Jan 16, 2012


Reading: I Don't Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson

Listening to: Gin Wigmore

A few days ago Anna wrote about New Year's resolutions. I don't set any as they'd never make it past the first twelve hours of January 1st. But I am a big fan of goals for my career. Goals help keep me focused and on track throughout the year. With goals I achieve far more writing than if I leave it all to chance. If I know I've got a year to write a book it will take me a year and I'll write most of it in the last couple of months. Whereas if I sign a contract to do three or four in a year I will do them. My contracts are part of my goals.

I think I've always set goals, whether it's been to score high in professional exams, to get a promotion or study further. But I find as a writer working from home I need those goals to get me sitting down at my computer daily. It's too easy to be distracted, especially at the moment when the water's sparkling and calm, and the kayak looks tempting. So I have daily, weekly, yearly and five yearly targets. Not to say I always reach them. Not me.

Years ago while working in real estate I wrote up goals, one of which was to fly the Alaskan Highway. One of our top salesmen asked me when I intended doing this and I told him "when I've sold x number of houses". His reply, "That's a dream, not a goal. To be a goal you need to have a finite date." He was right. Ahh, and I've never flown that highway.

I belong to the Blenheim romance writers group and at the beginning of every year we hand in a list of our writing goals for the coming twelve months. The best bit about this is in December when, with cocktails at the ready, we open the envelopes and have a darned good laugh.

Do you have goals? Do they keep you focused?


  1. Hi Sue,

    Yes, I have writing goals for each year. Our local writers' group does something similar to yours - writes them down at the beginning of the year then checks them in December. Sadly I was unwell earlier this month and didn't make the goal setting meeting but have plans to do that myself as soon as I send off the current ms. Having those goals is so important to me otherwise I think I'd fiddle around far too much and neglect what I should be doing. I like goals I can check along the way - some smaller chunks of tasks so I can be sure I'm on the right track too.

    I hope you manage to get out on that kayak soon.

  2. Annie, don't you worry about the kayak, it's a reward at the end of the day as long as the afternoon breeze doesn't kick in.
    Isn't it amazing how much time and effort we can waste "fiddling"?

  3. That's a good idea to write your goals down with your writing group and check back next year. I usually have my goals (and dreams) in my head rather than written down. I think writing them with a group would keep me more accountable...especially since fiddling around doing all manner of other things is so much fun!


  4. Cath, actually going through the process of writing down your goals makes them more real. I also have mine written where I can see them any time I get a bit off track.

  5. Hi Sue - my writers group work out our goals every January. We have a mid year check in and then celebrate our successes at Christmas. They keep us grounded over the year.
    Great post.

  6. ARGH! Sue! I'm bad! I don't write down my goals... I keep them loosely in my head. And unfortunately it's all too easy to let them fall out of there or get caught up in that fiddling thang! LOL

    Okay, so y'all have given me food for thought!


  7. Helen, it's great the way our local writers' groups make us all commit to our goals. I'm always amazed how everyone in the Blenheim group achieves all or nearly all they write down. I think this also makes us realise we have a lot of support.

  8. Hey, Sharon. I'm getting a funny picture of things falling out of your head. But your system must work for you as you're getting boooks out there. Cheers.

  9. No goals set here. In another life I did.

  10. Hi Sue,
    At the Melbourne Romance Writers Guild, we're encouraged to set monthly goals at each meeting and then yearly goals at the Christmas meeting. The monthly goals help us stay on the right path.

    You sound like me - you work better under prssure :)

  11. Love it, Marybelle.

  12. Yes, Serena, I definitely need that pressure to finish anything.

  13. Am high-fiving you, Sue, as I am a definite goal-setter too. This year I have monthly as well as yearly goals (had to break the yearly goals down into months just to make sure I physically had the time to fit them all in (-: ) But they definitely keep me focussed and on-target.

    Good luck with your goals for 2012, and may there be many sunny afternoons in the kayak.

  14. I love setting goals and writing it all down, but never follow through. This year will be different, note to self! All the best with your own goal setting, Sue.

  15. Michelle, I even get down to daily word counts sometimes to kickstart myself.
    Joanne, good luck with following thorugh in 2012.