Maureen Kauzlarich

Children's Author

Six Strategies to Make Goals About Writing Enjoyable

As writers, we are always working toward a book (or other writing projects), but all we truly want is to get to the end. Here are some small ways to make the steps as enjoyable as the result:


Cheery Goal Lists

Instant feedback on our list of goals can release the good chemicals in our brain. Having a clear list that we can assess over time helps to adjust what we want to achieve. The cheerful feelings from the mental feedback we get by looking back on goal lists are instantaneous. To make list writing a more enjoyable task, find a creative way to do it. Don't just pen a long list of to do’s. Instead, buy colorful planners, write it on a whiteboard, change up pen colors, draw pictures, or check off small achievable tasks as they get done. The process of writing goals can make them fun to do.


Instant Gratification

Writing a book is not instant. Sure, there are authors who can write in a day and publish the next, but for those that write a little every day there is no immediate reward (except for accomplishing a word count goal and feeling good about it). To make getting words down in a day an even more gratifying task, we can also treat ourselves. This can be done with something simple that you like but won't allow yourself to have until words are written. Drinking a cup of coffee, eating a bar of chocolate, or getting to indulge on a tv show can also make completing writing goals satisfying. If you write more than your goal, go ahead, buy something nice for yourself. If you hit a milestone, go out somewhere. Celebrating will help keep up the momentum. How often you want to throw a party for yourself is up to you. TIP: Doing something you enjoy during writing sessions like listening to music can also be something to look forward to. As long as it doesn't detract from the main goal, doing something else that’s enjoyable will keep motivation high.


Tell Somebody

Telling someone that you achieved a goal doesn't seem enjoyable, but it gives both a feeling of accomplishment and fulfills the need for relations. You can post how many words you wrote that day on social media or tell a close friend who knows how much this goal means to you. How to make this even more enjoyable? Instead of letting someone close know or posting to the world, include others in the same goal. Non-writer friends probably have daily goals too, even if they're as simple as going up a level in their video game or getting their new puppy to do a trick. They can also text you that they finished something. Everybody can win at accomplishing goals!


Forge the Path Less Traveled

There are many paths to one goal, but we usually take the path that's easiest and make it our only focus. Brainstorming other ways to achieve the same result can be enjoyable and spark a bigger interest in your goals. For example, let us say you’ve been writing 500 words every day. You have been achieving this by getting up every morning at 5 A.M. and writing, but what if you try different times in the day to write? Or broke it up throughout the day? Or tried writing 500 words on a different medium like a notebook instead of a computer? Another example of trying a different path could be the goal of publishing a book. The book is written, so how do you go about getting it published? You can query an agent, email publishing companies directly, go to writing conferences or self-publish. Each of these paths also has many other avenues to achieving the ultimate goal of publishing the book. If you've tried one way, do another. You might find a different path is a more satisfying one. Better yet, blaze your own trail.


Write a Letter to Your Future Self

This can get interesting. Instead of writing down a list of goals or telling someone else that you achieved something, write a letter to yourself. This letter can contain your plans, your steps, and reflections of the goals you have achieved. Think of it like a diary that you'll want to read at designated times in a year (like quarterly). It will make you smile to hear from yourself. Something more enjoyable, you say? Write a letter to your future agent, editor, or reader about your book. You can also write a letter from one of your character's voices or points of view. The letter can be both a creative way to plan and write. Make it positive, humorous, and never beat yourself up. It will make writing fun again, especially on days you don’t feel like seeing your WIP. Dear Self, today my story took a different turn and I wrote about frogs. . . .



So What, Then What Statements

Resiliency is key for whenever goals go bad or worse, can't be achieved. Especially for goals that rely on others to achieve (like snagging a book deal). So for fun, develop a bad goal plan by writing down the opposite of what you want. Is this the worst thing that could happen to you? If so, SO WHAT? After the absolute worst thing that could happen, then what? How will you go on? If-then statements help to answer these questions as well. If the worst thing happens, then I’ll . . .


Let us say you're trying to achieve a book deal with a big publishing company. Your heart is set on this and you've done everything you can in your goal setting to get it, but it doesn't happen. Start writing down a contingency plan for what to do next. This is where different paths come in. The “so what” list is key. So what if I don't get this particular agent? My next goal will be to query double the agents and then write another book! If these agents don’t work out at all, then I’ll go another publishing route.


Remember, in the end it's not the result that makes us writers, it's the act of writing. Goals should be fun so that they can be continuous and help forge a writer's life. Prepare a scenario where you do achieve all your goals. What do you hope to do next or what feelings do you think you'll have? The so what, then what statements will work well for this.









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