Goal Setting for Writers: The Ultimate Guide to the 4-Step Goal Setting Formula That Will Help You Achieve Your Writing Dreams

Are you tired of spending more time dreaming about achieving your writing dreams? Of dreaming about your writing career? Or are you tired of spending more time setting goals but not achieving them? It doesn’t have to be this hard.  Ready to set goals and create a detailed action plan so you know exactly what to work on to achieve your writing dreams?  In this blog post, I’ve compiled everything about the 4-step goal setting formula that will help you achieve your writing dreams.

Do you have a hard time achieving your writing goals?

Are you tired of spending more time dreaming about achieving your writing dreams? Of dreaming about your writing career? Or are you tired of spending more time setting goals but not achieving them? It doesn’t have to be this hard.

Ready to set goals and create a detailed action plan so you know exactly what to work on to achieve your writing dreams?

In this blog post, I’ve compiled everything about the 4-step goal setting formula that will help you achieve your writing dreams.

Before we dive into the goodies, I just want to introduce you to the backstory to me coming up with and using the 4-step goal setting formula as well as giving you an overview of formula.

 
Download the FREE 4-Step Goal Setting Formula for Writers Workbook (thewritingkylie.com)

Do you want a workbook to write down your goals?

Download the FREE 4-Step Goal Setting Formula for Writers Workbook by signing up below.

(When you sign up here, you will also receive monthly educational emails right into your inbox.)

 

The Backstory of the 4-Step Goal Setting Formula

Achieving goals is as much about taking action as it is about setting and formulating goals that are specific and exciting. From personal experience, and from many other writer friends, I’ve learned that many of us struggle with both.

It took me years, and some experimentation, before I realized that a lack of direction was where it all faltered. Without a clear sense of direction, of where I wanted to go with my writing and what goals I wanted to achieve, there was no way that I could move forward.

Trust me, this comes from someone who hasn’t written much (if anything other than occasional journaling) for the past two years. I’ve been kind of lost, not knowing how to move forward or where I wanted to go and what I wanted to achieve.

So, this year (and this past summer in particular), I did a lot of journaling to figure out why I hadn’t really done any writing the past few years. That’s when it hit me. I wasn’t clear about my direction, where I wanted to go, and what I wanted to achieve with my writing. I didn’t have any clearly set goals.

Nerding out on that for a couple of weeks, I realized that there were 3 key steps I needed to go through to get to a point where I had a clear path, the motivation, and the excitement to achieve my writing dreams.

Let’s go through these 3 steps.

An Overview of the 4-Step Goal Setting Formula

This 4-step goal setting formula is really simple and easy to remember. It contains:

  1. Vision (a 3- and a 1-year vision)

  2. Mission (your why)

  3. A clearly formulated goal (a SMART goal)

  4. A plan of action

Let’s dive right into the first step.

 
Download the FREE 4-Step Goal Setting Formula for Writers Workbook (thewritingkylie.com)

Do you want a workbook to write down your goals?

Download the FREE 4-Step Goal Setting Formula for Writers Workbook by signing up below.

(When you sign up here, you will also receive monthly educational emails right into your inbox.)

 

Vision

Before you focus on any type of goal, you need to establish your direction. You do this by writing down your 3- and 1-year visions.

They don’t have to be perfectly figured out, overly detailed, or too complicated. They are not set in stone, either. Just dream for a moment and write down what comes up.

Consider this a brainstorming session for all of your biggest writing hopes and dreams. Don’t edit or censor yourself during this exercise.

Grab a notebook (or do it on your computer) and answer the following questions:

  1. Where do you want to be in 3 years? Where do you see yourself in 3 years? What writing goals have you achieved?

  2. Where do you want to be in 1 year? Where do you see yourself in 1 year? What writing goals have you achieved?

I find that starting with the 3-year vision works best for me. However, if you want to start with your 1-year vision, or if you want to write a 3- and a 5-year vision, that’s totally fine. Just dream for a moment.

Mission (Your Why)

This is such an important part of this whole 4-step goal setting formula and one that is most often overlooked.

While your Vision is basically where you want to go, your Mission is all about the underlying reason you want to achieve your vision, the motivational why behind it all. Without a strong why you’ll probably never achieve your visions or come anywhere close to achieving them.

If you’ve ever heard of Simon Sinek (watched his TED talk or read his book Start with Why) then you know how important your why is.

If you want to, for example, publish your first novel in 1 year, you need a strong why to get you through the hard times.

If your why is to get rich on that book, you may not get very far (and the realistic chance of that is very small).

However, if your why is to create another stream of income on the side, to build your legacy, to prove to yourself that you can actually write a book which has been your biggest dream for years, then you’ll probably get through the hard times too.

The stronger your why is, the greater chance you have at achieving your vision.

Grab a notebook (or do it on your computer) and write down why your 3- and 1-year visions are important to you. Why do you want to achieve them?

If you’re having some trouble figuring out your why or finding a deeper meaning behind it all, ask “Why?” at least four times.

For example: My 1-year vision is to publish my first novel.

Why is that important to me?

Because I love to write.

Why?

Because it’s the medium I’m most comfortable with.

Why?

Because it allows me some time to think about how to express myself.

Why?

Because I have a lot to say but I don’t feel that the people around me listen. Writing helps me find my voice and is, therefore, a therapeutic experience that I need.

