Achieve Your Writing Goals

Back in May I went on a day course in London run by the very successful Joanna Penn and Orna Ross entitled How to Make a Living (and a Life) from Writing. 
We covered lots of topics to do with writing, publishing, money, income streams etc and I came away inspired. Needless to say, these things take time and I’m not yet (!) making a living from writing. However, I wanted to tell you about one very simple but motivating exercise that we did.

At the end of the day each course participant was given a sheet of paper and asked to note down their writing goals for the next three months. We were also given a stamped envelope, asked to address it to ourselves and put our sheet of writing goals inside. Joanna and Orna collected the envelopes, stored them for three months and then posted them.

My list of goals arrived through the letterbox a couple of weeks ago. I couldn’t remember exactly what targets I’d set myself (they’d been written at the end of a long day when I was full of enthusiasm for everything I’d just learned) so I was prepared to see a list of over-ambitious stuff I hadn’t done. But there was a nice surprise – all three goals had been achieved:

  • Started the publishing process for my second grip-lit novel, The Promise.  At the time I wrote this goal the novel was under consideration by The Book Guild and I’d decided that if they turned it down I would embark on the self-publishing route rather than join the masses knocking at every agent’s door. Happily, The Book Guild felt The Promise had commercial potential and I’ve now seen the cover (it will be revealed it in a later post), had a lovely endorsement by crime writer Judith Cutler and had the typeset proofs. Publication day is 28th January 2018!
  • Create a boxed set of my three short story collections in e-book and paperback format. Done and blogged about. The proof (should you need it) is on Amazon and Kobo in the form of A Coffee Break Story Collection : 36 Short Stories
  • Update Kindle Direct Publishing for Absolute Beginners to reflect the lessons learned as I created the paperback version of the boxed set and also to include other changes in KDP since I’d last updated the book. A tick for that one as well! The updated book is now available.

Last weekend I exchanged my next set of goals with my writing buddy, Helen Yendall (we managed to talk writing for 4 hours – can you believe that?!) and we’ll meet again in November to see how we did.

Do you make goals? How do you make yourself accountable?

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  1. #1 by colettecoen on August 26, 2017 - 1:36 pm

    What a great idea. We all need focus. Might suggest it to my writing group.

    • #2 by Sally Jenkins on August 26, 2017 - 5:19 pm

      Thanks, Collette. Maybe you could keep everyone’s goals in a box and re-distribute them at a later meeting so people could see how they’d done.

  2. #3 by Maria Smith (@mariaAsmith) on August 27, 2017 - 8:15 am

    Well done Sally, you have done great!

    Yes, I make goals too, I have a fortnightly plan which is working towards a much bigger plan. It involves being organised and keeping tabs on all that I do…sometimes, well intentioned plans have to alter and goals aren’t achieved to schedule, but I’m okay with that as I move them back accordingly.

    I’ve invested in a writing mentor, and find being accountable makes all the difference!

    • #4 by Sally Jenkins on August 27, 2017 - 5:01 pm

      I like the idea of a writing mentor, Maria. And if you’re paying there’s an added incentive to keep on track towards those goals. Keep going!

  3. #5 by Wendy Clarke on August 28, 2017 - 6:22 am

    Well done for achieving all three goals, Sally x

  4. #7 by juliathorley on August 29, 2017 - 3:50 pm

    This is such a good idea, Sally, and you’ve done well to achieve your goals. I shall suggest this to my writing group, Weaving Words.

    • #8 by Sally Jenkins on August 29, 2017 - 5:46 pm

      Hope they find it useful, Julia – and what a great name for a writing group!

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