giving away a copy of Break Into Fiction and I wish all the writers out there many good writing days ahead.

    NYT Best Seller Dianna Love

  6. Hi everyone!

    Thanks for the great comments and great goals! Thanks to Mary Buckham and Dianna Love, the authors of today's giveaway BREAK INTO FICTION, for stopping by!

    Ladyroh, writing 3 manuscripts in 12 months would be a challenge for anyone! Good luck!

    DJ, very solid, reachable goals there for you I think. Keep me posted on your progress.

    Mimi, you make a good point-- the other half of finding time to write is sitting down to write when that time arrives! Good luck!

    Mary, thanks for stopping by! I like that goal, to read a craft book each month. I will have to try that.

    Dianna, thanks for your comment and for coming by. I like your idea of a weekly time limit.

    I will do the drawing tomorrow morning to give more people time to comment. Make sure to check back by to see who won BREAK INTO FICTION!


  7. My goals include to plan more time for promos, edits of the four novels I finished this year and write at least one more. I also plan to read one craft book a month in addition to the books I have to read for my job (yes, I am required to read novels as part of my job at a bookstore - really hard part of the job!) ;)

  8. This is such good, simple, "I can do it" information. Great reminder that we can plan and meet our goals, we just have to keep it all balanced and realistic. Thanks!

  9. I have three goals. First, I have to finish the short I've started. That I must have finished before the Silken Sands Conference in March. Second, I will also have my edits to do on "Battlesong" to be released in August. The time line will depend on when the editor gets them to me.

    And last, I have to finish "Follow The Flames" another historical I'm rewriting (it's toooo long at the moment) That I must finish by December of 2010. I have it 1/2 finished now, so it's doable.

    Kelly your advise about setting a daily goal of so many words or pages has helped me tremendously. I know I can achieve my goals now.

    aka Allison Knight

  10. Hi Vicky! Sounds like you have a great job! :)

    Joanie, thanks for stopping by!

    Martha, those are great deadlines! Good luck.


  11. My goal for today is to set out a month-by-month, day-by-day strategy for meeting my writing goal for this year, finishing two books and plotting out two others. Thanks for this helpful post, which provides a framework for my thinking. My challenge is that daily word count or hours spent writing don't necessarily move me forward. This time, I'm going to do it differently. Not entirely sure how, but I'm working on that.

  12. Martha (Allison), you have won the autographed copy of BREAK INTO FICTION! Please email me.

  13. Hi Kelly. You know I'm already a big fan of yours! And you'll be happy to know that I posted my Plan for 2010 on my blog before I even read this one about goals. I do need to make it more specific, though, and will work on that tomorrow! Thanks again for great advice!

  14. Hi Becky! Thanks for stopping by and great job on the goals!