How to Prepare to Meet Your 2013 Writing Goals: Setting Goals

Set writing goalsTo achieve your writing goals in the New Year you need to spend time actually setting them. Sounds silly, right? Maybe, but many writers never bother to think seriously about their goals, write them down and create a timeline for when they want to accomplish them. If you don’t bother to go through this exercise, your writing results likely won’t be stellar in 2013.

As mentioned in my last post, begin the process of  setting writing goals for the New Year with a review of the last year. Once you have a clear picture of what you accomplished in the past—and still need and want to accomplish in the future—you are ready to move on to goal setting for to upcoming year.

You will probably discover you have two types of  writing goals:

  1. Goals you feel passionate about or that you feel support your purpose
  2. Goals you know you must or should achieve to reach your other goals

It’s important to realize that the first type of writing goal is dependent upon the second type of goal. Yet, it’s easier to accomplish the first type of goal. Why? A goal about which you feel passionate will feel easy for you to pursue. It likely also fits into your inner sense of purpose—why you write—and that makes you want to take action towards achieving it. When you combine your passion and your purpose you feel inspired and tend to take action easily. You feel energized and excited; you want to do what it takes to accomplish your goal.

When you simply know you must or should do something, you may not have that same energy or excitement about the tasks at hand. That’s why around New Year’s Eve  it’s common to “resolve” to do something differently. You don’t really want to change or take on that activity; you just know you should. And it isn’t long before you stop doing whatever you said you would and, therefore, fail to meet your goal.

So, find a way to feel as passionate about the second type of writing goal as the first. Do this by realizing they support the first type of goal.

Here’s how to set writing goals for 2013 and actually achieve them:

  1. Make a list of your writing goals for 2013 by priority.
  2. For each writing goal, create a time table for exactly when you want to achieve it.
  3. Describe what the achievement of each writing goal will look and feel like in great detail.
  4. Make a mark by the writing goals you feel less passionate about. (I’ll explain why in my next post.)
  5. Get a 2013 calendar and mark on it the dates you plan to achieve your writing goals.

Vague goals produce vague results. Be very specific.

On Monday, the last day of 2012, I’ll write about the last step in goal setting—and goal achievement: creating an action plan.

Photo courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti|


  1. HOLY SMOKES is about all I can muster at this time! Nina, this blog post is filled to the rim with the most appropriate information that I need in my life right now. I have many pots on the burner, and yet, I keep finding that nothing is “fully cooked” and ready to be served and consumed. To get me to the point where I can finally “serve my meals” to people and move on and create brand new pots of food, I must first finish what I’m working on and determine the best way to get to the completion stage.

    I have synthesized your words into my own understanding of what you are trying to say, creating a detailed numerical list of what I must do if I am serious about having my book published in 2013. You’ve correctly hit the nail on the head – vague thoughts result in vague actions. I fully agree with this sentiment. I realize that I have many writing projects going on and in order to bring them to fruition, I must create a detailed plan on how to finish them so that I can publish and move on.

    My biggest writing goal for 2013 is to become a published book author – I want to publish at least 1 book. I have no idea how I will achieve that, but I am definitely taking the right steps in that direction. Thank you for the inspiration, as always.

    • Amanda,
      You are going to do it, I know it! And the actual action plan–step three–comes on Monday. Get that and you are set to go.
      (Hey…notice that you now get replies to your comments!)

  2. Not sure how I missed this one, Nina! Sorry about that! I’m really glad I decided to go over your 2013 Writing Goals series again because, while I have Steps 1-4 taken care of, I have not yet recorded the “Due Dates” on my actual calendar. Having time frames to shoot for is all well & good, but without them actually listed on my schedule, they aren’t going to serve me very well! I have added them to my agenda & was even able to mark a couple off already! Thanks for that!!! 🙂


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