STEP 1: SET REALISTIC GOALS
“A Goal Is A Dream With A Deadline.” --Napoleon Hill
Chances are if you’re reading this book, you have a dream. A dream to write a novel. Maybe to get that novel published. One of the best ways to make your dreams come true is to set goals. We all know what goals are, right? They’re things we want. Things we’re striving for. Things we’re willing to work for, not just desire. Here are some tips for achieving your goals.
MAKE IT BLACK AND WHITE
“Vague Goals Produce Vague Results.” -–Jack Canfield
What, exactly, is a vague goal? One that doesn’t clearly define the results you want. To write a novel is a great goal, but it’s not specific enough. What kind of novel? How long? Do you want anyone to read it? What readers are you targeting?
In the same vein, to sell a book is another great goal, but again, it’s not specific enough. This goal covers everything from self-publishing a “how-to” on building a steam engine, to selling a “book here and a book there” to different publishing houses in a variety of sub-genres.
So be specific. Specific but flexible.
You don’t want to cheat yourself out of a goal. For instance, what if you start writing one genre and find you hate it? Or what if you target one publishing line, only to find the line closes? Being specific about your goal, but being able to adjust your goal in the face of obstacles, will increase your chances of accomplishing it.
A fun tool to help you narrow down your goal is to try and picture it. If you’re a visual person, close your eyes and imagine the goal. See it in your mind as if it’s happened already. For instance, see yourself in the bookstore watching people buy your book off the shelf. See yourself winning major writing awards or your name on the NY Times Best Seller list. Whatever your goal is, see it in your mind. If you’re not visual, imagine how it will feel. Bring in the emotions and excitement you’ll experience when it happens.
Once you’ve narrowed down your goal, honed it, and made sure this is exactly what you want, the best thing to do is write it down. Writing down your goals empowers them. It gives that extra boost that takes them from a wish to a determined path you plan to take. One famous study from Yale in 1953 indicates that the 3% of Yale graduates who had written goals had more wealth years later than the other 97% of the class combined.
Where you write your goals is totally up to you! You can type them up in a computer file or you can create a goal book and note them there. Experts say that handwritten goals and affirmations carry more weight because they involve more of your body’s focus and effort, but the key is to write the goal and keep track of it.
EXERCISE: List three specific, major goals you have with respect to writing.
 Striking Distance by Debra Webb