Your Writer Goals

Mt EverestA blog reader wrote, “Can you recommend any helpful sites or books aimed specifically at aiding debut writers in assessing publishing goals? Between writers groups and web advice, I’m completely losing sight of what I truly want for my work. Maybe I’m searching for a magic wand – but the aimless wandering is driving me mad.”

I agree this publishing world is very noisy, what with all those crazy bloggers spouting advice everyday (who, me?) and the social networks filled with every stripe of writer imaginable talking about their books.

And amidst all this, it can be easy to lose sight of what you’re doing this for. Maybe when you started, you were just compelled to write, but along the way those amorphous “publishing dreams” began to take hold of you.

I can’t point you to any goal-setting help specifically for writers. I think it’s important to re-assess what you’re doing and why you’re doing it every now and then, looking at the environment and asking if your goals are doable, and determine if you’re still headed in the direction you want.

As far as goal-setting, traditional business wisdom says that goals should fit the “SMART” guidelines. They should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Does that fit with a writing path? I imagine it could.

Tell me:

How do you figure out what your writing goals should be? 

And what are three of YOUR specific writing goals?


Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Gardner Literary. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


  1. […] As you get ready for the Maranatha Christian Writers Conference, here is some great advice from Literary Agent Rachelle Gardener.  You can find more from Rachelle here. […]

  2. John Waverly on September 27, 2011 at 1:21 AM

    To be honest SMART goals could do with a bit of editing…they’re just too wordy. Someone really stretched to come up with a word for each one of those letters. You can save yourself a lot of headache and just use MT goals: Measurable and Time-based.

    If a goal is Measurable with numbers, it will automatically be Specific, so we can drop the “S”. Attainable and Realistic are really the same thing, but when it comes to goals don’t worry about them. You can always revise unrealistic goals, so feel free to shoot for the stars. That means we can drop the “AR”.

    This leaves us with Measurable and Time-based. It’s much easier to remember and use. And it produces goals with the pattern of, “I will ACTION NUMBER by DATE” For example, “I will edit 12 chapters by Sept 30th” or “I will send out 10 queries by October 2nd.”

  3. Brianna on September 19, 2011 at 11:45 AM

    My three biggest writing goals are 1. to get my novel published; 2. to go on a book tour for said novel and 3. to be able to call myself a published author rather than just an author.

  4. Nikole Hahn on September 16, 2011 at 10:48 AM

    1) Learn and grow as a writer.
    2) Keep consistent in my writing goals.
    3) Market in a way that is sincere and care about the readers.

  5. Crafty Mama on September 16, 2011 at 12:56 AM

    Discover my niche.

    Write a book.

    Become a full-time editor.

  6. David A. Todd on September 15, 2011 at 10:55 PM

    1. Finish my current work-in-progress, a novel
    2. Resume writing articles for and begin writing articles for Decoded Science
    3. Resume work on my next non-fiction book, “The Candy Store Generation”.

  7. Melissa Pearl on September 15, 2011 at 9:18 PM

    Thanks for a great blog post again 🙂 I SMART with my school kids. It’s a great way to set goals.

    My top three at the moment are:
    Finishing editing my latest manuscript ready to pass on for critiquing.

    Read “The Art of Fiction”. I try and read a good book on writing before I start a new project. It gets my head back in the game and I always learn something new.

    Continue reading at least one YA book a month. Like they say, a good writer is a good reader. I’d love to read more, but I’m not that fast and I have two kids under 4. Time is a precious commodity 🙂

  8. Janet on September 15, 2011 at 6:25 PM

    In December 2010, I set several writing goals for the coming year. I have already accomplished four of them. Yay, me!

    I have remaining:

    1) Finish revisions to “Normal Is So Overrated” by 10/31/11.

    2) Write a 50,000 word novel between 11/1/11 and 11/30/11 (Thanks to Chris Bady’s book, “No Plot, No Problem” and the support of one of my writerly friends, I signed up for NaNoWriMo). I have a number of smaller goals involved with this challenge and have been doing advance research and planning in support of it.

