When I first starting getting into writing, I didn’t recognise the value of setting goals. I’m rather disorganised by nature and have always gone with the flow, but that doesn’t work when committing to a practice, be it writing or another creative pursuit.
Being part of a blogsphere is helping me enormously in the achievement of my goals, partly due to the wonderful supportive community but also because there are constant challenges available, should you wish to participate and in so doing, not only do you gain valuable writing practice, but you also establish the habit of writing regularly, something that can be difficult otherwise.
Once you achieve a goal, it is necessary to set a new one immediately, even if you don’t feel like it e.g. last November I ‘won’ NaNoWriMo, managing to write 50,000 words in the month. I was euphoric for a couple of days afterwards but then felt rather flat. It was just before Christmas so I didn’t have the time to commit to something else straightaway, but in some ways I think it would have helped, as I’d manage to sustain a momentum which had gone by the time January came along as I didn’t do too much writing in December.
I think it’s important to have different sized goals. My immediate goal is to do a flash fiction course (starting next week for a fortnight), and then finish a novel writing course (& my novel) and hopefully after that do a memoir writing course. My overall writing goal for this year is to finish my first novel (& hopefully get it published, although that is more of a dream than a goal!), and by the end of this year, I’d also like to be writing short stories of a good enough standard to reach the shortlist of a national competition. My short term goals are to submit a short story to a competition or magazine every two weeks and to participate in several weekly flash fiction/writing challenges.
Writing is a major part of my life now and in order to keep it that way, I must keep working towards my goals.