How to Write Like a Professional

How to Write Like a Professional
6 Surprising Mistakes That Make Writers Look Like Amateurs... and How to Avoid Them

Thursday, January 17, 2013

How to Set Writing Goals

If writing is spelled "Do It," then publishing is spelled "W-A-I-T." Do you float in the water, or do you swim toward a destination? Does it depend on the mood? Some of us set goals by floating around and seeing what happens, though that's not really setting goals. Others of us may see the shoreline and swim toward higher ground. Which are you? I think I may be a mixture.

Publishing is spelled "W-A-I-T." || how to set writing goals | writing productivity

Everyone always says to write your goals down. And break them up into smaller doable tasks. I try. But sometimes I float. My main GOAL is to always make improvements. That can be measured in different ways. I like to make improvements with my writing by revising each story until it's as good as I can get it. One way I do this is by always having more than one story in progress. When I get tired of one or stuck, I can just move on to the next by asking myself which one I'd like to dabble in.

I know I shared my progress from PiBoIdMo at the end of December, but here it is again, a little differently this time.

Started = began a new manuscript
Wrote = completed first draft
Revised = worked on a revision
Finished = polished
Submitted = sent off to a publisher

S. W. R. F. S. = Start With Real Feeling, Sister!

Began writing again.
  • Started = 2 
  • Wrote = 1 
  • Revised = 1
  • Finished = 1
  • Submitted = 0
Joined critique group.
Started a blog.
  • Started = 4 
  • Wrote = 5
  • Revised = 3
  • Finished = 1
  • Submitted = 1
Attended 1st SCBWI conference.
  • Started = 7 
  • Wrote = 6 
  • Revised = 4
  • Finished = 3
  • Submitted = 4
Joined SCBWI.
Attended 2nd SCBWI conference.
  • Started = 1 
  • Wrote = 2 
  • Revised = 6
  • Finished = 1
  • Submitted = 16
So far...
  • Started = 3 
  • Wrote = 0 
  • Revised = 0
  • Finished = 0
  • Submitted = 11
  • Accepted = ONE!!!

WOO-HOO!!! If that's not successfully reaching your goals, I don't know what is!!!

So my goals this year are to do more, more, more! Boost those numbers.


  1. This is excellent advice, Christie, but I am having trouble concentrating because you got a ms accepted!!! Woo-hoo! Congratulations! Which ms? Who bought it? Who's illustrating it? When will it be out? Congratulations! (oh, I said that already... but it bears repeating :))

    1. MS: Postcards From Alaska.

      Siku wants to visit Grandfather Atka more than anything, but Mom says swimming to Alaska will be a long, cold trip. Each postcard from Grandfather inspires more outlandish attempts from Siku. Will Mom be on board with his final attempt?

      Raven Productions (

    2. It sounds great! Can't wait to read it :)

  2. Goals AND record keeping!!? Wow. That's impressive. I wasn't sure what type I was, but after reading this, I guess I'm just floating in the water. Blindfolded. Wearing earplugs. In the middle of the ocean. Yikes.

    1. Yeah, well, I really don't write much down. I mostly keep track of which mss I've subbed to crit group and which to publishers. As far as the goals, some days I do nothing, and others (far and few between) I'll crank out a whole story. I spend much more time revising and researching (and blogging) than anything else. I'm sure you're not swimming blindfolded in the middle of the ocean. Just keep paddling. You'll make as much progress as you want to. I always felt S - L - O - W! and still still do...

  3. One point of clarification. The submitted numbers are for publishers submitted to, not mss subbed.

  4. Nice to see your goals in this format. It shows progress. Congratulations on your accepted ms! Sounds like a fabulous book! Can't wait to read it. 2015-2017 seems so far away. Talk about patience!

    1. Thank you. Patience, yes. Ahh, the suspense! But, at least I'll have plenty of time to get prepared, right? And to get more mss out there. Just riding the wave.

  5. Congratulations Christie! *throws confetti, whacks pinata, eats cupcakes*
    Thank you so much for sharing your data- it really helps me digest the work and patience required to be a writer.

  6. I always struggle with goal-setting. Thanks for sharing your own method. It will help me figure out how to set my goals down this year (which I've been putting off because it is so intimidating!) I love hearing author success stories. So inspiring! Congrats over and over!


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