How to Set Long-Term Goals as a Writer: Your Author Career

Posted on Jul 6, 2023

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Embarking on a writing journey is an exciting adventure filled with creativity and self-expression.

But to truly thrive as an author, it is not only beneficial but necessary to set long-term goals that provide direction and purpose. Whether you dream of becoming a bestselling novelist, an acclaimed nonfiction writer, or a beloved children’s book author, having a clear vision and a roadmap to guide your efforts is crucial. 

In this article, we will dive into the art of setting long-term author goals, offering practical strategies to help you navigate the ever-changing publishing landscape and achieve sustainable success.

You’ll learn the steps that will empower you to take charge of your writing career, make informed decisions, and turn your aspirations into reality. 

This guide on how to set long-term goals as a writer covers:

  1. Why set long-term goals as a writer?
  2. Step 1: Decide upon your author vision
  3. Step 2: Set your writing goals
  4. Step 3: Break it down into action steps
  5. Step 4: Determine your timeline
  6. Step 5: Track your author progress
  7. Step 6: Review and adjust
  8. Ready to take action on your author goals?

Let’s start by considering the importance of long-term author goals, before delving deep into the practical steeps needed to make it happen.

Why set long-term goals as a writer?

Firstly, it is important to understand why it is beneficial to actually set long term goals as an author.

Setting long-term goals is akin to setting a destination on a map before embarking on a journey. It provides clarity and focus, allowing you to channel your efforts and resources in the right direction. Long-term goals serve as a compass, guiding you through the ups and downs of the writing process and helping you stay motivated and committed to your craft.

Additionally, long-term goals help you make informed decisions about the steps you need to take to achieve your writing aspirations. They act as a framework to structure your career, giving you a sense of purpose and guiding your choices regarding the genres you write in, the target audience you want to reach, and the publishing opportunities you pursue.

Step 1: Decide upon your author vision

The first step in setting long-term author goals is to define your writing vision.

Take some time to reflect on your aspirations and ask yourself: What type of writer do I want to become? What genre or genres do I feel most passionate about? How do I envision my writing impacting readers’ lives? Be honest with yourself and let these feelings guide you.

Write down your vision statement, encapsulating your long-term writing goals in a concise and inspiring manner. This statement will serve as a touchstone throughout your journey, reminding you of your ultimate purpose and motivating you to stay on track.

Step 2: Set your writing goals

Once you have a clear vision, it is time to translate it into specific and measurable goals.

Instead of vague statements like “I want to be a successful writer,” break it down into tangible objectives that you can work towards. For example, your goals could include:

1. Complete and publish your first novel within the next year.

2. Build a dedicated readership of 10,000 subscribers for your blog within the next year.

3. Secure a literary agent and traditional publishing deal for your manuscript within the next two years.

By setting specific and measurable goals, you create a roadmap with clear milestones to strive for. This not only helps you track your progress but also provides a sense of achievement as you reach each goal along the way.

Step 3: Break it down into action steps

Once you have your long-term goals defined, it is time to break them down into smaller, actionable steps. These are the short-term objectives that will propel you towards your long-term vision.

For example, if your long-term goal is to complete and publish your first novel within the next year, your actionable steps could include:

1. Write 1,000 words every day to complete the first draft within a year.

2. Enroll in a writing workshop or join a writing group to improve your skills.

3. Research literary agents and submit your manuscript to at least five agents within the next six months.

Breaking down your goals into actionable steps allows you to focus on one task at a time, making progress towards your long-term vision.

Step 4: Determine your timeline

To ensure accountability and track your progress, create a timeline for achieving your goals.

Assign specific deadlines to each actionable step and long-term goal. This will help you stay motivated and disciplined, knowing that there are concrete timeframes to work within.

However, it is essential to remain flexible with your timeline.

Writing is a creative process, and unexpected challenges or opportunities may arise along the way. Adjust your timeline when needed, but make sure to stay committed to your overall vision and maintain forward momentum.

Step 5: Track your author progress

Regularly monitor your progress and celebrate your achievements along the way.

Keep a journal or a digital document to record your accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem. This will serve as a source of motivation during challenging times and remind you of how far you’ve come.

Reward yourself for reaching milestones or completing significant tasks. Recognizing your progress and acknowledging your hard work will fuel your motivation and inspire you to keep pushing forward.

Step 6: Review and adjust

Periodically review your goals and assess your progress.

Reflect on what is working well and what needs adjustment. Are your goals still aligned with your vision? Have circumstances or priorities shifted? Be open to refining your goals as you grow and evolve as a writer.

Seek feedback from trusted peers, mentors, or writing groups. They can provide valuable insights and offer fresh perspectives on your goals and writing journey. Embrace the opportunity to learn, adapt, and refine your approach.

Ready to take action and make your author dreams into goals?

Setting long-term author goals is not just a roadmap to success, but a journey of self-discovery and personal growth.

It is about embracing your passion, honing your craft, and persevering through the challenges that come with the writing life. By defining your vision, breaking down your goals, and taking consistent action, you can navigate your journey as an author with confidence and purpose. 

Remember, every step forward, no matter how small, is progress. Celebrate your achievements, learn from setbacks, and stay true to your unique voice and vision. Writing is a personal and evolving process, and your goals should reflect your aspirations and values. 

Finally, it is vital to remember that every one of your favourite authors will have at some point in their career, encountered writers block, self doubt challenges along the way to their success.

These difficulties are universal and not a sign that your goal to become a writer is unrealistic but merely a sign that you are on a path to become a writer.

Knowing this and preparing yourself in advance of these inevitable hurdles, will give you a stoic sense of resolve equipping you with the necessary mentality to handle such adversity. 

By using this guide, you will set yourself up for the best chance of success and give yourself the platform to go on and become the best writer you can be.

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