Write Your Future ; Goals For Creative Success


How to set goals and why we need them

Most people write new year resolutions.

I also do some reflection then, but I find it’s such a busy time. It’s the summer holidays here in Australia and social activities often fill our days, leaving little time for goal setting.

My time of reflection tend to happen around my birthday. Another year has passed. Doing what? Just living?

The older I get, the more it seems as if life has put on ever speeding roller skates. It’s easy to feel like life is passing us by and we have done nothing.

To combat that feeling, I like to look back at what I have done in the past year, before I set new goals. It allows me to get a sense of achievement and confidence in myself. Brings my thinking into a growth mindset, essential for success.

As my goals will be around writing, let’s look at what I did in that space over the last 12 months.

Achievements

Mentorship

I finished the 3 month manuscript mentorship with Australian author Sandie Docker. You can find out more about Sandie in the interview link at the end of this post.

Manuscript

I typed THE END on the novel I had been working on since 2017 after many courses, critiques and edits.

Medium

I joined Medium in June and have posted 60 articles since then.

Took on an editor role for the New Literary Publication.

Pitching

Took part in a live three minute zoom pitch for my novel, super nerve wracking but also confidence boosting and educational.

Courses

SEO Content Writing and Canva Specialist at Freelance Uni

Full day course at NSW Writers centre on self publishing

Festivals & launches

Attended one writer’s festival and three book launches

Books

14 read or listened to

Freelance business

Website — a massive project for this non techie, setting up the WordPress webpages with new hosting site, new template and content. Was an enormous relief when it went live. As all websites this is still a WIP.


When I look at that list, I get exhausted! I should just go rest on the grass and take the next year off.

Photo by Sam Solomon on Unsplash

But I know I won’t. I like to keep busy and move forward.

I also feel a great sense of pride reviewing my list of achievements.

It’s a pretty magnificent effort for this old girl still working in a day job four days a week and fitting in time with my family and close friends.

However, I have felt a sense of loss and confusion over the last year.

I have struggled with imposter syndrome and a sense of going nowhere.

Why, you may ask?

Canva Design by Sal Gallaher

The reason for my feelings:

I had set no actual goals for the year.

Maybe in my subconscious, but I never sat down and listed them.

The achievements passed me by without being acknowledged.


Let’s look at what goal setting is all about and why we should invest time in setting them.

Goal Setting

Setting goals provides us with several benefits:

  • Sense of direction — we know where we are heading and why
  • Control — we take back the control of our lives by deciding what we want to do and achieve
  • Motivation — goals provide motivation from a sense of achievement as we progress through our task list and tick off each one.
  • Bigger picture — our goals link up to provide a bigger view of what we want in our future, our dreams.

I think I had the bigger picture sorted, but without goals or steps to guide me. With no goals set out, I didn’t feel in control and had little sense of actual direction other than I wanted to write and be self sufficient.

Setting goals is great, but the true benefit is in achieving them. Just jotting down a few simple dreams is not enough. We need to set SMART goals.

SMART Goals

  • Specific — we need to write the primary goal but also include the steps to get there. The more specific, the better.
  • Measurable — need to measure them to know if we have achieved them. That’s where the specifics come in handy.
  • Attainable — realistic enough for us to reach them. Dreams are great but if goals are too lofty they will only make us feel incompetent if we never reach them.
  • Relevant — important, they also align with our overall personal and moral goals.
  • Time bound — deadlines are essential and need to be realistic. Too short a timeline on complex goals only results in us feeling stressed and potentially demotivated.

My Goals

For the next 12 months:

  1. Research self publishing
  • Contact at least two people who have experience in this by May
  • Invest time every week researching material on the subject

2. Query my current novel

  • Continue to submit to agents in the US
  • Continue to submit to Australian publishers
  • Spend a minimum of two hours per week on the above.

3. New novel

  • Finish first draft of my 2nd novel by the end November
  • Spend a minimum of two hours every week writing my draft

4. Medium

  • Post min of 1 post every week
  • Source a minimum of one new author to interview every month for the New Literary Society
  • Review value of Friend of Medium by June

5. LinkedIn

  • Review header title by June
  • Research writing groups and connect with at least one new group by June
  • Post at least two articles per month from June onwards

6. Competitions and awards

  • Submit short stories to at least 3 competitions by December
  • Research and list relevant awards by April

7. Freelance business

  • Land one more client by August by researching
  • LinkedIn Jobs
  • Marketing agencies

Quite a list but I feel motivated and clear on where I am going already.

Research On Goal Setting

Setting goals gives us direction in our lives, a purpose to keep doing what we love, and when we tick them off the list, they motivate us to move onto the next goal. Slowly, step by step, we move towards the bigger picture, our dream.

But don’t just day dream about your goals.

Actually, state them by writing them down, set timelines and action them.

A study by Dr Gail Matthews of the Dominican University of California shows how effective writing your goals are.

According to his research, people who write their goals down have a better chance of achieving more than people who do not write their goals.¹

People who write their goals down AND share them have an even better chance of doing well.

Canva design by Sal Gallaher

Mine are now written and shared.

You are my accountability team.

I plan to provide an update on how I am tracking in a monthly post.

What about you? Are you ready to commit to your dream?

If yes, then go write your goals down, share them and let’s reach for our dreams together.


References

  1. Goals Study | Summary of reseach done by Dr Gail Matthews of the Dominican University, California

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