Writing goals help guide your fiction writing from start to finish, from idea to book store shelves, and you must understand the entire fiction writing process to make these goals work for you. Once you know all of the steps of the writing process and expectations, you can effectively establish great goals for your writing that will guide you effortlessly through the entire process while staying focused and on track.
Goals for writing are just like any other goals for achievement you might make for yourself. The various milestones of your writing journey must be achievable, measurable, have a deadline, and be rewarded upon completion.
Most people write from the hip, which is sometimes a good thing, but without a solid plan, the writing can stop at any time or once your book is written, it may just sit in a box for ten years before it is even touched again. Trust me! I know first hand about that one!
When looking at the dynamics of writing goals, you must look at the entire writing process from start to finish. Your goals should be created with your primary purpose in mind using effective goal setting strategies.
The primary purpose in this case is the end result you want for your book. For example, a primary purpose goal would be formed such as "you want to sell 1000 copies of your new self-published fiction novel by December 31, 2015 and for achieving this purpose, you will earn enough money to seek publication through a major publishing brand."
The primary writing goals for fiction writers are your target or the main goal you want to achieve for your book writing efforts. You should have a primary goal in life (your life's dream) and each of the books you are writing will be your milestone goals that help you reach that primary or ultimate goal.
Each of these milestones have their own set of goals to help you complete them. In other words, your primary purpose of the fiction book you are writing is a stepping stone toward your life's purpose or dream and your current goals should be geared toward getting the stepping stone complete.
Once you have your life's purpose and individual book's primary purpose figured out, then you will work on smaller more action orientated goals that will directly lead up to your book's primary purpose and eventually to your life's purpose. These smaller goals are called the "process goals" and are what you take action on to get the ball rolling toward reaching your primary goal for the book.
Now that you understand the structuring of tiered goals (life's goal, stepping stones, and process goals), you are ready for a rundown on the entire writing process to help you with setting writing goals and actual examples of these goals.
Setting writing goals will help you keep on track throughout the entire fiction novel writing process. You'll start by learning more about the writing process and how to set goals for your writing to help keep you on track from start to finish in an orderly and steady fashion.
The writing process is all of the steps you must take in order to complete your fiction novel. By complete, I mean published and making you money.
1. The Story Idea. Every fiction novel must start somewhere. Yours starts with an idea. Some people naturally come up with great writing ideas for their fiction, but others may need a little help getting started. You can use my creative writing ideas to help come up with more creative content for your fiction story or you can create a new fiction idea to start writing from scratch using my brainstorming techniques.
While you are setting writing goals, this one is your first goal unless you have already written a rough draft of your book). During this step you come up with the idea for your story and create an outline to map out your book from start to finish. Outlines are a great guide to keep your plot on track.
It may be wise to set two goals - one for coming up with a story idea and one for creating the outline.
2. The Writing Stage. This is one of the most time consuming and exciting stages of the writing process and will be your second goal when setting writing goals. This is when you take your idea and outline and turn it into a story. It is usually a very rough draft, maybe hand written or typed, but still in need of some major final touches.
Understanding the basics of writing a book will help you get through this time consuming step. If you love to write, this step will be the most exciting one.
3. The Proofreading and Editing Stage. I put the proofreading and editing stage together because when you proofread your own writing, you tend to catch mistakes and add content to your story during the process. It is also a way to shorten the entire process a little.
You should always self-edit your work at least one time before calling it a final draft. So, the proofreading and editing will be third on the list while setting writing goals. A more thorough, professional edit will come later.
4. The Final Draft. When setting writing goals, this one is the most important. You are getting closer to publishing so you must properly format your manuscript if you are going to publish traditionally or set your book to a standard book format if you are going to self-publish your book. This is also the time you have a professional editor look at your book to correct all of the minor errors before going to print.
The choice whether to publish traditionally through a big named publisher or to self-publish your book is something your should set your sites on before you start writing and before setting writing goals. If you are a new writing, I recommend self-publishing first simply because you can make more money that way as a new fiction writer and you won't have the rejection you will get while looking for a publisher willing to accept your work.
Once you have a successful book from self-publishing, it will be much easier convincing a publisher to consider your work. You can split this stage up into multiple goals in order to work through them in an orderly fashion.
5. The Publishing Stage. Setting writing goals continues through the writing process with publishing your book. Now that your book writing is done, it's time to prepare it for marketing. You will either take the traditional route or the self-publishing route. Either or is fine, but don't expect to find a publisher right away if you choose to go with the traditional publisher, especially if you are a new writer. Sometimes it can take quite a while to find one, after which it can take up to a year to actually publish your book.
Either route you take, learn all you need to know about how to publish a book, then go with the method that is best for you.
6. The Marketing Stage. Choosing the best marketing system for your book can be very tricky. No one is going to sell your book for you unless you pay them a lot of money to do so. This is something you have to do on your own, unless of course you do have enough money in your writing budget to fund a good marketing campaign. But don't fret if you do not have a lot of money for advertising when first starting out. There are many forms of marketing that are absolutely free that will help in this stage.
Either way you look at it, you must consider your writing as a book writing and selling business. You don't have to be a business major or have a lot of training on how to run a business. It's actually very simple and if you are writing under your own name, it can be even easier than you think. Learn how to start your own book selling business with your main product - your book.
Once you establish a great marketing system for your book and the ball is in motion, you should start making money with your book. It's not going to be a lot at first. But the more marketing methods you utilize, the more money you will make in the long run. Once you get some momentum going, you can start working on your next writing project.
Just don't forget to complete one entire milestone before moving on to the next one. If you are going through a traditional publisher, you will have to do some traveling and pre-publishing sales events. But while you are waiting for your book to be published, you can work on another milestone while you wait.
"I will complete the first draft of my book by August 10th. To achieve this goal, I must write one chapter in my book per day. Once the first draft is complete, I will reward myself with a weekend trip to the beach with my family."
When setting effective writing goals, each goal you write down should be achievable, have a set deadline or date for completion, describe how you will accomplish it, and what you will reward yourself with if you finish by your deadline. Rewards are important because they provide additional motivation beyond the mere fact you will be publishing a book.
If you don't finish by the deadline, you should reestablish your timeline for your goals and not be rewarded. This takes discipline, but by following your goals, you are less likely to get writer's block and the goals will keep you on track from start to finish.
Move on to creative writing ideas once you get done setting writing goals for yourself, take action on your goals and create an idea to get started.