How To Become A Writer: Setting Realistic Goals

If you want to become a writer, learning to set realistic goals is one of the most important things you'll ever do. Get tips here!

Setting writing goals is one of the most important things you can do to help further your success as a writer, whether you are working on a one time project like a term paper or school assignment, or whether you're a professional fiction writer trying to finish a novel by your publisher's deadline. Creating goals specific to the type of project at hand can help increase your overall productivity and give you a real sense of accomplishment when hitting your mini-milestones along the way.

Setting writing goals for a one-time project

Stand alone writing projects like term papers, school assignments or short stories can benefit from a set of writing goals to help move the project along. Start by making an outline for your project. Plan out on paper the structure of your paper. Do you want to organize your report chronologically? Do you want to organize your short story in mini-chapters, or according to several different characters' points of view? Decide how you want the organization of your project to flow with the outline. Be as detailed as possible. You may even feel like you're writing the entire project just by fleshing out the outline. Though this may seem like a lot of work at first, you'll find that it will be invaluable in keeping you focused on moving your project forward because you can always see where the story or paper is going.

Once you have your outline, take a look at your calendar (either one in your favorite desktop program or the good old fashioned paper kind) and if you haven't done so already, mark the deadline of when the story or paper needs to be finished. If time allows, mark the date of the deadline several days before the REAL deadline, so that if anything goes wrong or your research takes longer than you thought it would, you still have a few days to clean up the final copy. Between your early deadline and your final deadline, choose two different dates for revision only. Give your paper or story to a friend, review it yourself, or ask your editor or professor to take a look. Once you have these important deadlines in place, decide how much time it should take you to write each of the entries on your outline. For instance, if you have 5 main sections in your outline, you should choose 5 "mini-deadlines" throughout the course of the writing project for each of these sections to be completed.



Setting writing goals for a long term project such as a novel or thesis

The long term writing process is very similar to the short term writing project in goals, but they are just stretched over a longer period of time. Again, start with an outline. Flesh out your project as much as possible. Once you have each chapter or section outlined, give yourself a good amount of time to complete each section.

For long term writing projects, more time for research is key. The research process can be long and arduous, and it's common to underestimate just how long this process can take. If your novel or thesis is heavily dependent on hard facts or quoted historical material, you may want to schedule twice as much time for researching each chapter or section as you do for writing it.

If you follow these simple tips, your writing goals will help you accomplish your writing projects in no time.

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