Monday, April 28, 2014

Defining Success

This is reprinted from the Project Mayhem blog.

Last winter we did several SCBWI schmoozes in Albuquerque on issues in the writing life. During one meeting, we explored the idea of success. Here are some notes. Consider getting together with your critique group, other writing friends, or your family, to share these goals and figure out ways to keep each other on track.

Defining Success

If you have only vague ideas of what “success” means for your writing career, spent some time defining what success means to you. Set specific, achievable goals. Preface your resolutions or goals with a phrase such as, “I’m going to make my very best effort to _____________.” Ask yourself:

  • What is my primary writing goal?

  • What are my secondary writing goals?

  • How can these goals work together? Do they contradict each other at all? Do they interfere with other career, family, or personal goals?

  • What steps do I need to take? Do I need to work on specific craft techniques, time management, market research, or submissions?

  • Which steps come first? How can I schedule the steps to reach my goals?

It’s easy to set goals and then forget all about them, so find a way to check in regularly – put a pop-up notice on your computer calendar, make goals check-in a monthly part of your critique group meeting, or have a weekly online chat with friends where you check progress.

More help (some of these posts are from last year, but the ideas are just as valuable):

Goal Setting Without Fear, from Crime Fiction Collective, by Peg Brantley: “One of my favorite sayings is ‘It doesn’t matter where you start out. What matters is where you end up.’”

Kelly Bennett on defining what you want as a writer: “I defined for myself what being a successful writer meant. Not vague “I want to be somebody,” wishes, either….”

Luke Reynolds on Redefining Success: “Redefining success allows us to continue to focus on the work at hand rather than the result.”

A Writer’s HAPPY New Year, by Kristi Holl: “I am going through my goals list again. B am adding goals geared toward renewal.” (Kristi has a great inspirational blog on issues in the writing life, such as overcoming self-doubt.)

Make Your Own Luck, by Angela Ackerman: We tend to say, “If I could ____, then it would help me succeed. Whatever your blank is, instead of thinking that it’s too hard to do, or something out of your control, Make Your Own Luck.”

Writing and Life Balance, by Susan Uhlig: on Discipline, Setting Priorities, and managing Life and Volunteer Duties.

Did you make writing resolutions this year? Did this post inspire you to start? How are you going to make sure you stay on track?

Chris Eboch writes fiction and nonfiction for all ages. Her book Advanced Plotting helps writers fine-tune their plots. Learn about her editorial and critiquing services, and find advice for writers, on her website.