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The Secret Art of Achieving Your Writing Goals

When it comes to achieving your writing goals, having a plan is crucial – but the plan can’t be set in stone. As you embark on your authorial journey, your goals will inevitably evolve alongside your skills and experiences.

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That’s why it’s important to periodically revisit and reframe your outcomes. The aspirations and milestones that once seemed lofty may now feel too modest. Or life circumstances may prompt you to shift priorities.

By reassessing your vision and plotting a new roadmap, you ensure your writing goals keep propelling you in the right direction as you level up. It’s the ultimate gift of motivation and self-alignment.

Let’s dig into how you can achieve your writing goals.

Clarifying Your “Big Picture” Vision

Before you can achieve your writing goals, you need to get crystal clear on your overarching vision – that long-term, “someday” dream that pulls you forward. We here at Difference Press call this your “Canada.”

Think about it: if you were planning a road trip across the country, you’d need to know your final destination before mapping out the route, right? Your big picture vision is the Canada you’re traveling towards with your writing goals.

This could be anything from becoming a keynote speaker at major industry events, to establishing a world-renowned retreat center, to generating enough passive income to fund a philanthropic lifestyle. The key is that it’s a binary goal – one that either will or won’t be achieved, with no grey area.

Envisioning Your Future Self

One powerful way to clarify your “Canada” is to vividly imagine and describe the “future you” who has already achieved this long-term dream. Where does this person live? What does their daily life look like? What kind of car do they drive or clothes do they wear? How do they spend their time?

For example, the “future you” who runs a successful tiny house retreat empire might wake up in a cozy A-frame cabin, sipping fair trade coffee as they overlook a valley of 100 tiny homes that grew from a single rented lot years ago. Or the “future you” who gives away millions, might have a modest home, but takes immense pride in supporting countless charitable causes.

The more visceral details you can include in this future self-portrait, the better. Don’t just say “I want to be a keynote speaker.” Envision the moment you step up to the podium, the sound of the applause, the thousands of faces gazing up at you as you share your message with the world. Capture all the sights, sounds, feelings and emotions of living your dream.

By creating a vivid “future self” description, you turn that lofty vision into something tangible that pulls you forward. It makes the path to “Canada” real. And more importantly, it ensures you’re mapping out the right route by defining the exact destination you want to reach through your writing goals.

Understanding Binary vs. Vague Goals

Now that you’ve clarified your “Canada” vision, it’s crucial to set goals aligned with actually getting there. This means making them binary – with a clear, measurable definition of achievement.

The Perils of Vague Aspirations

Vague goals like “become a successful author” or “gain more recognition” tend to lack concrete criteria for completion. Without specific markers of success, it’s impossible to track progress or feel a sense of accomplishment. Ambiguous goals lead to ambiguous plans, outlines, and habits – a surefire way to spin your wheels.

Even worse, vague goals allow you to move the goalposts constantly. You might think “Well, this many book sales doesn’t really mean I’m successful yet…” and raise the bar indefinitely. This robs you of celebrating milestones and prevents you from ever feeling like you’ve “made it.”

Reframing for Measurable Success

In contrast, binary writing goals have clear pass/fail scenarios. For example: “Get a book review in The New York Times” or “Have three articles published on major industry blogs this year.” Either it happens or it doesn’t – no gray area.

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If a goal feels vague, add specifics until it becomes measurable. “Become a respected authority” could be reframed as “Become a keynote speaker for X association.” “Make passive income from my book” might be “Generate $5,000/month in royalties within 2 years of publishing.”

For long-term goals that seem lofty (“Start a prestigious writers’ retreat center”), set incremental binary targets as stepping stones. “Have 5 paying guests attend a weekend writers’ workshop by 2024” is one potential milestone.

The more granular and binary your writing goals, the easier it is to map out the necessary strategies and track your progress. You know exactly what success looks like, so you can build plans optimized to achieve it.

Rather than chasing an ambiguous vision, define the measurable wins that indicate you’re closing in on your “Canada.” That’s how to ensure your writing goals keep propelling you forward.

Setting an 18-Month Roadmap

With your long-term “Canada” vision defined and your goals crystallized into binary targets, it’s time to map out the first leg of your journey. Think of this as your 18-month roadmap toward the initial “hotel stop” that kickstarts momentum.

