Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Guest Post by Tara Heath

Setting Writing Goals

Guest Post by Tara Heath

Make a Plan to Write 

When it comes to writing, especially if you work in a creative field, it can be strange to think about writing a certain amount of words or a certain amount of pages every single day. After all, writing is supposed to be creative, right? While the words certainly do begin to flow sometimes for many writers, there is a certain amount of discipline involved in regularly creating content. In fact, many successful writers claim that routine is perhaps more important than inspiration -- at least when it comes to really getting the bulk of their work done. If you want to finish your writing in a timely fashion, making a plan and setting a regular goal is something that you absolutely need to do.

  Image Courtesy of Wikipedia 

Determine Your Goals 

Before really making a plan to write, you need to know what exactly your goals are in terms of your writing. If you're simply doing it for fun or to relieve stress, writing for just 30 minutes per day should be your main goal. However, if you're looking to write a novel, finish a book, or create web content for sale, you need to think about when you want to reach your goals. For example, a goal could be to write a novel in one year or to create five pieces of web content each day. They're very different goals, but they both require you to set aside a certain amount of time per week for them.

Find Out If Your Goals are Feasible 

So, you want to write that novel in a year or create web content every day. Before you can make a plan to write on a regular basis, first determine when you'll be able to write. Do you have a day job? Do you have children that require your attention at night? Understanding how much time and when you can devote that time to writing is an essential part of setting realistic goals. Take a look at your average weekly schedule to determine the feasibility of when you'll be able to get your writing done.

Make Time For Writing 

If you can't find a set time in your schedule to write -- say from 5 to 7 PM every day -- you'll need to figure out some ways to find room for that writing. For some people that means cutting things out of their life that they do regularly. Maybe you can skip a social event once a week, or possibly take on a few less hours at work. If your writing is a priority, but you just don't have time in your schedule right now, you may need to make some tough decisions to make it happen.

  Image Courtesy of Flickr

Set a Standard Goal 

Once you find a time to write -- whether that's an hour per day or five hours on a Saturday each week -- figure out how much you can write in order to set a realistic goal. Perhaps the simplest way to do this is by timing yourself writing in hour-long sessions over the course of a few days. If, over five or six hour-long sessions, you generally create two pages of content, then there's your writing goal! Over time, it is likely that your speed will increase, in which case, re-evaluating your goals is wise. Weekly or monthly goals -- say, 10 pages per week or 25 pages per month -- are also useful. However, they work best when combined with daily goals. Without a daily goal, you may end up scrambling at the last minute to meet your weekly or monthly quota.

Writing to meet a goal might not sound like the most glamorous way to write. However, writing isn't all glamour, and even the best authors of all time had to put in a lot of hard, difficult work. No matter what it is you want to write, creating an actionable plan will help you get to the last page faster.

Tara Heath is a freelance writer in Southern California. Although never having written a book, she finds that making daily goals are essential to accomplishing what she wants to get done. She contributes health and beauty content to the Bellezza Spa blog.