    3) Establish 2012 writing goals by 12/31/11.

  9. otin on September 15, 2011 at 6:01 PM

    My writing goals are very simple:

    I want my writing to be read by many.

    I would like to earn something from it.

    But mostly, I want people to read what I write and come away saying,”WOW! I can’t believe how good that is!”

    Lofty goals, I know.

  10. CG Blake on September 15, 2011 at 5:42 PM

    My three goals are to:

    1. Write a novel each year.
    2. Blog at least three times a week.
    3. Engage with other writers on a daily basis.

    There’s just never enough time, so #1 has to be the #1 priority.

  11. Eric Dean on September 15, 2011 at 4:59 PM

    I try to remember to always pray about things regarding my future. I suppose that would include my goals too!

    As for my writing goals, I believe that God is “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine…” (Ephesians 3:20) So I’m not really concerned about being ‘realistic’.

    I’m hoping:
    1. To change people’s lives in a way that brings them to/closer to God.
    2. For the ability to be a career novelist.
    3. For a bestseller (and all the things it takes to get me there!)

  12. Marilynn Byerly on September 15, 2011 at 4:36 PM

    Vicki Hinze who is not only a very successful author but also a great writing teacher has a number of articles on career planning for all stages of the writer’s career.

    I found a few of them here:

  13. Kathryn Elliott on September 15, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    I think it is time to plug in the Goal GPS and find my best path. Could be the traditional publishing highway, could be the road less traveled? Thanks Rachelle, good food for thought.

  14. Dianne Liuzzi Hagan on September 15, 2011 at 2:36 PM

    My goals are quite specific:
    1) Learn more about the language needed to talk about my topic (memoir, race and culture). I got my first master’s degree in education with a concentration in multiculturalism.
    2) Learn the best way to write and share my story. I got my second master’s degree, the MFA (don’t worry, surprisingly, my work paid for both!)
    3) Complete a manuscript during the two-year MFA program. I initially thought I would complete two — I’m optimistic or stupid. I did turn in a completed manuscript for my thesis.
    4) Revise to turn it into a book worthy of publishing. I took six months and went over the manuscript carefully and with intention, restructuring, strengthening, etc.
    5) Create an internet presence. I created my Facebook page and Blog.
    6) Find an agent who wants to represent my work and work with me to develop my career. This one is probably the most difficult, because I feel impatient with the process and discouraged and sometimes like maybe no one wants to read about my life story. But I keep trudging on. I think it’s a realistic goal, but if, after some months, I wonder otherwise, I will go to plan B. No goals to become wealthy and famous — everyone wants to do that these days! I just want to tell my story in an interesting and honest way.

  15. Terri Thompson on September 15, 2011 at 2:23 PM

    Since I don’t have deadlines yet, I set goals according to my work and family schedule. I figure I have so many hours to work in an average week and plan to finish a chapter or book after a set number of days, weeks, months. One day deadlines will determine much more and I think they will motivate me more effectively. 😉

    My current goals:
    -I finished a manuscript in June and have been editing and deepening the characters since then. My goal is to have it in good shape by December.
    -To send out queries and proposals in December
    -To begin the characterization and plotting of the next book in January.

  16. Reba on September 15, 2011 at 1:13 PM

    This post has caused me to stop and seriously think about my goal.
    As for this writer my top 3 goals are pretty simple, but not easily obtained.
    1. To be a successful author.
    2. To continue to write stories that pull my readers in where they want more.
    3. For my work to be picked up by a serious publishing house.

  17. Diana Dart on September 15, 2011 at 12:36 PM

    Great post. Cheers to public goal-setting and accountability.

    Professional Goals for My Fiction Work

    1) Finish my WIP, including first set of revisions, by year end.
    2) Nail down theme/layout of my new author blog and get it going.
    3) Establish a relationship with an agent.

