Writing Series

How To Set Effective Writing Goals

Setting goals always seems like a very fun and liberating moment for everyone. Setting goals help you plan for success and make you feel like you’re in a better place in life and ready to take on the world. 

It is one thing to set goals and another to achieve them. It often takes the best of us with all the willpower to really get to ticking off our boxes we carefully mapped out. 

Setting writing goals is just as liberating as setting any other goals such as life goals, yearly goals or even our day to day goals. It is just as liberating and can get just as frustrating. It doesn’t matter how long you have been in the writing business, whether you are a professional or just starting up. 

Setting writing goals takes a lot of courage to see to execution and achieving them oftentimes requires you to look inwards, evaluating your stance in life and your visions for your career. It takes both mental and physical strength to set your goals, no matter how big or small they may seem. You should evaluate where you currently are in your writing career, where you want to be and most importantly how much you want to be where you want to be. All these should be your motivating factor as it can get busy juggling fulfilling your writing goals and your everyday life activities. 

Setting writing goals requires one to be intentional about how much effort you put into it becoming an actuality. Whether you have set out to write a novel, a biography, memoirs, an academia or simply casual writing for fun to perfect your skill, whatever goals you have set out to achieve must be realistic and should certainly lead you to achieving your dreams. 

This article carefully breaks down effective steps to take in your writing-goals setting and be on your way to having a successful writing career. 

Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” — Stephen A. Brennan


  1. Know who you are
  2. Outline a long-term writing ambition
  3. Break your goals into smaller focus 
  4. Set realistic goals 
  5. Be flexible in setting your goals
  6. Celebrate your little wins 

Setting writing goals not only help you become a more focused writer, it also hones your skills and makes you a better person overall. These steps serve as guidelines for setting writing goals and achieving them. 


This has to do with looking inwards and knowing your personality and how you respond to goal setting. Everyone responds differently to the idea of setting goals and our attitude towards achieving them varies as well. 

In this regard, when setting writing goals, it should be taken into cognizance of your personality traits as well as your writing pattern, such as; 

  • What kind of person are you? : if you are someone who is very detailed in setting and meticulous about how you achieve your goals. 
  • How do you react to the ideas of setting goals?: your reaction to the idea of goal setting and your attitude in achieving them. This could be either enthusiasm or dread.
  •  How tight is your schedule? 
  • Can you make out time for yourself in your schedule? 
  • What type of writing do you do? 
  • What type of writer do you wish to become? 
  • Does goal setting motivate or stress you out?

All of these questions help you discover your personality and your writing pattern, they give clarity on what grounds to make certain goals upon and largely help ensure how timely you achieve your goals. Fitting your goals setting around your personality helps make the process easy and realistic. 


Outlining is the perfect way to give structure to your goals and takes you a step closer to achieving them. This is you writing down whatever your goals are. Long term goals tend to look scary when thought of, but by putting them down in your private notes, you are taking a step closer to achieving them. It doesn’t matter how unrealistic you think they look at first glance or the judgment and opinions of others. 

Taking note of your ideas and visions help set you in the right direction of confidently achieving them. It doesn’t matter how big they appear or how little you feel they are, do you wish to finally  complete your novel that is long overdue? Is your goal to become a New York best seller? Land speaking engagement deals from your writing? Pitching your book ideas to publishing houses Literary Agents and publishing houses, or finally getting to Self-Publishing your own book? The list goes on and on. 

Whatever long-term goals you have set out to achieve, take a moment to always note them down. This could be broken down into various categories to include;

  • Project Oriented goals
  • Publication Oriented goals
  • Personal growth goals 
  • Individual habit goals. 

Fitting your outlining into categories help you properly define what you wish to achieve and how to go about achieving them. 


Prioritizing is the best way to go! Don’t overwhelm yourself with bulky ideas. When ideas overspill, the chances of ever getting them achieved is very low. 

In setting goals, learn to do things in phases. Of course, in their order of importance. In executing goals, the plan is to carefully map out action plans to achieve your ultimate long-term goals. This should be done taking into consideration their importance and what comes first m. 

Each phase/plan should be given the utmost attention until completion before moving on to the next plan of action. 

One will be faced with different processes or phases in achieving set goals, treating each process or phase independently as a goal itself helps you give it your very best. 


As much as we’d like to tell ourselves that no goal is too big or small, setting realistic goals that you can actively work towards is the best way to follow. 

The best way to make our goals more realistic is to break them down into smaller bits of tasks. There are various factors to consider when setting realistic goals; 

  • Specificity: being specific about your goals make them more realistic. Setting practical goals make them actionable. Be specific about what you want to achieve. 
  • Measurable : Try setting measurable goals as this helps make them more realistic. 
  • Relevant: your goals should be relevant to you and your individual overall growth. Your goals should get you closer to achieving your dreams. Relevancy helps make your goals more realistic and achievable. 
  • Time-Bound: Be time conscious when setting goals. Giving deadlines to your goals makes them realistic and achievable. It also helps you plan properly on how to effectively execute them and move on to other goals. 

Expect nothing while you hope for the best. Do not be heavily emotionally attached to your goals. Be open to the possibility of obstacles and learn to prepare your mind to adapt to changes in plan. You should prepare your mind when setting goals, of the possibility of unforeseen circumstances and be flexible to the mechanisms you employ in achieving your goals. 

Things may not go according to plan, circumstances may arise and it may seem your plan is taking longer than you expected to achieve, unexpected life events may delay your goals from becoming a success, learn how to adapt to changes in plan and be flexible when setting goals. 


This cannot be overemphasized. Learn how to give yourself a tap on the back for a job well done as you go on to greater heights. Your little win is  what makes your overall success. 

It is easier for us to condemn our mistakes than it is for us to celebrate our efforts. Understand that the decision to plan and set goals towards becoming a better writer is itself a success. It takes courage for one to recognize the need to become a better person and to want to perfect a skill. It takes courage to evaluate your current stance in your writing career and put in the efforts to become better. 

It is admirable to find time from the exhaustion of everyday life to become a better writer or to achieve dreams. It doesn’t matter how slow the process may seem, it doesn’t matter the judgements and criticisms of others, it doesn’t matter if your goal is taking longer than you planned, or if you get to write fewer words a day than you’d hope to write. The most important is the fact that you have set out on a path to be ahead of where you currently are and that is worth celebrating a million times over. 

Nobody said it was easy, but you’ve found it worthy and for each milestone you accomplish, learn to celebrate yourself for it. It makes the journey so much better. 

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