Setting Goals

We all have some goals as a writer. Whether you have written them down or just keep them somewhere in your head, they are there. Are they good goals, goals that inspire you to keep going or are you making goals into a torment for yourself? Having high goals may actually keep you from getting where you want to be. If your goals are too high you may not really think (expect) you can reach them. In that case you need to adjust your goals. Set them up as a path you can follow rather than a pinnacle you can’t reach.

These are some goal setting guidelines based on those I read in “Writing for Magazines: A Beginner’s Guide” by Cheryl Sloan Wray.

Start simple. If you are beginning your goals won’t be the same as a writer you has been published a few times and has contacts with editors/ publishers already. Simple goals are comfortable, attainable for as long as you need them.

Challenge yourself. Having simple goals doesn’t mean you won’t be working, challenging yourself to do better and try bigger. Make goals simple so you won’t give up in frustration but challenging enough to be taken seriously, worthy of working for.

Set goals that suit your personality. Don’t try to make yourself into some other writer. Make the goals work for you, your style, your routine, etc.

Be concrete and specific. Goals shouldn’t be too broad or lacking in detail. Don’t have a goal of submitting an article to the local paper. Be specific, plan an article topic and set a date for submitting it.

Share your goals with a few writer friends. Pick a few people who encourage you and let them know what you’re planning. They will help keep you on track.

Check your progress. Mark your progress somehow, keep a goal calendar to show yourself how you are making progress in keeping each of your goals. This way you can look at how far you have come when you need to keep yourself going, along to the next goal.

Stick to it. Remember you made the goals to help you become the writer you want to be. If the goals you set aren’t working for you change them, use the guidelines here to set goals that will work.

Some good goals you could try are: I will write at least a page every day. I will be ready to write by 10:00. I will submit at least 2 of my articles every month. I will challenge myself with the goal of submitting to one big publication each month.

Esteem for Writers

The article is longer but these sections appealed to me and I want to remember them.

Affirm Your Esteem as a Writer
by Ron Kurtus (revised 3 April 2003)

Your esteem as a writer is established by self-appraisal of the quality of your work. You must constantly reaffirm that you area good writer. Self-esteem is fragile, and there are some who may try to lower your esteem through unfair criticism. You must not let others affect how you feel about your work. You should feel that your writing is good and certainly the best you can do.

Obviously, there are some people with more talented than you. Don’t compare yourself with the geniuses or the stars. Rather emulate them and use them as models.

Instead, compare yourself with the average and with your past abilities. If you are better than average, you can hold you head up high. If you are writing much better than you used to, it is something about which to be proud. That builds up your esteem.

There are also people looking to elevate themselves by putting others down. They will not only criticize your work but may make personal comments about you. “Your writing is terrible. And not only that, you’re fat too.”

Realize that such people aren’t talking about you. They are talking about themselves and their own insecurities. Consider the source and don’t let their opinions affect you. Rather, avoid getting an opinion from such people, if you can.

When you look at your work, you should be proud of what you did. You should feel that you do good work. You’ve got to constantly tell yourself this to overcome the negative people. Telling others may convince a few, but it may also be considered bragging.

One important thing in having pride in your work is to make sure that everything you write is well done. This includes letters to friends and relatives and e-mail. Always use a spell-checker before you send an e-mail. Use the spell-checker and grammar checker for any document written on a word processor, especially those you send to other people. Taking such care means you have pride in your work and affirms your self-esteem as a writer.

In conclusion
You must look at your work and feel it is well-done to have self-esteem as a writer. Compare yourself with the mass of writers. Remember that every writer is critiqued or edited. Don’t let critics get you down. Look at your work and reaffirm that you are a good writer. A writing career is a lot of work, but it is well worth the effort.

You do good work. You are a champion.