  18. KimatSafkhet on September 15, 2011 at 12:33 PM

    my personal three writing goals are:
    1. keep writing (check). Write everyday (check). Connect with people at least once a day (check).
    2. write what I like and not what others want me to write. Goes along with wearing the clothes I like rather than practising conformism and wearing what everybody wears… yuck.
    3. ? stay alert – pick up trends but stick to 2.

  19. joan Cimyotte on September 15, 2011 at 12:32 PM

    My immediate goal is to have an agent take on my novel.

    1. To stay focused despite all the life distractions.

    2. To polish my manuscript.

    3. To focus on a new project.

  20. Roger Floyd on September 15, 2011 at 12:31 PM

    1. Write an entertaining book.

    2. Write an intelligent book.

    3. Have fun doing it.

  21. Kathleen Pooler on September 15, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    Great post,Rachelle. After two years of learning my craft of memoir writing through conferences,workshops and critique groups and working on building my platform through a weekly blog, I have reached the point of shaping the piles of vignettes and scenes I have gathered into a story. I want to write a memoir that I would like to read and one that will stay with others long after the last sentence. My goal is to finish my first draft by 9/12 which translates into a year of daily writing,focus, ongoing learning and rewriting. I think accepting that writing is hard work requiring patience and endurance has helped me to develop the plan I need to turn my passion into action.

  22. Taryn on September 15, 2011 at 12:27 PM

    In no particular order:

    1) Step out and find out (read: Just send the MS already and stop doubting!!! You’ve written more than seven novels, girl. Stop shelving and start submitting.).

    2) Write to help people. Having the feedback that what I wrote was “so encouraging” is worth more than money could ever do. Eternal worth and value is what it’s all about, because after the ink has dried on the book I couldn’t wait to see in print, then what? Can I take it with me? No, but it was dang fun to write 🙂 Books leave a legacy of some sort, so make it worth the reader’s while.

    3) Confidently use the gift God gave me by advancing and growing it, rolling with the punches and pushing ahead in spite of rejections. This could be starting the next work faster instead of delaying too long, not waiting for the ‘muse’ to show up when she can be darned unreliable. I’m sitting at the table ready to go and she’s still puttin’ on her makeup. No thanks.

    Goals should be something that move you forward and get you out of that comfy familiar place and closer to where the vision lies – beyond the Bic. If you’ve written a story, chances are the next step is the 2nd draft. A goal could be to save up and buy a professional edit, or it might be taking on a writing course to help ID bad parts/techniques. Knowing how to set goals simply requires decisions in the forward direction, applying the plentious info that’s out there.

  23. S. Paul Bryan on September 15, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    These are preliminary goals. As an unpublished writer, I’m starting small. Once I reach each of them, I’ll certainly be reevaluating them.

    1. Consistently spend 16 hours writing, each week. Some weeks I spend a lot more, other weeks, I hardly touch my WiPs. “Write every day,” is not feasable, at the moment. I feel that getting a consistent 16 hours per week will greatly improve my chances of success.

    2. Make $20,000 in one year from book sales. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to make ANY money from writing, but I feel like anything under $10K would be like making money from a hobby. (Which is not a bad thing.) If I can reach $20K, though, I’ll feel like I’m actually starting a career.

    3. Get an agent. I think that self-publishing is going to be a big part of my overall plan, but to do this as a career, I feel I need an agent to keep me motivated and help me navigate the publishing world.

  24. Paula on September 15, 2011 at 12:24 PM

    I want to:
    1) Enjoy writing whatever I’m writing
    2) Write stories that others will enjoy
    3) Hone, revise, and edit my first draft until it’s the best work I’m capable of producing

  25. Katherine Bolger Hyde on September 15, 2011 at 12:21 PM

    My ultimate goal is to write fiction full-time. But that’s not a goal I can attain by my own effort alone—there’s a large element of “chance” involved. (I use the quotation marks because I don’t really believe in “chance.” I believe in Providence.)

