Happy New Year all you writers out there! If you have already been published in print, I wish you more of the same in 2013, and if you haven't yet made it in this arena, may this be your year to shine!
Today we're going to talk goal setting for all print writers.
I know it sounds basic, but it really isn't. Here are my 8 best goal setting tips for you to try on for size this year:
- Set only a few goals. Setting a reasonable number of goals helps insure you can focus on them and not get distracted. I personally set only one or two goals each year and then figure out the best path for success.
- Write out the goals. Take out a sheet of paper (yes, good, old-fashioned paper--you do want to be a print writer, right?) and write the goals out. Be specific. Write legibly. Hang them up near your desk so that they are always visible.
- Plan a path to reach the goals. It isn't enough to say "I want to be published in X magazine this year". That's nice, but it doesn't actually do anything to help you get started. What are the steps you need to reach that goal? How many are there? For example, you'll need to study the magazine, come up with an idea, find out who to send it to, write a query, send the query, and follow up on the query. That's six steps. You can break it down more if you like.
- Set up a timeline. Once you have a path, you'll need to estimate the amount of time each step will take. This can be tricky. For example, studying the magazine may seem like something you can do in an hour, but it may take several passes before you get a feel for the style and tone of the publication. Writing the query isn't something that you can whip up in 15 minutes. You get the idea...
- Define any potential problems you see with the plan. Anticipating problems can go a long way toward solving them. For example, if you know that you haven't ever crafted a query before, you know this may be a tough thing for you to do. You might want to build in a step there where you research how to query. Or perhaps you have a vacation coming up and it is smack-dab in the middle of your timeline. Allow for it and give yourself some extra time.
- Execute the plan. After all that work, the execution is actually a fairly simple step. Just make sure you do it!
- Re-tool the plan. If you have problems with step #6, don't just give up. Re-do the other steps and come up with another plan that will work for you. Not everyone is successful on their first try. Give yourself a break--and another chance to get it done.
- Start again! Once you have completed a goal, set another. Once you get used to doing things this way, it gets easier, and you'll become much more organized as a writer.
Writing for print is unique in it's approach in that in order to do it, you really need to be supremely organized. With editorial calendars that can stretch out up to a full year (or more) ahead, falling behind means that you won't be able to get those ideas in for consideration. Try some goal setting and you'll be able to stay on top of things in 2013 and beyond!
Does anyone else have a good goal-setting tip to share? We'd love to hear it!