Welcome all dreamers, fantasists, bibliophiles, and romantics. Join me Mondays and Fridays for speculation about other worlds, exploration of the human heart and soul in fiction and fact, sojourns in history and science, advice and tidbits in the realms of story, and thoughts on everything in between...

Friday, May 31, 2013

Writing and Self-Appointed Goals

They say we are our own worst critic. Well, I’m also my own worst taskmaster. It’s a bit of an unusual trait I hear, but in many ways, it has served me well. One of these ways is the practice of setting goals for myself. If I had not implemented this practice, I would be still stumbling around in circles in a dense fog, going nowhere. So today, I’m going to share with you some of the advantages and disadvantages to self-goal setting. Naturally, I’m a proponent, but I’ll let you make the decision for yourself.


You have something to measure success with, a marker to know when it’s time to celebrate achievement.

Goals are a way to stay accountable, which helps in motivation. However, a caution, make sure to share your self-set goals with someone else who will help keep you honest with yourself.

It is much easier to adjust self-made goals than those set by others. If something comes up or you realize you’re capable of more than you first gave yourself credit, you can easily make adjustments.

Self-made goals help focus and hone your purpose. It’s like picking which roads to take on a very complex and convoluted map.

Such goals also can help you see what smaller steps you need to take along the way. Breaking things down with a big picture to shoot for can make the whole process of whatever you wish to achieve more digestible.


The pressure can be intense. As your own taskmaster, the whip can never stop cracking and the stress mounting.

The pressure can be almost nonexistent. Why bother with worrying if you can make adjustments along the way? It’s not like anyone else cares? (This and the previous disadvantage show up in different types of people or in the same person on different subject or times.)

We lie best to ourselves. Make sure your honest about your wishes and capabilities as well as your effort when you set goals.

If unattained, these goals can nag and torment us. After all, if we set the goal, it’s more difficult to blame someone else if the goal proves problematic or we struggle to reach it.

I highly recommend goal setting. I make an effort to set goals every week, and I have broader, yearly goals as well. For example, this year, my goals are to finish two novels and a novella. To help achieve that, this coming week, my goal is to finish edits on tentatively titled Gretel and Her Ghost, the sequel to Red and the Wolf, my fantasy fairy tale romance.

How does goal setting play a part in your life? Do you find it useful? What helps make it effective for you? (On that last, it helps me most to share my goals with someone else so I’m accountable and to write them down.)


  1. Goals are definitely a big part of how I got published. I set them all the time and like finding like minded people on twitter to cheer on and have them cheer me on.

  2. I set mental goals all the time but rarely write them down. For the most part I hold myself accountable to them but, occasionally, there's just no working around the obstacles of real life. When that happens, stress sets in because I know I haven't accomplished something I set out to do. Even so, I couldn't imagine working as a writer without goals. I NEED something to measure myself against!

  3. I'm a big fan of setting goals--it helps keep me motivated as I check things off my list!

    1. That is a great feeling. Thanks for stopping by!