    So the goals that I work toward daily have to be goals that depend on me: writing x amount each day, making every word sing, sending out x number of queries, doing xyz toward building a platform. It seems like a shortsighted way to work sometimes, but until a publisher says “yes,” giving me a different set of goals to work toward, it’s all I’ve got.

  26. Jennifer Lang on September 15, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    My goals, with this first project, are simple:

    1) To heal my personal wounds
    2) To honor my experiences
    3) To encourage others and help guide them on the path to personal recovery.

  27. James Scott Bell on September 15, 2011 at 12:10 PM

    May I modestly insert that Part III of THE ART OF WAR FOR WRITERS has goal setting and strategic planning strategies designed specifically for writers?

    And let me add it is SUPER important to set goals that you can put int action. Your goal shouldn’t be to be #1 on some list, for example. That’s out of your hands. But you can write 500 words today. And edit 1000 tomorrow.

  28. Beth MacKinney on September 15, 2011 at 12:03 PM

    Three goals.

    1. Write two articles each week and one group blog post
    2. Critique with my picture book group once a week.
    3. Finish my middle-grade sci-fi rough draft before November (Nanowrimo)

  29. Sharon A Lavy on September 15, 2011 at 11:40 AM

    My friend Mary DeMuth, who is young enough to be my daughter once asked me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

    Meaning, what do you want from your writing.

    I broke down and cried. “I want to encourage hurting women.”

    When my children were growing up, one of my slogans was, “People are more important than things.”

    Now keep in mind, I am not a people person. Socializing drains me. Projects energize me.

    But people’s feelings and hopes and dreams matter so much. It is all about relationships.

    That is how I learned my writing passion is. “It is all about relationships.”

    Even for a mass murderer, it is all about relationships, and deep down hurts coming out.

    So . . . that is my writing focus.

  30. Joe Pote on September 15, 2011 at 11:22 AM

    Thanks for the interesting and relevant post, Rachel!

    The questions posed aptly fit what I have been processing, the last few months.

    I do not think of myself as a professional writer and did not set out with a goal of publishing.

    I teach a small Sunday school class in a small church located in a small town. A few months ago, I taught a series of lessons on a biblical persepctive of divorce, which seemed to really resonate with the class. After several requests for copies of my notes, and several rewrites, I decided to look into seeing what it would take to publish a book.

    I started out with poorly defined goals, and the more I’ve learned about the publishing industry, the more difficult those goals have become to pin down.

    Here’s where I seem to be, right now:

    1. The overall goal remains to be used of God to help others.

    2. In the context of writing and publishing this book (now available as a self-pub paperback, Kindle, and Nook), that means getting the word out, to let people know it is available and may be relevant to them.

    3. To work toward that goal, I have begun learning about social media and begun blogging. I have also discovered that the blog, itself, is a very powerful potential ministry tool, independent of promoting a book, which can add directly to achievement of the primary goal (see 1, above).

    4. So, my immediate next goal is to work on building traffic to my site and encouraging readers to start interactively responding to posts. What Michael Hyatt would call tribe-building…

    Still…it is sometimes difficult to pursue the short-term goals without losing sight of the bigger picture. I sometimes catch myself starting to obsess over number of site hits and low book sales figures, and have to remind myself that the real question should be, “Did God use me to positively influence someone, today?”

  31. Beth MacKinney on September 15, 2011 at 11:14 AM

    Love that SMART acronym, Rachelle. Simplicity helps me.

    I found that ‘The Productive Writer’ was a helpful book for either fiction or nonfiction in making your goals and following through with a system for productivity.

  32. Ginny Martyn on September 15, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    I should add I’m about 7 years in.

  33. Ginny Martyn on September 15, 2011 at 11:03 AM

    I got lost in the mire of publishing a while back and have yet to dig back out.

  34. Patricia Raybon on September 15, 2011 at 10:42 AM

    Beautiful post. In fact, two of my books are releasing this fall from Tyndale. How did that happen? By making my first writing goal to put God first. To focus on what God wants to say to His world. To let him use a nobody like me to share life-changing faith with precious people who need His power.

