By Debra Eckerling, author of Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals (January 2020)
[Editor’s note: In this time of world chaos, we wanted to present something positive for you to focus on, as you deal with the changing times.]
It’s an opportunity to jump into new writing projects … and perhaps revisit some old ones. Whether your long-term goal is to sell a manuscript, get an agent, or break into a new publication, start by setting some short-term writing goals.
I’ve made it easy, and listed some goals to get you started. Keep the ones that resonate, tweak the ones that don’t quite hit the spot, and add new ones that will help you reach your long-term goals.
Here are 10 goals to set you up for writing success in 2020.
- Journal Regularly. I’m not going to say journal daily, because for most people that’s not realistic. However, you can make some time for journaling. Spend 5 or 10 minutes, a few days a week, brainstorming your projects, retelling funny people-watching stories, or sharing thoughts of what’s going on in your life. A journal is multipurpose, in that it’s a tracking document for what’s going on in your life, personally, professionally, and creatively. Use it as such.
- Research. This is going to be the year you get a leg up as a professional writer, right? Well, if what you’ve been doing is not quite working, try something new. Research new publications, agents, and professional development groups. And don’t stop there. Write a pitch, send a book proposal, go out networking, or all of the above. You never know where research and new connections may lead.
- Explore a New Genre or Format. Just like researching new places and people to pitch, why not switch up your writing too. Are you a horror writer? Try writing something personal. A technical writer? Give poetry a try. Here’s a secret, this is for fun. You don’t have to show your work to anyone, unless of course you love it and you want to.
- Learn. There is no shortage of continuing education opportunities for writers, both in person and online. Find a conference or workshop to attend. Even better, offer to volunteer at one. By working at an event, you will make even more connections, in addition to learning new things.
- Do Something Creative. What – besides writing – gets your creative juices flowing? Painting? Playing or listening to music? Cooking? Gardening? Dancing? If you don’t have a go-to creative outlet beyond writing, it’s time to find one. Try new things throughout the year, and stick with the ones that resonate.
- Refresh your Website or Blog. You are a professional, and your website should showcase that. Give your website a mini-makeover. Re-read and re-do your bio page, upload a new headshot, and write a new blog post. And, while you’re at it, send out a newsletter. I’m sure your readers and followers would love to hear from you.
- Clean up your LinkedIn Profile. As a social network for professionals, LinkedIn is often the first place people search for you after you meet. Make sure your Summary and Experience sections are up-to-date, and that each includes one or two multimedia links or files.
- Spend Time on Social Media. A social media presence is necessary in any business, and that includes writing. Even if you have not yet become known, you should have public social media pages for yourself or your business. It’s another one of those things that gives you a professional leg up and enables you to showcase your expertise by sharing your own content, as well as links your readers will find interesting.
- Have Fun. Add fuel to your writing background by going on adventures. These can be close to home – or even at home – or in faraway places. The point is to have fun, enjoy experiences, and learn new things that you can bring back to your writing and in turn share with your audience.
- Revisit a Passion Project. Give yourself permission to spend time on a passion project. You know the one – it’s that book, essay, or screenplay that you always wanted to write. Even if it’s an hour a week – or a few hours a month – the time adds up. Stop thinking about it and start doing it. This is your year.
As a writer, it’s important to constantly hone your craft, have new experiences, and put your best foot forward. These goals will give you a head start for a productive and writing-infused 2020.
Best of luck reaching your writing goals.
Debra Eckerling is the author of Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning, and Achieving Your Goals (Mango Publishing, January 2020), as well as the self-published Write On Blogging: 51 Tips to Create, Write & Promote Your Blog and Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages.
A goal coach, project catalyst, and founder of the D*E*B METHOD®, Debra works with individuals and businesses to set goals and manage their projects through one-on one coaching, workshops, and online support. Note: DEB stands for Determine Your Mission, Explore Your Options, Brainstorm Your Path. She is the founder of Write On Online, a live and online community for writers, creatives, and entrepreneurs, as well as host of the #GoalChat Twitter Chat (Sundays at 7pm PT) and the Guided Goals Podcast.