Chapter 16 – Goals

Having goals is an important part of being a writer. Now that I’ve managed to accomplish one of the biggest goals I’ve had, I started thinking about my other goals and how to achieve them.

"Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another" - John DeweyPublishing a book cleared one major goal off my list but I have no intention of stopping there. Awoken Dragon won’t be the last book I’ll publish but before I get to the point of finishing another novel, there are smaller, easier goals ahead.

I’ve found that small goals tend to work better in the long run. Maybe some people wouldn’t call them all goals, just stops on the way, but I get a lot of motivation from the feeling of finishing something. For example when preparing for an exam, I can set a goal of reading a chapter a day, and whenever I manage it, I feel great. I’ve accomplished something. It gives me motivation to pick up the exam book again the next day. This way I’m sort of lining up small goals to lead me into the final big one: finishing the book before the exam. Also works great with Nano and the daily word count targets.

But with writing in general, it’s not always that simple. You can’t set a goal like “I’ll read this book about writing during the next month and then I’ll be a great writer.” It’s not a sprint and as with any other skill, you’ll never be perfect with it.

I have to say it took me a while to accept the fact that I would never be ready. There are always ways to improve, things to learn, and new directions to explore. Sometimes it feels a bit daunting but I can’t let that stop me. For one I’m aiming to get a career in a field where it’s basically impossible to hit a point where there’s nothing left to learn. I have to be ready and willing to constantly improve my knowledge and skills, and I’ve tried to adopt this mindset in writing as well.

Even this blog offers me ways to get better at writing and maybe even more importanly ways to write regularly. I’ll admit I don’t always have a clear plan about my next post and even though it’s stressing at times (I take my hat off to everyone capable of posting daily or even more often), it’s also fun and educating. It’s only been two short months since I started this blog but I’m already seeing changes in me. I feel I’m more confident about my writing and sharing it with people, and hopefully over time this feeling will strengthen.

It’s still a bit early for New Year’s resolutions but let’s call it a headstart. This list might still undergo changes before the year is over so maybe I’ll do a post later with a better list of my goals, including those not related to writing.

  • Improve my blog
    So far so good: I’ve managed to keep to my posting schedule and the number of followers is on the rise, but I could always do better. I’m not sure how to accomplish this yet, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out. And everyone who reads this is welcome to offer suggestions! This blog is written for you so I’d be happy to know what you’d like to read in the future.
  • Engage with writing communities more
    This sort of ties into the previous point but I want to become more active both here in WordPress and on other writing forums/communities as well. For example I could comment more on other people’s blog posts, or take part in discussions about writing and other things. Fairly simple to do, if I’d just really set my mind on and reserve time for it.
  • Keep writing
    One of those “well duh” resolutions but it’s good to have it written down. As I said at the start of this post, I haven’t published my last book yet. I’ll keep planning and writing and revising and editing stories in the future, and hopefully I’ll even manage to publish again next year.
  • Find ways to improve writing
    This includes looking into writing courses, using more writing prompts, revising some grammar rules… All these small things that will help my future writing. Still a bit vague on the details.
  • Get more feedback
    Getting feedback is annoying in the sense that it’s crucial for developing skills but it can also be very hard to get. I’ve thought about posting some short stories online to hopefully get feedback and suggestions on how to improve, but I’m also eagerly waiting for people’s opinions on Awoken Dragon. Perhaps I’ll try searching for some reviewers

This list can still change, but I think I have some good goals for 2015.

If you usually make New Year’s resolutions, have you started thinking about yours yet? Is there anything related to writing/any skill you’re hoping to improve? If you’re currently learning something or hoping to improve something, but haven’t written them down, try it! Make a list and pin it somewhere. Then whenever you’re not sure about what to do next, check that list for ideas.

NaNo word count for November 22: 37,095 (target 36,666)


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