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Setting Goals for Your Writing Business

As a freelance writer, you’re in business for yourself. Make no mistake about it, your writing is a business, even if you do it part time. And one element of a successful business is a vision or goals.

What do you want from your writing? This month, next year, in five years? Creating a vision makes success much more likely. Goals give you a way to plan to prosper.

Two kinds of writing goals

There are two sorts of goals for your freelance writing business:

  • Goals about your writing
  • Goals about your writing business

Goals about your writing business probably includes selling to specific markets and increasing your rate per word, or, if you also write for others, increasing your hourly rate or your annual income.

Where are you now?

Good goal setting begins with an honest understanding of where you are right now.

For example, I don’t plot well; if I want to make writing fiction one of my goals, I’d need first to address my confusion over plotting.

If I wanted to open an office outside my home for my writing business, I’d not only need to know what I’m money I’m currently making, but what my expenses are as well – only then could I know how much more I’d need to make to support the office.

In my examples, my desire to learn to plot doesn’t take a whole lot of assessment. On the other hand, if I want an office and my financial records are a mess, I’ve got some homework to do before I start the goal setting.

What do you really want from your writing business?

Goal setting begins with a vision of what we want. It’s here we must dare to dream. Do you want to write a best selling novel? Or replace your day job with freelancing? Or double your freelance writing income? Whatever it is, and dare to dream large, write it down.

Break large goals into manageable hunks. If a best selling novel is your goal, and you’ve yet to master characterization, make that your first goal. If you want to double your income, look carefully at what needs to be done first and make that your initial goal.

Set a time frame for each goal. Goal setting is much more likely to be effective if you set a specific date to accomplish the goal. So add a date, but don’t get hung up on it. You won’t reach each and every goal exactly the way you plan to reach it. Life happens; you may reach it sooner or you may discover several other things have to happen first.

I’ve used goal setting programs. Right now I just write my goals on my Vision Board. Writing out goals lets me set great big goals and helps me break them down into manageable chunks.

Goal setting for our freelance writing business is a tool that, properly used, keep us on track.

Write well and often,

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{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Kathleen, having been a self employed person for many years, this is an ongoing problem I still have now.

    My disadvantage is my “office” is a corner set up in the main living area. Very frustrating with a pre-schooler.

    Headphones are my “door”. The rule we have is if I have headphones on, disturb at your peril.

    Works most of the time. But I had to buckle to recently, and decided to lease a small office in our local town. 5 minute commute, so not to bad.

    As for the post, having goals is critical. Otherwise you just end up drifting and being very unproductive with your life and work.
    .-= Karl Rohde´s last blog ..Review: The Richest Man In Babylon =-.

    • Anne

      I managed to avoid having to leave home when the kids were little… found a house with a ‘den’ off the master bedroom… the rule? Unless your bleeding badly, or the house is on fire… it worked mostly.

  • admin

    Kathleen, I remember that well… ultimately I had to shut the door on them and not answer unless the house was on fire… never was fortunately


  • Kathleen L

    My goal is to get my family to realize I have to spend time writing, sometimes even while they are home, to get my writing done… after all, they finally see that I do make money at this — guess hanging a check on the Firdge helped 🙂

  • admin

    Gtdagenda looks decent… there is a free version, otherwise there are monthly fees. Thanks for the pointer.

  • Dan

    Great article.

    If you’d like a tool for setting your goals, you can also try this web application:


    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, schedules and a calendar.

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