Lots of writers set writing goals. I am not one of them. At least not until now. In trying to take something positive away from 2020, I found that I can achieve goals if I set my mind to it.
This spring, I decided to train to run 5k. Motivated by my dog’s need for exercise, I set specific weekly goals, had an end date in mind, and tracked my progress on my Garmin. Seeing the weekly improvement was both satisfying and motivating. So much so that I was running 5k before my target date.
Coming off that success, I decided to set 2021 writing goals. But how can I make sure I have the same level of success? I realized that I did more than set a goal – I set objectives to meet that goal. Something I had done in previous jobs to reach organizational goals, but something I never applied to my writing.
Goals are a statement about something you want to achieve.
Objectives are the steps you take to meet your goals.
Typically goals are a general proclamation. For example, a charity might set the goal for increasing community engagement. As a writer, your goal might be to write a novel.
Now that you have these goals, how do you achieve them? That’s where the objectives come in.
Objectives are the specific steps you take to meet your goals. They have to be:
- Have a completion date
Like my goal of running 5k, I set weekly targets, tracked my progress, and had a target date.
The same can be applied to writing a novel.
Let’s take writing a novel. You need to break it down into steps. There are many steps involved here, but let’s look at the first draft because Nanowrimo is the perfect example of turning this goal into an objective.
- The first draft of a novel (specific)
- 50 000 words (measurable)
- By the end of November (completion date)
Nano also lets you track your daily word count on their site and gives you badges for passing certain milestones. It’s silly but oddly satisfying. There is also an online community of support. Will you have a publishable novel? No, but you will have an incredible start and the basis of a first draft.
Setting goals is easy – accomplishing them is hard. By using objectives, you create steps to reach those goals.
Now I just have to take my own advice.
What are your goals?