When you want to be a writer, the first step is to sit down and write. But then what? You can’t write a book all in one sitting. (Well, you can write a picture book in one sitting. But then you revise it for months, am I right?) It can be hard to get that positive feedback that people need working on your own day after day. How do you know if you’re making progress or doing a good job?
You need to set some benchmarks for yourself that are objective, achievable, and recognizable. The goals also need to be things you are in charge of completing. They can’t rely on other people.
I set goals for every week, every month, and every year. A few years ago, I thought about writing “get an agent” as a goal. But then I crossed that out. Because that is not a goal that I am in charge of achieving. It depends on someone else to like my work. What goal was I in charge of achieving?
Submitting to agents.
So, I set a goal that was like “submit to 10 agents every 3 months.” Another goal was “attend an event with submission opportunities.” I can be in charge of reaching those goals. And they were not too big, they were small steps that I could take within the time that I had.
So set reasonable goals. Then write them down AND write down the work you are doing to work toward your goals.
One classic goal that writers set is a certain number of words a day. Do you just have a mental note of your daily word count? Or do you use a word count tracker? I use a tracker because I love to see that evidence of my work. I look back over it when I need to remind myself that I have reached my goals in the past and I can reach my goals today.
You need to know when you reach your goals. Because when you hit those goals, you need to CELEBRATE those goals! You need to give yourself the pat on the back to keep going.
What’s your favorite way to celebrate? I love a piece of chocolate or a birding walk! Sometimes, I watch a favorite tv show or movie (that counts as professional development!) What do you do?
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