Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Setting Writing Goals—Step One

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         The beginning of the new year is always the time when I start assessing my writing goals for the year. It’s the perfect time to do it, since resolutions are on everyone’s brain and it’s hard to get away from it. :)

I’ve found that the more specific I can be with my goals, the better of a chance I have of meeting them.

I can deal with bite-sized goals. Or even finding out what it is that I want.

I’ve mentioned before that my writing never really took off until I figured out that I really wanted to share it. I wanted to be published—I wasn’t satisfied keeping my writing to myself anymore. But it took me a while to even figure out that was what I wanted to do.

I thought, since I’ve noticed a lot of new readers and new lurkers lately, that I’d do a mini-series on setting writing goals. I know a lot of my longtime blog friends’ goals—and I’ve read some of their books! But a lot of folks might be just trying to figure out what they’re wanting to do with their writing.

So if you haven’t focused yet on the early part of goal-setting with your writing, it’s worth asking, who am I writing for?

Are you writing for yourself? For a small number of people (family or friends?) For a specialized market? For genre readers? For a wider audience?

I think I’d take it a little farther, once I knew the answer to that question. If you’re writing only to please yourself (and I did that for a long time, myself, and found a lot of pleasure in it), then are you looking to improve your writing? In other words, how much time do you want to spend learning about writing (reading craft-related blogs, reading books on writing, and practicing writing)? Are you satisfied with where you are, or are you wanting to grow?

If you’re looking at writing for a small number of people (some memoirs, family histories, etc.), then I’d set a goal for finishing the project, for knowing when it’s finished (is an independent editor needed? How perfect does the copy need to be for these readers?), and for figuring out the format for the book and how I wanted to share it (self-publishing? Kindle through Smashwords? POD?)

If I was interested in writing for a larger number of people—that opens up a whole other set of goal-setting questions, so I’ll start on that tomorrow. :)

Have you thought about for whom you’re writing? Have you ever changed from writing for yourself to writing for others?