    I can’t stress that enough for aspiring Christian writers. As we focus on God’s plans, our writing goals move from self to kingdom. The result? Getting published–and a whole lot more. Thank you Rachelle–and writing blessings to all!

  35. Mary Jo on September 15, 2011 at 10:38 AM

    I find when I start going crazy with worries about publishing etc, I need to go back and focus on my writing. That’s the most important thing. If my writing is good, the other part will follow. If my writing isn’t good, it doesn’t matter how many blogs I follow: I won’t get published.


    measurable: get my ms to the proper length. I have a real problem with length (my novel is too short) because I’m always cutting stuff. I feel like Sisyphus pushing that rock up the hill. Write/cut/write etc.

    timely: finish revision in the next month

    attainable: have more people read and critique my ms

  36. Nicole Rushin on September 15, 2011 at 10:26 AM

    I am glad to stumble upon this post and this question. I am working on an ebook designed to help writers and artists with this very thing. I think being creative plagues us with a lack of focus sometimes. Our heads can become so cloudy and we become bogged down in the work we do when we pick up our heads and can’t remember where we were going with it. We have to remember whey we are doing the work and have to have an end goal in mind. It also helps to have an outline for goal setting and vision statements. This is what I am working on because it plagued me for so long. I know there are many others who need help in this area.

  37. Johnnie on September 15, 2011 at 10:15 AM

    Author Mary DeMuth advises that goals be centered on those things we can control. For example, page/word count; attending conferences; sending x number of query letters to agebts. But signing with an agent or a publisher isn’t a goal as much as it is a dream and a hope because we have no control over an agent’s or publisher’s decisions.

    I also like this acronym for personal goal-setting: FOCUS for Follow One Course Until Successful.

    • Charise on September 15, 2011 at 11:27 PM

      I was thinking the same thing. If goals are meant for us to achieve, we have to make sure WE can achieve them.

  38. Krista Phillips on September 15, 2011 at 10:13 AM

    I guess I have different “level” of goals. I have “big” goals like, serving Jesus with my writing, and making at least SOMETHING off my writing to supplement my husbands income.

    But then there are smaller goals to help achieve those. Like word count goals (need to make some of those) and “get an agent” goal that I recently put a check-mark by! I guess my goals is more of a to-do list, and that list is WAY too long to put here:-)

  39. Sandra Ardoin on September 15, 2011 at 10:08 AM

    Other than the completion of my current novel, three of my goals for the next six months are:

    1) Obtain the right agent for my career

    2) Continue to build my web presence through my blog and social media

    3) Create and collect as many marketing ideas as possible in preparation for a future release.

    (My fourth goal is not to stress out while doing the above.)

  40. Susan Bourgeois on September 15, 2011 at 9:52 AM

    I’m writing about a way of life I have experienced. It is unique, funny and heartwarming. There will be a strong commerical appeal.

    I’m writing about family, values and romance and how they work to find happiness in today’s world.

    My goal is to write three fiction novels in a series.

    An additional goal is for all novels to be made into movies.

    A cookbook will be included in the overall brand.

  41. Gillian Marchenko on September 15, 2011 at 9:15 AM

    Thanks for pushing me to pin down my goals.

    In the next six months, my writing goals are:

    1)Continue to build my platform (fb fans, blog, speaking engagements – I have seven lined up so far).

    2)Finish the third draft of my memoir (first two drafts have already been edited professionally).

    3) Query agents.

  42. Joseph Baran on September 15, 2011 at 9:08 AM

    I belief that every good story should be told and heard. Should be sheared. For me as a writer writing stories that are inspired by actual events, the utmost goal is that the story I write can touch someone’s soul if only ever so lightly and change their life if only for a moment, even as they just reflect upon it and upon their own life.

