It’s Never Too Late to Set Writing Goals

IMG_0015Yesterday I was chatting with my crit buddy, Alison Reynolds about all the things we plan to do in the next 6 to 12 months.

We are both the kind of writers who always have a lot of projects we’re working on at once – so it’s easy to get distracted from what we’re supposed to be working on.

Letters to Leonardo Book CoverIn fact, sometimes we have so much going on that it’s hard to know what to work on first.

For me, having too many things to do can be a source of procrastination – not knowing where to start causes me to not to get much done at all.

At the moment I’m working on my sequel to Letters to Leonardo, my SCBWI Nevada mentorship novel, a new chapter book series, my YA trilogy and a couple of picture books.  It’s kind of the way I work sometimes – chaos:)

That’s why I need to sometimes look to the horizon, look beyond the thing I’m currently working on and plan the journey ahead.

Lake Taupo at SunsetAlison’s list had a similar number of WIP to mine – a similar lack of direction.

So, while we sat in a cafe overlooking the Yarra river, we set our writing goals for the next six months to try and keep our projects on track.


  1. Be specific about what you want to achieve.
  2. Identify the steps you will need to take to achieve this – split your goals up into achievable  stages.  For example, first draft, critique, edit first draft, write next draft, write next draft, write synopsis, write query letter, identify potential markets for your work, submit, follow up etc. Set a deadline for each of these tasks.
  3. Be flexible – don’t be afraid to change your goals according to circumstances. For example, when my feedback comes back from my mentor, I’ll be going back to working on my mentorship novel.
  4. Talk over your writing goals with a writing buddy. This can help you get things in perspective and work out where your priorities are.
  5. Set goals that inspire you. Your goals have to be meaningful.
  6. Commit your goals to writing – this makes them more ‘real’.
  7. Share these goals with someone – this makes you accountable for achieving them.
  8. Regularly review and update your goals.
  9. Set some goals that are very easy to achieve – this will give you a sense of satisfaction – something to ‘tick off’ – something to give you incentive to keep going.
  10. Set short term and long term goals that can be measured. Short term goals might be things like how many hours you are going to devote to your writing each week. Long term goals would include submission and editing deadlines that you set yourself.

If you have any other goal setting tips, feel free to share them in the comments section of this post.

Happy writing and goal setting:)


P.S. if you are looking for a crit buddy, you may find one here:


7 thoughts on “It’s Never Too Late to Set Writing Goals

  1. Thanks for the great tips, Dee. I’d say sharing a goal with others (point seven) makes the biggest difference to me. Once a goal is out there, I can be sure people (like my hubbie) will keep asking me about it, until I achieve it!

  2. Thanks Julie,

    That’s exactly what I find, once I have told someone I am going to do something, I feel more committed to doing it – and if they follow me up on it – even better:)


  3. Your Tuesday Tips post content often coincides totally with what is happening with my writing. I’m also at the ‘which project will I work on today?’ stage and need to clarify some goals and deadlines so that I really do finish some WIPs and move the process forward. A timely reminder 🙂 Now…where’s that list?
    Thanks, Dee.


  4. I am very grateful for my critique/writing partner. She often kicks me in the butt to keep going, and finds exactly what is wrong with the novel. She also challenges me to do better than I am and won’t let me get lazy.

    Like you, I have several projects that need finishing and out. Wishing you the best.


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