Last month I wrote about how to identify your writing goals. As cliché as it felt, it made sense to start there in January since so many folks like to set new goals at the beginning of a new calendar year.
But that’s where it gets tricky. Just because we’ve started a new annual calendar, doesn’t mean we are actually prepared to do what needs to be done to meet those goals.
So once you’ve decided on what one or two or three writing goals you have for the year, how do you go about doing the work to checking those off and giving yourself a star sticker for accomplishing what you set out to do?
Sure, you could follow all those oft-cited tips of “create a writing schedule” or “write every day” or “use this tried and true writing method” or….I could go on and on. But these all rely on YOU. It’s all on YOU ALONE.
And to be completely honest with you, lovelies, you can’t do it alone. The key to meeting your writing goals is creating a community of support. What does that look like? Creating a community of support around your writing goals can include many things.
Communicating your writing goals to the people in your life
By letting those in your circle know what your goals are, you’re more likely to find them supportive and encouraging. They can’t help you meet your goals if they don’t what they are (or even that they exist!).
Your community of support might be your mom or your spouse, your best friend, your book club group, your neighbour, or heck, even your therapist.
Finding accountability partners and setting deadlines together
Accountability partners may be other writers or friends or family members who are willing to champion you and encourage you as you work toward your writing goals. Regular check-ins along the lines of “You said you wanted to write two chapters this week. How is that going?” can go a long way to not feeling like you’re on this journey alone.
Having someone else that you’re accountable to can be a huge help for people (like me) who find a little external motivation (e.g., not disappointing someone) necessart to focus.
Joining writing groups* to be around other writers and have set writing times.
Writing groups can become an instant community of like-minded folks. Many writing groups have a set weekly or monthly “write-in” (either in-person or online) and these can be a great way of ensuring you prioritize your writing in your schedule. It may take trying a few different groups to find the best fit for you. That’s totally normal.
Check out your local library or do a web search for writing groups/associations that offer “write-ins”.
*Note: While writing groups that meet to write together for “write-ins” can be incredibly beneficial to getting words on the page and feeling a sense of community, writing groups that focus on critique can often be harmful to many writers because those providing feedback may not be trained to provide it well or may be giving feedback based solely on their own personal preferences rather than on what’s best for the story or the author.
Set boundaries with family, friends, or roommates
This one may seem a little outside the lines of play compared to what I’ve shared above. But it’s one of the most important items on this list. By not only communicating what your writing goals are, but also being clear with the folks in your life (and especially that you live with) that your writing is a priority, you’ll be much more likely to actually achieve your goals.
This may look like letting everyone know that Wednesdays from 7 pm to 10 pm is your writing time and that you aren’t to be disturbed. It may be scheduling with your spouse that they are primary parent on Saturdays from 9 am to 11 am so that you can go write in a coffee shop or attend a writing group. It may even be setting the boundary that when you say you’re writing, it’s a real thing and not an excuse to avoid a social event.
Working with a book coach
You probably saw this one coming, didn’t you?
A book coach (or author coach) can be that supportive and encouraging accountability partner for you. As a book coach, I help you set reasonable deadlines based fitting writing into your real life, give you professional, constructive feedback on your writing, help you brainstorm your way through plot holes and mental blocks, and more.
As your book coach, I’m willing to be the excuse you might need when you do want to avoid a social event—“I can’t come, I have to write 10 pages for my book coach. If I don’t get them to her, I’ve wasted the money I spent hiring her.”
Not everyone needs or wants a book coach. For many writers, the first four things in this list are all they need to meet their goals. And that’s awesome! But for some folks (me included!), having that extra support of a coach, and the extra incentive that you’ve paid for their help, makes them a lot more likely to meet their goals and gives them the feeling that their writing is a valid and worthwhile pursuit. Investing in your goals—either with your time or your money—does help you be more likely to meet them.
So there you have it. The best way to meet your writing goals is to create a community of support around yourself to help you get there. All the other tips and tricks can help, yes. But if you’re all alone in your writing journey, it will be that much harder to meet those writing goals.
If you’d like to explore working with me as your book coach, take a look at my Book Coaching Services or my Editorial Services and see what tickles your fancy. Then, give me a shout and tell me about your project and your goals.
Happy writing, lovelies! All the best with your writing goals.