    Needless to say, to achieve a wide audience, the story needs to be published. So that’s the second goal, although it’s rather a necessity.

    The third is to be able to spend more time writing. That means the writing has to be “earning” a paycheck so the current full-time job can take less time that it does now.

  43. Anna Banks on September 15, 2011 at 8:57 AM

    As your writing career progresses, your goals change, of course. Mine is now to keep improving. Make the next book even better than the first. And the one after that, even better. Keep learning the craft. Never settle for good enough. I strive to always get better.

  44. Diane Bailey on September 15, 2011 at 8:28 AM

    My goal is to write a good blog piece once a month, but I usually write more than once.

    My goal is to write a second book. I’m still trying to evaluatie what it looks like.

  45. Peter DeHaan on September 15, 2011 at 8:26 AM

    Earlier this year I posted five writing goals on my blog, Byline. They were:

    1) To complete my dissertation.
    2) To complete the first draft of a biography I am writing.
    3) To redo and update my author website, (which right now is little more than a placeholder).
    4) To begin building my platform as a writer.
    5) To find an agent who will help me develop my career as a writer and find a publisher for my books.

    I didn’t place timeframes on my goals, but I do want to be able to report positive progress by year-end, when I update them.

  46. M. A. Golla on September 15, 2011 at 7:53 AM

    I have one document that has my yearly goals, from eating healthier and exercising (down 25 lbs!) to reading 50 books (read 40 so far), to judging contests (judged 7 contests), to writing two middle grade novels (actually started one, am editing the other, and started a new four book series and have the beginnings of three new stories). I update this as needed, changing the goals if my focus has changed.

    Then I have an e-calendar where I post my monthly goals. I also post when I expect contest entries to arrive–Winter Rose to arrive XX/XX, judged XX/XX, returned XX/XX, so I can factor that into my calculations. I tend to write broader goals for my monthly goals: write short story. Edit FAERIE.

    I belong to an online goals group where we post our weekly goals. These goals are more tangible depending on my schedule (drs. appts., hair, lunch dates, laundry, ironing, etc) Many times, I’ll simply put 5000 words on GARGOYLE, Edit 50 pgs TROLL. The next week, I’ll recap with how I did (good and bad). Many times I’ll fail on one project because I was involved with something else.

    I have a sticky pad at my desk for my daily goals and I keep track of my word count. Once I’m done for the day, I’ll document on my calendar as to what I accomplished.

    It’s a system that works for me, but hey, I’m a Virgo and we are uber-organized!

  47. Kathleen Basi on September 15, 2011 at 7:46 AM

    How do I set goals? Pray for guidance…

  48. carol brill on September 15, 2011 at 7:19 AM

    BE SPECIFIC is great advice about goal setting. Goals are like a road map, if your google map isn’t specific you can end up anywhere!
    Heidi Grant Halvorson has a great, simple to follow book on goal setting. She talks about WHY (big picture/meaningful goals) and WHAT (concrete) goals. “Write the great American novel” is a why goal. “Write a chapter a week” is a what goal. Often when we have a big project or try something new, what goals are more effective. Think of it this way, when Christoper Columbus stood on the shores of Spain with Queen Isabella and said he wanted to discover new lands(a why goal), he was still standing on the shores of Spain. He needed what goals – buy wood, build a boat, hire a crew – to get him there.

  49. Rosemary Gemmell on September 15, 2011 at 7:07 AM

    I’m just about to address my exact goals over the next few days, as I have too much crowding my mind. Maybe writing them down will help!

  50. Wendy Callahan on September 15, 2011 at 6:33 AM

    When it comes to goals and accomplishing things, I’m a list-maker. This definitely simplifies life! Writing goals for the rest of 2011:

    1. Complete my latest novel & submit it to publishers.

    2. Complete the second novel in my first trilogy, and get that to my publisher.

    3. Complete the one non-fiction book I am writing, and get that out into the submission process.

    When it comes to the things I do at home (writing, homeschooling my son when he is here with me, and housework), I approach everything like a job. It makes everything move along much more smoothly.