Identify Your First Milestone

Where do you realistically want to be in a year and a half from now? Maybe it’s having a completed manuscript, securing your first few paid speaking engagements, or bringing in a baseline of book revenue.

This 18-month milestone should feel like a significant step towards your greater vision, but still achievable in a reasonable timeframe. It’s the first memorable “win” that proves you’re making progress.

To identify it, work backwards from your big picture goals. If your “Canada” is keynoting at an industry event, perhaps your first stop is having an article published in their flagship magazine. If it’s generating passive income, your milestone could be making your first $1,000/month from book sales and spin-off products.

READ MORE: Want to Make Money from Your Writing? My journey from writer to business owner.

Build Your Action Plan

Once you define this 18-month milestone, outline the specific strategies and tactics for reaching it. Working backwards again, lay out the major projects, launch dates, networking efforts, etc. needed to hit this target.

Unlike your binary long-term goals, this action plan will likely require adjusting along the way. Just ensure every step ultimately ladders up to propelling you toward that first milestone achievement.

Stay Flexible to Signs & Serendipity

As you start executing this 18-month roadmap, remain open to artistic detours that keep you true to your overarching writing goals. An unexpected interview opportunity, article commissioning, or stroke of creative inspiration may guide you slightly off-plan. That’s okay! Embrace these serendipitous moments as signs pointing you toward an even more fulfilling path to “Canada.”

The key is using your binary goals as guardrails, not handcuffs. Allow tactics and interim steps to pivot, but ensure you’re still making measurable forward progress toward your vision. An 18-month roadmap keeps you focused while leaving room to adjust your journey as needed.

Celebrating Small Wins

Even with binary writing goals and an 18-month roadmap, the path to your “Canada” vision won’t be a straight shot. You’ll encounter delays, setbacks, and plenty of mundane tasks between each milestone. That’s why it’s vital to celebrate small wins along the way.

Why Incremental Progress Matters

Without recognizing incremental achievements, it’s easy to feel stagnant and get demotivated. You start questioning whether you’re even making any real headway toward your goals.

But by setting (and celebrating) small, binary goals as stepping stones, you provide yourself with a steady stream of forward momentum. Each minor “win” becomes energizing proof that you’re progressing in the right direction.

For example, while your long-term goal might be “Have 10,000 people on my email list,” you could set smaller targets like “Get first 100 subscribers” or “Grow list by 25% this quarter.” Reaching those lets you embrace mini-milestones and bask in tangible signs of progress.

Snowballing Your Achievements

Small wins also build valuable habits and experience that make subsequent accomplishments easier. Achieving that first “100 subscribers” teaches you what resonates with your audience and how to promote your signup form. You level up your skills with each mini-goal, snowballing your chances of future success.

Plus, hitting those small targets creates motivational endorphin rushes that fuel you through the tougher slogs. No matter how stuck you may feel, looking back at your growing trail of “little wins” reignites inspiration and faith in the process.

So in addition to setting binary writing goals around major milestones, take time to outline incremental targets to pursue and celebrate frequently. Turn your long-term vision into a bread crumb trail of small victories that build sustainable momentum. By recognizing and enjoying the small wins, you’ll start craving the bigger prizes.

Will You Achieve Your Writing Goals?

Achieving your loftiest writing goals starts by getting crystal clear on your “Canada” – that overarching, long-term vision that pulls you forward. Define it vividly, then outline the binary milestones and incremental wins that pave your path.

As you start making progress, periodically reevaluate your outcomes to ensure you’re still moving in the right direction. Adjust your 18-month roadmap as needed, but keep the big picture prize in focus.

Most importantly, enjoy the journey every step of the way. Savor the small victories, let them motivate you through the tough stretches, and appreciate the growth that ultimately leads you to your wildest writing dreams.

Join the Difference Makers Club Today!

Make the difference you were born to make with our free author community group

By opting in, you’re joining our vibrant community! Expect 2-3 weekly newsletters packed with curated content, exclusive updates, and valuable insights to fuel your journey. Welcome to the conversation!

Join the Difference Makers Club Today!

Make the difference you were born to make
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By opting in, you’re joining our vibrant community! Expect 2-3 weekly newsletters packed with curated content, exclusive updates, and valuable insights to fuel your journey. Welcome to the conversation!

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