Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Insecure Writers Support Group: Goal, Set, Check!

Welcome to the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Find your writer tribe and kick insecurity to the curb! For regular interaction, join the IWSG Facebook Group here. Writers of all skill level and background ask questions and offer support.

Follow the monthly IWSG blog hop here. Pick a number and visit a few blogs. Comment and make a friend!

Goal, Set, Check!

The blogging group I'm part of, the YABuccaneers, are in month 2 of our Spring Writing Bootcamp. Each week we check in on our Facebook group or on twitter to set goals, motivate each other, and report back. It got me thinking on goal setting and what works and what doesn't.

I love the concept of SMART goals. If you guessed that each of those letters stand for something, you're right!

Generic goal: finish the book by June 30! 

This goal sets you up for failure. There is one objective, and if you don't meet it, you fail. Why do that to yourself?

SMART Goal: draft 3 new chapters by Friday

Specific: instead of "finishing" it's a set amount of chapters.
Measurable: there is a number of chapters indicated.
Achievable: the goal has a smaller chunk of a larger piece of work to do.
Realistic: this will depend on your ability--if you write 1k words daily, giving yourself a week to write 3 chapters is feasible. If you are a sporadic writer with slow output, maybe 1 or 2 chapters is more realistic.
Timely: a set day is named.

The best advice I can offer beyond setting SMART goals is to share your goals with at least one other person to keep you accountable. The IWSG group could be your accountability, or another writer friend.

What type of goal setting works for you? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!


  1. Great idea to have a SMART goal and to have an accountability partner! A goal reached is the best gift to yourself!

  2. We used to use SMART goals at work. They can be really useful way to focus someone on what they are actually going to achieve and how they'll know that they've achieved it. Hadn't thought about applying it to writing - good food for thought.

    Cheers - Ellen |

  3. I like this idea. I tend to make loose goals far too often, but found some success when I made a goal to write three (unedited, unfiltered)paragraphs each morning before I dove into any WIP. That tiny goal made all the difference in my attitude and my writing.

    1. That's a great idea. I don't do pre-writing often enough before I write, but I hear that's an excellent idea.

  4. Excellent examples, Stephanie. Setting SMART goals are so much better than vague ones.

  5. That makes sense. Breaks it down into manageable goals.
    Daily word count works best for me.

  6. I'm joining the Playwrights' Center, and I'm going to work harder at creating something new.

  7. Great idea!

    For me, it's not the goal itself, but the deadline that matters. A deadline with external pressure is best, maybe because I'm a journalist who's used to having deadlines set by editors. Or perhaps I'm good at journalism because that pressure always suited me--who knows?

    For instance, getting in better shape for bikini season doesn't work for me. But setting up a physical challenge on a certain date with my kickboxing instructor does. The more pressure, the better!

    1. Bikini season means nothing to me, but same as you, challenge goals work for me, and planning to attend my workout classes. I'm in online challenge groups sometimes to check in with others who have health and workout goals. So valuable!

  8. Stephanie, that is a good, solid goal. I really need to work on something like that. My schedule has been upended lately with health/family situations, (milestone birthday, sale of my childhood home with me picking up old mementos, etc.) but I'm trying to get back on that horse. My goals right now are mostly time oriented. Spend an hour working on ____. Finishing writing/editing specific increments does sound like a good plan. Thanks!

    1. Time chunks work really well for me too! A focused 20 or 30 minutes is way better than scattered multitasking.

  9. I've heard of SMART goals. Makes perfect sense too.

    There was a time when I managed 15 minutes of prompt-based, free writing exercises every day which totalled about 200 odd words, besides other writing I may have tackled on the day.
    That worked well for me. Almost like a warm up session. I think it lasted for about 4 months and then life got in the way...
    I need to get back to that.
    Writer In Transit

  10. I love this! So true. People set goals like, "Get a book published," but that's more of a long-term hope than an actual goal. As someone explained to me once, goals have to be something we can control, so it would be "send out three queries a month" rather than "get published."

  11. I LOVE that approach. Goals should be measured with deadlines. Unfortunately I'm failing all of mine lately--but life happens, eh? I think that accountability factor is huge too.


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