  51. Sherri on September 15, 2011 at 6:06 AM

    Long-term goal is to be able to write full time. I love the creativity of it and there are so many opportunities out there.

    Short-term goals:
    1)Finish my series
    2)Find an agent
    3)Polish my completed novels

    • Katherine on September 15, 2011 at 12:31 PM

      I couldn’t agree with you more.

  52. Dee Krull on September 15, 2011 at 4:05 AM

    Because of my past profession I am not new to the networking world or writing. However writing a SicFi-Fantasy Novel getting it published is new. Once my book was at the end of lay-out and I had a good idea when it would be published I dived right into marketing. The hardest thing for me has been the technical aspect when joining new sites, setting up URLs and who knows what other abbreviations for links.I have been ready to pull my hair out! Ouch!

    So my three goals are;:
    1) Taking a class in setting up websites.
    2) For the next three months, write at least a chapter a week on my next book.
    3) Spend three hours a day on the net marketing, instead of all day.

    while doing all of this I am selling my house and packing getting ready to move to Northern California which is a goal I am not in control of.

  53. Andrea Nell on September 15, 2011 at 2:25 AM

    BK Jackson said it would have been better to write several books first then dive into the publishing industry. That’s exactly what I did. I’ve been writing for years without pursuing publication. I have four books complete and several WIP’s underway. Unfortunately, writing with very little knowledge of how the industry works meant a lot of fruitless effort. I’ve spent the last year researching the industry and discovered that I need to completely rewrite most of my manuscripts. Sigh. One is rewritten, almost completely polished and ready to sell. Hopefully.


    1. Polish my current WIP (almost done! Hopefully ready by ACFW)
    2. Query, Query, Query!
    3. Promote my blog and social media sites and post more regularly.

  54. T Denise Clary on September 15, 2011 at 2:25 AM

    Thank you! Your post reminded me to never lose sight of why I started writing to begin with…

  55. Donna Pyle on September 15, 2011 at 2:21 AM

    Great food for thought, Rachelle. The publishing world is noisy indeed. Personally, I love keeping up-to-date on publishing trends, writer’s resources and conference networking. But when the mad dash momentarily stills, I breathe, look up, and remember why I write. As a non-fiction author, it’s not about me. It’s about using the experiences, both good and heartbreaking, to offer hope to someone who may be stumbling through a hard season. So, keeping that in mind, my 3 short-term goals are:

    1) Complete writing my first book by January 31, 2012.
    2) Consistently write and publish blog posts twice a week.
    3) Continue accepting speaking engagements that expand my platform to build a loyal reader following.

  56. Nancy Kimball on September 15, 2011 at 2:21 AM

    I want my writing to resonate with readers long after they finish my novels. I want the stories to keep them awake at night wondering what happened to the minor characters, why the heroes and villains did the things they did and how God worked through all of it. That’s my goal, and I know for me that means the steep path to being traditionally published and making sure the work is good enough to make it through all the hoops.

    1. Get my first rejection (Met that one this week and actually celebrated. It was a goal.)

    2. Get a request for a partial.

    3. Keep writing manuscripts until #2 happens, and after celebrating, getting right back to writing.

    And the big, hairy, audacious goal that I dream about when I think no one but God is looking, is being photographed in the Colosseum in Rome while holding the printed copy of my novel set there.

    • Diana Dart on September 15, 2011 at 12:28 PM

      Well said. And the whole pic in the Colosseum TOTALLY made me want to read your work. It would make an excellent blog header 🙂

      • Nancy Kimball on September 15, 2011 at 12:45 PM

        Thanks Diana, that’s so encouraging. The idea behind Chasing the Lion was what would happen if instead of being martyred for your faith, you abandoned God instead? Then God pursues you relentlessly to accomplish His divine plan through you anyway? The research into first century Rome and gladiator life (the truth, not the Hollywood version) was intense, but worth it. I’ll have a deeper understanding of the hallowed ground I’ll be standing on one day.

