Maureen Kauzlarich

Children's Author

Avoid These Six Writing Goals

There are many goals on the path to a finished story. Goals that help with writing more often . . . or not. It may sound absurd, but some goals can stop you from achieving progress. These are the goals that make you want to stop writing altogether and, for certain types of writers, should be avoided.




Goals with an Intent

Writing with the intent to publish or for a set audience means that you're not writing for yourself first. Sometimes it's good to have these ideas in mind for a guide in your writing. For instance, writing for an age group and making sure the story is within their vocabulary. Just remember, always thinking of the intent can make writing feel constrained. You have to like your own story first.


Performance Goals

Performance goals are those goals that look at how well you're doing and track progress by frequency or time. This is a good measure if you're consistently writing. If you find yourself setting up these types of goals and stop writing, it might be because the focus is too much on the result. Instead, remember to enjoy the journey and that it isn't always about how many words, but the quality. This isn't a numbers game. 


Writing for Extrinsic Things

Writing to meet the idea of luxuries such as money or fame can stop storytelling in its tracks. If you're always jumping from project to project chasing whatever you believe will sell at the time, then it might be because your writing goals are too focused on the extrinsic instead of the intrinsic. Look inward instead of outward when it comes to writing. Find the story that you most truly want to write despite what's popular. Those things change and uniqueness is always better.


Relying on Others

If your goals rely on other people for it to happen, then it can result in a lot of waiting and not writing. Relying on others could look like thinking about selling your story to specific publishers or agents. This can lead to premature submissions and, well, although it can be an attainable goal, it's not the type of goal that's certain to happen. You can't rely on the idea that publishers and agents will want your book if you want to be consistent. Relying on others can also be right at home where you must rely on those close to you to give you time, instead of carving it out to write. Whenever other people are in the equation of your goals it becomes an obstacle to overcome every time you want to write. It also gives you too many excuses not to write. Relying on others will put the blame on them, and not blaming yourself will stop you from writing.


Physical Barriers

Think of all the steps it takes to get to your writing. If you write on the computer, what are all the things you need to do first to get to the actual typing of your story? Most likely you must turn on the computer first, right? Or find a spot to sit? Or even find where you placed your laptop last? These little things can add up to procrastination. Making sure everything is already in place will be easier for your brain to think of writing as a simple task, instead of one fraught with things to do beforehand. Get rid of pesky physical barriers to get to more writing time.


Mental Obstacles

These are the hardest obstacles of all. Setting mental goals but thinking of all the reasons why it can't be done or can be done later. When later comes the timeline gets pushed. Stop mental obstacles in their tracks by writing down a plan. One that doesn't rely on others, has a blueprint of all the steps to override physical barriers, doesn't involve the extrinsic, and doesn't always have an intent to publish can help you write consistently. Make sure to use alternative paths and come up with a resiliency plan when things come up (and they WILL come up). Other mental obstacles can include thinking negatively, like that you're not good enough to be writing the story you're trying to work on. It's a thought process that breeds procrastination, half-ass work, and may even stop you from submitting anything. Remember all the hard work you put into your writing and push those obstacles aside because someone out there will enjoy it. Set the goal that’s right for you.


How about you? What writing goals have you set that didn't work out? What type of goals did? We'd love to hear your answers in the comments!

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