The last answer is a lot more motivating than “Because I love to write”, right?

It’s important to get to the heart of why you’re doing it all, so I highly recommend that you spend some time really going through this exercise.

A Clearly Formulated Goal (SMART Goal Setting Formula)

A great way to formulate goals is to use the SMART goal-setting formula. I’m sure you’ve heard about the SMART goal-setting formula before. However, it’s always good to freshen up your memory. So, here’s a short explanation:

  • S: Specific

  • M: Measurable

  • A: Achievable (how)

  • R: Realistic (worthwhile)

  • T: Time-based (when)

Let’s take a closer look at each of these points:

Your goal needs to be as Specific as possible, meaning that you need to answer questions like:

  • What do I want to accomplish?

  • How? Why? Where? When? With who?

Your goal needs to be Measurable, meaning that you need to answer questions like:

  • How will I measure my progress?

  • How will I know that I’ve achieved my goal? What evidence will I have?

  • When will I start working towards achieving my goal?

Your goal needs to be Achievable and something you really want to achieve, meaning that you need to answer questions like:

  • Can I achieve this goal?

  • How can it be achieved?

  • Can I break it down into manageable steps, and what are the logical steps I should take?

  • Is this goal to big? Too small?

Your goal needs to be Realistic because it needs to be something you’re realistically able to achieve, meaning that you need to answer questions like:

  • Is my goal to difficult to reach? Too easy?

  • Is this even a worthwhile goal to strive for? Is it relevant to my vision?

  • Is this the right time for me to work on this goal?

  • Can I put down as much time and effort it will take to achieve my goal?

  • Do I have the necessary resources to achieve my goal?

Your goal needs to be Time-based because deadlines are amazing motivators when it comes to goals, meaning that you need to answer questions like:

  • When is my deadline (be specific with a date)?

  • When will I spend time working towards achieving my goal?

  • How long will it take to achieve my goal (be realistic)?

When you’ve answered these questions as detailed as possible, you will have a clearly formulated goal. And that goal will be a lot easier to achieve than a goal you haven’t formulated in this way.

Download the FREE 4-Step Goal Setting Formula for Writers Workbook (thewritingkylie.com)

Do you want a workbook to write down your goals?

Download the FREE SMART Goal Setting Formula Workbook by signing up below.

(When you sign up here, you will also receive monthly educational emails right into your inbox.)

 

An Action Plan

Making an action plan is quite simple but oh so important. If you don’t schedule the time to work on your writing, it will most likely never happen. An action plan is, therefore, invaluable.

If your 1-year vision ends with you having finished the first draft of a 60.000 word manuscript, you have 365 days (or 52 weeks or 12 months) to spread that number out across.

The easiest way to make an action plan (and a way to track your progress) is to split your overarching goal into smaller ones. For example:

  • Your overarching goal is to write a first draft of 60.000 words in a year.

  • Split the goal of 60.000 words into monthly goals: 5.000 words a month.

  • Split the goal of 5.000 words a month into weekly goals: 1.250 words a week.

  • You can also plan daily goals if you want to get into the nitty-gritty.

Simple, right? However, not every goal is this basic.

If your goal is, for example, to publish a novel before the end of the year, the planning will look a little different.

There are many smaller steps you need to take to reach this kind of goal—like getting your novel professionally edited, getting it formatted, working on a book cover with a designer, fixing the product pages on the different retailer’s platforms, etc. 

With a goal like this, you need to plan backward, from deadline to start.

To make it as easy as possible, write a list of the things you need to get done, and then make a note on how long (realistically speaking) it will take for you to finish those tasks. For example:

  • Developmental edit - one month

  • Line edit - three weeks

  • Proofread - one week

  • Book cover design - two weeks

  • Etc.

Then it’s time to put all your action steps in a planner of choice. Write down when you need to start and finish these smaller goals so that you know what tasks to work on.

This is also where the ongoing tracking of your goals will come in handy.

There you have it. Now, create your own goals and action plan and make sure you track your progress consistently to know that you’re on the right track to achieving your writing dreams.

There you have the 4-step goal setting formula for writers. I hope you found this useful.

 
Download the FREE 4-Step Goal Setting Formula for Writers Workbook (thewritingkylie.com)

Do you want a workbook to write down your goals?

Download the FREE SMART Goal Setting Formula Workbook by signing up below.

(When you sign up here, you will also receive monthly educational emails right into your inbox.)

 
Are you tired of spending more time dreaming about achieving your writing dreams? Of dreaming about your writing career? Or are you tired of spending more time setting goals but not achieving them? It doesn’t have to be this hard.  Ready to set goals and create a detailed action plan so you know exactly what to work on to achieve your writing dreams?  In this blog post, I’ve compiled everything about the 4-step goal setting formula that will help you achieve your writing dreams.
Are you tired of spending more time dreaming about achieving your writing dreams? Of dreaming about your writing career? Or are you tired of spending more time setting goals but not achieving them? It doesn’t have to be this hard.  Ready to set goals and create a detailed action plan so you know exactly what to work on to achieve your writing dreams?  In this blog post, I’ve compiled everything about the 4-step goal setting formula that will help you achieve your writing dreams.

Do you want to learn more about, and dig deeper into, goal setting?

Check out the Goal Setting Workshop for Writers and learn how to set intentional, effective, and exciting goals to achieve your writing dreams.