        • marion on September 16, 2011 at 7:49 AM

          Nancy, Your book sounds fascinating. Really.
          We can all relate to those moments where we think we’ve dropped the ball. And maybe we really have. So now what?
          My WIP is nothing like yours. And yet, in a way, I hope it ends up being just like yours.

  57. Adam Porter on September 15, 2011 at 2:14 AM

    I determine my writing goals – both macro and micro – based on what my overall goals are for that specific project.

    Specific writing goals?

    Write daily.
    Tell a good story.
    Inspire those who read my work in the way that I was inspired.

    And one more…

    Help other writers move into a full time writing career.

  58. Jeanne on September 15, 2011 at 1:03 AM

    Great post, as usual. I like the SMART acronym. I’m a fairly new writer, but three of my goals are:
    1. To finish my wip by May 31, 2012
    2. Attend two writer’s conferences to learn more about the craft and apply what I learn to my wip
    3. Figure out blogging and determine a workable schedule for me.

  59. Sally Apokedak on September 15, 2011 at 12:59 AM

    I read about the industry, and then I decide what I should be doing in accordance to where I am on the journey. I can’t make someone publish my books, but I can write, and find critique partners, and submit when I’m ready.

    Three of my goals for the next eighteen months are:
    1) Write one chapter a week of a new work.
    2) Write three blog posts a week and two posts a month for a team blog.
    3) Learn about focusing my blog–define my audience, work on posting for that audience, and go out and find and connect with that audience so they might follow me back to my blog if they like.

    • Kristy K. James on September 15, 2011 at 8:12 PM

      Wow, great goals listed! Mine are pretty simple…

      1. Get back in the habit of writing 6-8 hours a day so I can finish the series I’m halfway through.

      2. Get busy on character creation for the next series I want to write.

      3. Write the second series, and have it ready for publication by 12/31/12.

  60. BK Jackson on September 15, 2011 at 12:44 AM

    I definitely sympathize with this person. While I know it’s important to invest time in studying the industry and how things work, it does come with a price tag–a sort of loss of creative innocence. If I could do it again, I would have written a bunch of books first and then gotten myself bombarded with all the publishing wisdom.

    1. Finish 1st draft of my 2nd manuscript by 12/31/11 (1st one took me six years!)
    2. May not be measurable, but I want to stay focused and write what I want, not what’s popular
    3. Learn how to design web pages and began the long toilsome process of improving on my lack of technical know-how. Goal is to have the basics by 11/30/11.

    • KimatSafkhet on September 15, 2011 at 12:29 PM

      your second goal makes so much sense to me. If you don’t write what you want to write, it will become unnatural anyway and people will notice. Stay on it!

  61. Melissa K. Norris on September 15, 2011 at 12:37 AM

    I want to be a career novelist, whose work inspires someone back to or closer to God. Francine River’s novel, The Scarlet Thread, helped turned me back to a close walk with Jesus. I want my writing to do the same for someone else.

    I want an agent who will help me build a lifetime career. I want to be published by a traditional publisher (nothing against self-published).

    That’s my three. Attainable goals is to always keep learning and honing my craft. That includes attending one writer’s conference a year and reading books on writing, then applying.

    Thanks for putting out your daily posts, Rachelle.

    • Sharon A Lavy on September 15, 2011 at 11:33 AM

      My sentiments exactly. Or sort of exactly. =)

  62. Stephanie McGee on September 15, 2011 at 12:29 AM

    I want to be read. I want to be respected as an author who has a valuable and worthwhile voice to contribute to the conversation of the genre that I’m going to publish in. I want to touch the heart of someone who reads the words I write.

    That’s all. I don’t dream of J.K. Rowling fame or having my books made into movies. The money either of those would bring is just a mega-bonus to achieving my dream of seeing my name on a bookstore shelf. (It’d be nice, but I do try to stay realistic in my goals.)