Thursday, February 11, 2016

Goal Setting for Writers by Julie Jarnagin

Terri here. I'm pleased to welcome my friend and USA Today Best Selling Author Julie Jarnagin to Seriously Write. Julie is a talented and goal driven author. I always find her advice helpful and I'm sure you will as well.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love all things goal setting and productivity. The research and science behind making new habits and reaching new goals is fascinating to me, especially as a writer…because writing is hard! Don’t you agree?
For me this writing journey takes willpower, concentration, and energy that some days I’m lacking. But when I look at my goals, I remember why it’s so important to make writing a priority in my life.

Here are 10 tips for setting and reaching your goals:

1. Make sure you have the right goal - Is it measurable? Is it realistic? Is it in your control? The last one is important. If your goal is to get a contract from your dream publisher by the end of the year, that’s something you can’t control. It’s an awesome dream, but not as useful as a goal. Instead, set a goal like – Have my manuscript complete and ready to pitch to the publisher at the conference or send out 15 query letters. These are measurable and in your control.

2. Look for the “why” behind your goal and visualize success – Why is this goal important to you? What makes the time and sacrifice worth it? How will you feel when you accomplish the goal? What would that look like? Knowing the why will help you know if you’re doing things for the right reasons and help get you through the tough times.

3. Limit the number of goals you’re focusing on at once – This is one reason so many people struggle with New Year’s Resolutions. They want to eat healthy, start a new exercise routine, find a new career, and get out of debt. We can’t do it all at once! This year, I broke my New Year’s resolutions down by month. Each month I focus on a different area. This means I can use all my willpower in one area – not ten.

4. Write down your goals and track your progress - Putting things on paper is powerful. Post your goal somewhere you can see it or share it with a trusted person in your life.

5. Do something concrete to help you achieve success - If your goal is to write more, schedule the date, time, and word count in your calendar. If your goal is to improve your writing craft, sign up for an online workshop or purchase the books you plan to read to make this happen.

6. Recognize that if you’re adding something to your life, you’re also going to have to give something up – Want to do more marketing? Where is the time going to come from? Are you going to give up one of your nightly television shows, wake up earlier, or spend less time on Pinterest. If you’re not careful, the time will be stolen from something you didn’t intend, like working on your manuscript or getting to bed at a decent hour.

7. Review your goals – Have a process for reviewing your goals regularly—whether that’s putting it in your calendar or putting a slip of paper with your goals in your wallet that you pull out every now and then. Revisit them to make sure you’re still on track.

8. Reward yourself - If your resolution is to work on your novel every day, reward yourself with a new book or a coffee from Starbucks each month that you write 20 or more days.

9. Don’t be afraid to fail – Nobody is perfect. If you get off track, get up and try again.

10. Give God room to work – Sometimes we think our list of goals is the best and only way to achieve success. Goals are good and useful, but only if we seek God when we’re setting them and seek God throughout the process. Goals are meant to keep us on track, but don’t be so set on your own road that you don’t notice if God is paving a new one for you.

Do you set specific writing goals? What are they? Do you write them down? How do you plan to stick to them?

Paige Morgan’s career is in shambles. What kind of wedding planner gets left at the altar? So when a job planning parties on a ranch in rural Texas comes her way, she jumps at it. So what if the cowboy who runs the place isn’t happy she’s there?
Rancher Nick Reid risked his heart once… and lost. Who needs love? He’s got a great life on the family ranch—so long as Paige Morgan and her city ideas don’t ruin it all. If only his family didn’t need her help to save their livelihood. And if only he wasn’t so darned drawn to the woman. But no sooner does Nick start to believe in love again, than a socialite shows up looking for Paige. Asking her to plan an elaborate wedding. Back in the city.
Both Paige and Nick need a second chance at love. But what will it cost them to take it?
USA Today Best Selling author Julie Jarnagin writes sweet and inspirational romance. She grew up in a small Oklahoma town where her family farmed and ranched. These days she lives in a not-so-big city with her amazing husband and two young sons who tolerate all her nerdy quirks. Julie earned a B.A. in Journalism / Professional Writing from the University of Oklahoma and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Sign up for her newsletter to be the first to learn about new releases and free books: