Sunday, August 2, 2020

Yes You Can: Making and Achieving Your #Writing Goals #amwriting #writerslife

The quarantimes are befuddling. Depending on your job and family situation, you may suddenly have more free time – or less, with kids home demanding attention. Add in summer, when bright early mornings and long, late evenings may inspire you to work – or distract you with outdoor activities or lazy drinks on the patio. Either way, if you expect changes in your schedule or mood, it’s worth setting some goals now. This month's posts will focus on ... 

Goal setting for your writing life

Where would you (realistically) like to be at the end of this year?

Learn all about writing for children
To start, consider where you want to go in your writing life. Do you want to make a steady income? Or is it more important to write what you love, regardless of the market? Do you care more about winning awards or getting laughs? Goal setting should involve the entire career, from time management to craft to market research and submissions to publicity for published works.

Make your goals as specific as possible. For example, “Make money from writing” is a vague goal. Will you be happy with $10 from an online poem just so you can say you’ve been paid? Do you want to make an annual profit so you can claim writing as a business on your tax forms? Contribute a certain amount to the family income? Quit your day job?
You may also need to break down goals into short-term and long-term. Making enough money to quit your day job may be a 10-year goal. You can then set short-term goals to help you get there. You can’t jump ahead to the end, but you can keep moving along the path.

Goals can change over time, as we learn more about ourselves and our field. Author and writing coach Esther Hershenhorn said, “I’ve watched writers assess their interests, talents and experiences to find related niches—reviewing books for a journal or website, writing curriculum materials, working with book fairs, selling at bookstores, writing PR plans for fellow writers, returning to library school.”

It’s important to realize when you are consciously changing goals, and when you’re being led astray. Suzanne Morgan Williams found a tempting side path early on, when a fiction submission led to an offer of a nonfiction book project and eventually ten books. Williams could have stayed on that easy path, but she remembered her original goal: to write fiction. Eventually, she said, “I made the conscious decision not to pursue more nonfiction contracts until I’d spent some real time working on my fiction skills.” With that new focus, Williams wrote and sold her first novel, Bull Rider.

Author Sydney Salter said, “When I decided that I really wanted to make writing a professional career, not just a hobby, I bought an engagement calendar to use just for my writing. Each day I recorded what I had done to work on my writing career, whether it was revising a magazine article, researching a novel, writing 1,500 words, or reading a Newbery-winning novel over the weekend. I also recorded goals at the beginning of each month to keep myself on track—things like write 12,000 words, submit teen story to Children’s Writer contest, read three MT Anderson books. This technique kept me focused on my goals and allowed me to have some small successes, such as published magazine stories and contest wins, while I worked toward book publication.”

Each step on the path not only brings you closer to your destination, it also builds valuable skills for when you arrive. Salter says, “When I found an interested agent, I was grateful for the discipline that I’d learned through years of treating my writing seriously. My editor also appreciates my work ethic.” Sydney's published books include the middle grade novel Jungle Crossing and the young adult comedies My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters and Swoon At Your Own Risk. 

Improve your plotting
You may not achieve every goal you set. You can’t win an award just because you want to, or even because you work really hard. But you can focus on improving your craft so you can write books of the style and quality that win awards. That puts you on the right path. Perhaps that path will lead to the realization of your dream. At least you’ll be heading in the right direction, and can enjoy the journey.

Start thinking about your overall goals now. Next week, I’ll offer specific tips and resources for identifying the steps you need to take to get to your writing goals.

Chris Eboch's book Advanced Plotting helps writers fine-tune their plots, while You Can Write for Children: How to Write Great Stories, Articles, and Books for Kids and Teenagers offers great insight to beginning and intermediate writers. Her novels for ages nine and up include The Eyes of Pharaoh, a mystery that brings ancient Egypt to life; and The Well of Sacrifice, an action-packed drama set in ninth-century Mayan Guatemala. Learn more at or her Amazon page.

Chris also writes for adults under the name Kris Bock. Her Furrever Friends Sweet Romance series features the employees and customers at a cat café. Watch as they fall in love with each other and shelter cats. Get a free 10,000-word story set in the world of the Furrever Friends cat café when you sign up for the Kris Bock newsletter.

Kris Bock also writes romantic suspense novels. Fans of Mary Stewart, Barbara Michaels, and Nora Roberts will want to check out Kris Bock’s romantic adventures. “Counterfeits is the kind of romantic suspense novel I have enjoyed since I first read Mary Stewart’s Moonspinners.” 5 Stars – Roberta at Sensuous Reviews blog

Learn more at or visit Kris Bock’s Amazon US page or Amazon UK page. (For other countries click here.) Sign up for the Kris Bock newsletter  for announcements of new books, sales, and more.


  1. Thank you, Chris, for another insightful post. I set goals, but after reading this I realize I need to be more specific about what those goals should be. The weekend's coming up--think I'll grab Bucket List from the Redbox!

  2. These tips go into a lot more detail than I've thought about before too! My goals tend to be larger scale, and I'm usually lucky to finish half my goals for a week. I accept that and call it aiming high, but I may think about other ways to do things.

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