With a fresh start on the year it’s so easy and enticing to want to do set goals and aim high. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with dreaming big either. The problem sets in entirely when those big goals get to be a little too grandiose and real life gets in the way, especially when it’s a writing-related goal. Finding a balance isn’t always easy either, so how do you do that?
First, recognize that regardless of what your goal is, you’re going to have to put in work. Things don’t just happen to fall in people’s laps. Books don’t magically fall out of the computer, fully typed and edited. Similarly, a full-time paycheck from writing doesn’t spontaneously appear because you want it to. It’s going to take work.
Secondly, try breaking your overall goal down into smaller milestone goals, and look at which ones you can actually accomplish within a month, and then within the next year. Remember what I just said about work? This is where it starts: you need a plan. Put one together. This might mean planning out the daily time where you sit down and actually write, or it might mean giving yourself solid deadlines to have a smaller goal done by.
If you’re just starting your writing career and aren’t sure what you can do just yet, then one of the best things you can do for yourself is take this year and set a challenge for yourself each month. Maybe that’s learning about a particular aspect of the industry (publishing options, standard contracts, editing services and levels, etc.), or that’s figuring out your process, but it will help in the long run. If you’re thinking you can just write something out in a couple of weeks or months and have it published and selling just as fast, I have some terrible news for you: it’s not likely.
If you’ve been writing for a while and are looking to move forward, now is a good time to push your limits. For those looking for the traditional route: send more queries, work on another project while you’re waiting. For those in self-publishing, what else can you do to up your numbers?
Aim high! But also remember that no matter what you aim for, you have to put in the work to get there.