I wrote this article for a recent issue of the newsletter I edit and design for Pennwriters, a networking organization for aspiring and published writers. Now that we're two days deep into the new year, it's a great time to contemplate our goals and ambitions.
Goal Setting and Goal-Getting
I think it’s safe to say that every Pennwriter has a set of goals. Surely none of us are new to the notion of goal-setting. We want to be published, or published to more fanfare and success. We want money, or more money. Respect. Financial stability. Freedom. The writer’s life, however we each define it.
We write because we want to share our perspective, to be heard, to be recognized and to be appreciated for our wit, humor, intellect and creativity. We want to conjure the electric feeling of words leaping from our brains faster than we can type or write. To pen something perfect and true and meaningful and transformative. We want to entertain our readers. To entertain ourselves.
We want paid. We want paid well. We want to see our bylines in glossy magazines and respected journals, our books on the shelves of every bookstore we step into. Long lines of smiling faces at book signings. A revenue-generating blog. Poet laureate. Working lunches with Steven Spielberg. The New York Times bestseller list. The Newbury. A Christmas card from Oprah and Stedman.
There is a problem, though, and a big one. These goals that I’ve listed are not really goals unless you have a plan in place—a plan of how you will go about attaining them.
The truth of the matter is that dreams and goals are two different things. Dreams are things we hope for. Goals are things we work for. And mapping out our goals and putting an action plan together could be a great exercise for many of us who have yet to realize our writing potential. Defining goals and listing the steps we need to take to achieve these goals could help all of us work more effectively.
Think about your writing and publishing ambitions. What have you done lately to make your ambitions a reality? What would you like to accomplish in the next 12 months? Make a list. What steps can you take to help foster an environment for success? What steps must you take? Get specific. This issue’s challenge: Get a 2012 calendar and put a plan in place. Dream big, then get to work!