Read the story here. Advertise at Before It's News here.
Profile image
By The Bookshelf Muse
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views
Last hour:
Last 24 hours:

Writing Goals: Seven Ways to Ensure You Reach Them

% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

By Jordan Kantey

The joy of having finished a draft is one of writing’s great pleasures, yet to get there, you need to set – and find ways to keep – writing goals. Here are seven ideas to build accountability and ensure small wins keep rolling:

1. Build Small Habits for Replicable Wins

In the book, Atomic Habits (2018), James Clear writes about how easy it is to think about your goals in terms of major actions rather than the small improvements you can make on a daily basis. His thesis is that small habits established over time become big wins.

Romance novelist, RITA award nominee and Now Novel writing coach Romy Sommer often tells an anecdote in our writing webinars about small habits. When she wrote her first novel she would write snippets in stolen fifteen minutes and half hours while parked in her car, waiting on the school run.

Where in your day can you carve out time and attach writing to something you have to do anyway? How else can you build writing habits that start small but lead to big wins? Keep reading for ideas:

2. Attach Writing to Things You Do by Default

Small, replicable wins – such as writing 500 words daily, to begin – help writing become almost unconscious, like a pianist’s muscle memory. In time, you find the keys without thinking.

One way to make goal-keeping almost automatic is to ‘stack’ habits. This is something theorized by Stanford behavioral scientist BJ Fogg, who suggests using habitual behaviors as triggers for what you want to achieve.

Fogg gives the formula for building a habit you can keep. ‘After I do X, I will do easy-win-Y’. For example, ‘After I start my morning coffee, I will tidy one item in the living room’.

The small, attainable step also brings the higher-effort step closer. For example, as Romy Sommer says regarding ‘stretch goals’:

‘When you sit down to write, decide how many words you’ll be happy to write, and how many words you’ll be really happy to write. Maybe you’ll be okay with writing 300 words in an hour and ecstatic if you reach your stretch goal of 500 words. This way, when you achieve the lower goal, you’ll still feel that the session was a success – and more often than not, by reducing the pressure and performance anxiety from aiming for the higher goal, you’ll actually achieve that stretch goal!’

3. Find Accountability Partners

What is an accountability partner? Someone who shows up when you’re supposed to, checks in, and understands – or even better shares – your goals.

Writing sprints are one kind of accountability tool to ensure you keep showing up to write.

Members of Now Novel’s Group Coaching program often say our daily virtual writing sprints (where members meet in a LiveWebinar room on the hour and write without talking) are a helpful tool for sticking to writing goals and structuring writing time.

Accountability partners are also great because:

  • Writing is often a lonely or isolating process
  • You have people to talk to who understand your creative discipline/field and can make useful suggestions
  • Knowing others are invested in your success nurtures your own motivation

4. Write Your Goals Down and Track Your Progress

In one writing webinar on process, Romy shared a simple yet effective tip for staying focused on your writing goals:

Write a SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-based) goal in a fun design and save it as your phone or desktop background (you could use a free graphic design tool such as Canva).

If you often check your devices, it’s an easy way to fill each day with small reminders of attainable (not massive) actions that support your writing goals.

5. Write And Rewrite to Learn Your Ideal Writing Process

Remember how ‘massive action’ isn’t necessary to reach your goals? Perspective comes with writing a lot and learning that a first draft is almost never the final draft.

Finishing the first run of a manuscript may feel like massive action qualitatively. Yet drafting plus rewrites (with beta reader or editorial input) can take you from something good (and attaining your first goal, completion) to something great – a well-developed story.

6. Stay Open to Revising Your Writing Goals

You only truly learn the actions your goals require by doing and finding out what works for you.

Sometimes you need to revise your timelines due to your preferred process, and that’s OK. Stanford did a study of 1.4 million weight loss app users and found that behaviors in the first week of forming new habits massively influence whether you will stay the course and reach your goals.

This is part of why we conduct an intake call in the first week of our Group Coaching author program – we get to understand each member’s goals better, and often spot any challenges that may necessitate small adjustments to process and expectations.

Revisiting your writing goals and adjusting your timeline expectations if necessary keeps writing from becoming a source of pressure more than pleasure.

7. Journal and Share Progress

Journaling is a powerful tool for self-reporting your feelings, process and progress. Touching base with your aspirations and any attendant fears.

Writing coaches and constructive, caring critique circles function similarly to journaling in helping you stay focused on your writing goals while touching base. They provide a mirror in which you may measure where you were then vs where you are now.

Sharing doubts, writing challenges and conundrums in a supportive environment is a lot like journaling because you have the feedback that helps you remember (and renew commitment to) your goals.

To sum up, writing goals are easier to reach when you build small habits and attach writing to habits you’ve built already. Finding accountability partners and joining writing sprints provides camaraderie and supports building good habits. Keep writing to learn what works for you, and rewrite ten times if you need to, journaling your process or sharing with a critique circle if you find this boosts your focus and motivation.

Now Novel’s Group Coaching author program provides a structured curriculum to write a book in six months. As a member, you get daily writing sprints to help you stay accountable to your goals, weekly workbooks on writing craft and Q&As with experienced writing coaches, personal feedback on your work and regular live webinars on craft, genre and process, plus weekly feedback in small critique groups and story outlining tools. Everything you need to finish a book with structured support, in a writing community that cares. Visit Now Novel to see what alumni loved and learn more.

Jordan Kantey is a fiction editor, copywriter and blogger who writes the Now Novel blog and performs manuscript assessments. Now Novel has been helping authors improve their craft since 2010 with personalized help from published writers and offers author coaching and editing services, short courses, story outlining tools and a critique community where members write more, together. Follow Now Novel on InstagramFacebookTwitter and YouTube for writing tips, prompts, contests and more. 

The post Writing Goals: Seven Ways to Ensure You Reach Them appeared first on WRITERS HELPING WRITERS®.

The Bookshelf Muse is a hub for writers, educators and anyone with a love for the written word. Featuring Thesaurus Collections that encourage stronger descriptive skills, this award-winning blog will help writers hone their craft and take their writing to the next level.


Before It’s News® is a community of individuals who report on what’s going on around them, from all around the world.

Anyone can join.
Anyone can contribute.
Anyone can become informed about their world.

"United We Stand" Click Here To Create Your Personal Citizen Journalist Account Today, Be Sure To Invite Your Friends.

Please Help Support BeforeitsNews by trying our Natural Health Products below!

Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 866-388-7003 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 866-388-7003 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Humic & Fulvic Trace Minerals Complex - Nature's most important supplement! Vivid Dreams again!

HNEX HydroNano EXtracellular Water - Improve immune system health and reduce inflammation

Ultimate Clinical Potency Curcumin - Natural pain relief, reduce inflammation and so much more.

MitoCopper - Bioavailable Copper destroys pathogens and gives you more energy. (See Blood Video)
Oxy Powder - Natural Colon Cleanser!  Cleans out toxic buildup with oxygen! 
Nascent Iodine - Promotes detoxification, mental focus and thyroid health.
Smart Meter Cover -  Reduces Smart Meter radiation by 96%!  (See Video)

Report abuse


    Your Comments
    Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

    Load more ...




    Email this story
    Email this story

    If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

    If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.