How do you become an excellent writer?

Start with a vision of becoming the writer you want to be.  Believe in yourself, and set SMART writing goals that will help you reach your vision.

Goals inspire you to achieve a dream.  They elevate your writing and show you the power of what you can do when you have drive and persist. Yet, they need to be the right types of goals to ensure your success.

How do you create those writing goals?  You write specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART) goals in 2 areas: writing projects and writing talents.  When you set goals in both areas (and act upon them) you’ll transform your writing. 

How to Create Super SMART Writing Goals

Step 1: Start with a Vision

Imagine who you will be in 5 years.  What do you dream of being? Do you want to be a professor, teacher, best-selling author, journalist, entrepreneur, blogger or any other profession?  Where do you want to live?  Who do you want in your life?

Next, imagine where you want to be, who you want to be and what you want to be doing a year from now.

Write both visions, and place them somewhere you will see them.  Read your visions every day.  Don’t skip writing your visions.  You will use your visions to create 2 types of writing goals: 1) Project Goals and 2) Advancing Your Talent Goals 

Step 2:  Create Writing Project Goals for the Year

Writing Project Goals focus on something you need to complete so that you can reach your vision.  When coming up with these goals focus on your 1-year vision.

Take that vision and select writing projects that will help you realize it.  A project could be something you write such as a book, thesis, blog, or collection of poems.  It can also be a deadline of something you need to do such as take an exam like the SAT, GRE, TOEFL, IELTS etc.

Make your writing project goals SMART.

SMART goals have 5 features:

  1. Specific The goal is detailed and not vague.
  2. MeasurableYou have a way to see how far you progress to your goal.
  3. AchievableMy suggestion is to aim a little higher than you think you can reasonably achieve.  For example, if you think it’s achievable to write a draft of a book in 90 days, make that goal a little higher by saying you will write and complete a first revision of the draft in 90 days.
  4. Relevant—Your goal connects to your vision.
  5. Time-bound—There is a deadline by which you need to reach your goal. 

Here are 2 examples of SMART  Writing Project Goals

Goal #1 for a person whose vision is to be a graduate student in an MA English program:

I will be accepted and receive a scholarship to a Masters of Arts in English program by  March 21st, 2019.

Goal #2 for a person whose vision is to become a best-selling science fiction author:

I will write, publish and sell 10,000 copies of my sci-fiction novel by Dec 12th, 2019.  

Both goals are specific, measurable, achievable (and a bit higher), relevant to the vision and time-bound.  

Write your project goals for the year on a piece of paper, in a planner, on a computer or any other place that is visible. Make sure you can read your goals regularly.  Select one writing project goal you will focus on for the next 90 days.

Step 3:  Create Advancing Talent Goals for the Year

An Advancing Talent Goal is where you focus on an area of writing you feel needs improvement.  For example, I have a draft of a mystery novel I wrote, but my action scenes are boring.  So, a skill or area I want to advance is writing action scenes. 

Assess your talents or skills. Brainstorm what you think you need to advance in your writing to achieve your writing vision. 

How do you find writing skills you want to improve? Look at the types of comments and feedback you receive from others.  Review your own work.  Are there parts of writing you get stuck on?  These are all things you can select as advance your talents goals.

List 4 things you want to improve and choose 1 you want to focus on for the next 90 days.

Again, write this as a SMART Goal.

Here’s an example: If the skill you want improve is paraphrasing research, your goal could be:

I will study and practice paraphrasing every day and get feedback on this skill weekly until April 30, 2019.

The key to advancing any writing area is not only practicing that skill but having someone else read your writing and assess it. 

Writing Goals and Consistent Action

“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.” Pablo Picasso

Writing goals are a crucial part of what it takes to become an excellent writer in any field.  You need to know what you’re striving for and what you want to accomplish.  However, success in writing requires more than finishing a book, thesis, dissertation etc.—it requires practice and dedication to the craft. 

Creating Writing Project Goals and Advancing Writing Talent Goals is half of the equation. If you want to realize and live your vision, you must take action and focus on SMART writing goals consistently.

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