Now is about the time of year when you see those “New Year’s Resolutions” articles – the ones that point out that 98% of goal setters don’t achieve their New Year’s resolutions. Well, if you hope to buck the trend, here is another article that will help you figure out how to set – and achieve — your writing goals in 2008.


I have to admit that I am a big goal setter. I set daily, weekly, quarterly, and yearly goals. I have 5 and 10 year goals. So, naturally, I like New Year’s Day quite a bit. From setting my own goals and researching goal setting, my best tips for making 2008 your best writing year are:


1) Look back over 2007. Too many of us start the new year thinking that we didn’t achieve all our goals for the past year. That just sets us up to believe that goals don’t matter or are hard to achieve. Even if you didn’t reach all your goals, you must have had some victories. What were they? Write them down and give yourself a big pat on the back. There are probably writers right now who would love to say that they achieved that in the past year. And there are probably people out there too scared to start writing who would be very proud to have your victories list.


2) Decide on your longer-term goals first. Imagine what sort of writing career you will want in five and in ten years from now. Some of your writing goals for this year should be pushing you towards those larger goals. If you want to be a best-selling romance novelist in five years, for example, you will want to create at least the first draft of your first romance novel in 2008. Once you set goals for the future, your one-year goals will seem more important and you may be more inspired to follow through.


3) Always write goals down. But you knew that from reading all of those other goal-setting articles, right?


4) Divide your writing career into areas and set goals for each area. For example, as a writer, you need to submit and query, complete projects, find some writing gigs, network, market yourself, develop your skills, manage your finances, and so on. What are your financial goals? Do you want to make $100 000 this year? What are your writing job goals? Do you want to land three new clients and let your lowest-paying client go? For each area, write down a goal or two. If you improve in every area, your writing career will really start to take off. Just make sure that your goals are specific. “Improve my skills” isn’t ideal, because how will you know you have improved? Something like “read 3 books on grammar and take one online course in magazine writing” is a better goal because you will be able to see exactly when you have arrived.


5) After you have a list of goals for the next year, break your goals down so that you can achieve them. For example, if you want to make $100 000 a year, you will need to make about $2000 a week. That means that you either have to take projects that give you no less than $50 an hour (assuming a 40 hour work week) or you will have to work longer hours. If one of your networking goals is to attend a conference in the summer that will set you back $1500 in total, you need to start saving $10 a day starting today. Knowing what you need to do today or this week is key.


6) Set up a system for checking in. You should be looking over your goals every week. If you are not making progress, those goals need to be right there to remind you. A common tactic is to hide your written goals at the back of your planner where you can’t see them because you don’t like to be reminded that you aren’t working on your dreams. Refuse to do this. One very productive year, I paid a local business to make me a rubber stamp that allowed me to literally imprint my top 3 goals at the top of my planner every day. I went through my planner right at the start of the year and stamped the goals right on every day so I would see them every day. It got the job done. It was easier to just do what I needed to check those off rather than stare at that red ink every day and feel guilty about it. And being able to cross all three off every day from November onwards was a huge ego boost.


Here are today’s job leads:

1) — This general job search page offers lots of Canadian writing and editing jobs.

2) — This website lists jobs as well as good job-hunting resources.

3) — Writers with knowledge of internet marketing will find many opportunities here.

4) — Folio magazine’s job board has editorial, writing, and related positions. Many jobs are US-based.

5) — This media company owns a number of publications, mostly in the business field, so it’s a great place when looking for a home for that business piece.

6) — A general job site out in the UK. Lots and lots of writing jobs.

7) — Travel gigs here, but you do have to sift through some non-paying or low-paying jobs to find them.