Thursday, December 4, 2008

Setting Goals

One of the most important things you can do for yourself as a writer is set goals. When I first came back to writing in 1993 - after too many years convinced I wasn't capable, I knew I needed to set goals for myself. At the time, I was working full-time, had two young children, a husband, and numerous animals all needing something from me. How could I reasonably add writing to my life?

I first decided that even writing fifteen minutes a day would be worthwhile. While it doesn't seem like much, after four days, I would have an hour's worth of writing completed. Add it up over the month, and I've accomplished something. I decided that I could finish at least one article or story each month. While this doesn't seem like a fantastic goal, it was a workable one. If I had aimed too high, I would have been frustrated when I didn't achieve my goal.

When I researched a market for the story, I would be sure to find at least three suitable magazines. If the story was rejected the first time out, I would be ready with the next market. This way, a story was always in play. When the first story went out, I started in on the next. It's important to set realistic goals for yourself. You don't want to be trapped in a negative space. It's better to shoot a little lower and achieve higher, than to shoot for a goal you'll never attain.

Carefully consider your own time constraints. When do you have time to write:
  1. In the morning before work?
  2. After the kids are in bed at night?
  3. While the baby is napping?
  4. During your lunch hour?
  5. Waiting for your bus?
  6. During your train or bus ride to work?
  7. At the dentist or doctor's office?
If you can't find fifteen minutes in your day, maybe you need to re-prioritize. What can you give up? Exchange walking the dog with your husband every other night? Take turns with other family members making dinner? Do child care exchanges with other writing moms?

If you look hard enough, you'll find your fifteen, thirty, or sixty minutes to write.


  1. I write a lot of poetry, and one of the things I've found is that I can take advantage of waiting time in doctor's offices and the like by taking in my trusty notebook and pen and writing something. Or at least thinking about writing something. Yesterday while waiting for the audiologist I wrote two poems. Hot diggity --found writing time. It feels a lot better than reading magazines.

  2. Poetry is a great idea when you're strapped for time. Amazing how much you can get written during snippets of your life.