The end of one year and the beginning of the next is a great time for some introspection. When it comes to your freelance writing career setting goals makes sense, with a major caveat:
You’ve got to be specific, set a time, and believe you can achieve it.
It’s so easy to set a goal of something like “I want to earn a million dollars this year from writing.” Sure, who doesn’t. But most of us don’t really want a million dollars. What we want is the results we think having a million dollars would do for us. And most of us, in our heart of hearts don’t believe we can have a million dollars.
Get Specific With Your Goals
Goals need to be specific. Wanting a million dollars isn’t specific enough for most people. The actual results are likely to get better results.
For example that million bucks might mean any or all of these to you:
- Buy a home
- Buy a hybrid car
- Replace my computer
- Send your kids to college
- Go to the South Pacific
- Go on a two-week writing retreat
- Break the $100,000 barrier in our writing income
The first thing to notice is these goals are specific. In fact, they should be even more specific. For me, buy a hybrid car would probably read buy a used Civic Hybrid.
As you get more specific you’ll also find it easier to see if a particular goal is something you really want or if it’s just a notion. If it’s a notion, don’t try to turn it into a goal; you’ll only be disappointed. I actually keep a notion list and find that some of those things disappear while others turn into goals.
Goals Need A Time Frame
Your goals, to be effective, need a time frame. You need to tell yourself and your unconscious that you’ll have whatever it is by a specific date.
If it’s a big goal, like getting a book written or being able to quit your day job for freelancing, it helps to break the goal down into steps. These steps become mini goals; you need to believe they are possible and each needs its own time frame.
Setting the time frame for the mini goal will help you set a workable time for achieving the big goal.
Goals Need To Be Written Down
Your goals need to be written down. That may be obvious, but it’s surprising how few people actually write down their goals – some say as few as 5%.
I use a software program called GoalPro. But that’s certainly not the only way to do it.
A writer friend of mine actually uses notebooks designed for watercolors and does her goals as a mind map in multiple colors.
Find a way that works for you.
Is That What You Really Want?
I can’t tell you how important it is to be super honest with yourself as you generate goals. If it isn’t what you really want you won’t get there. If you don’t believe you can have it, you won’t get there.
You can, however, work up to a goal. For example, if you don’t believe you can break the $100,000 barrier in your writing income, then try for $75,000 or $50,000 – what ever number stretches you a bit, but is, to you believable.
Goal setting is really more art than science. It takes self-honesty, insight and willingness. It’s a skill worth learning.
Have you set goals? Why?
Image from http://www.sxc.hu