Making Ambitious Writing Goals A Boost & Not an AnchorThere are two ways that ambitious writing goals can generally go, and I think sometimes for both beginning and seasoned freelance writers (and maybe even creative writers, too - Justus and Ashley feel free to fill to chip your two cents in the comments about if you think this applies across the board or not for creative writers, as well) the way we handle and deal with ambitious writing goals is maybe just as important, if not more so, than the goals themselves. This is really an important point, because while setting hard to reach goals and accomplishing them can really propel you as a writer (or in any other endeavor for that matter), I know plenty of beginning freelance writers who felt crushed by the weight of their own goals, especially after falling behind and failing to achieve them.
In this post I'm going to share some of the freelance writing goals that I've set for myself for the month of March, and I'll be the first to admit that not only are they overly ambitious - but ridiculously so. That said, I know where I am in life both as a writer and as a person striving for daily betterment of my life and myself, and setting very ambitious goals is a very good idea for the situation I'm in...but where can this sometimes go wrong for writers?
One of my strong points is not organization. Anyone who reads this freelance writing blog with any frequency at all probably understands that. So I'll make a list of questions that you should ask yourself before deciding what kind of goals to set for yourself, and whether to shoot for the realistic or the ambitious.
- Am I going to become frustrated, disappointed, or depressed if I don't reach my goals or don't come close?
- Do I take written goals seriously, or do I ignore them completely the more obvious it becomes that I'm going to miss them?
- Are my writing goals based around what I should do, what I want to do, or both? Or neither? Why?
- If I have trouble accomplishing my freelance writing goals, is it because money is not enough motivation as a goal? (I know for me it's not)
- Will ambitious goals make me rise to the occasion, or intimidate me into frustration or depression for not making the mark.
- What are the reasons behind my goal setting? ((this might be the most important question of all, and one you need to take time to study as a writer if you don't understand the meaning)).
Angry can be good. My now "famous" angry blog post about not being ashamed to be an online writer is one classic example of channeling anger into something really productive. That blog post in a way launched this blog to a new level. Followers doubled, e-mail "lurker-followers" doubled, my comments have gone up exponentially, and the links I received from people who liked the post probably got me another point of PR and ranking well enough to draw in about another 50 visitors a week. Thanks to you all.
That was anger turned into production. I can't do the same from frustration or depression. I don't think I've ever met anyone who can. Even worse, being down about not making some ambitious goals can cause you to drag your feet or become despondent about your writing progress so it gets even worse, and suddenly you're in a vicious cycle.
I like ambitious goals for the same reason Timothy Ferriss does. I find in my life that average goals mean mediocre work and effort, and no major adrenaline rush when I hit them...but maybe a little of the "what's wrong how could you not even get that done in a month?" when I don't hit those same goals. If I shoot for the top of a tree and miss, I might land on the first branch. If I shoot for the moon and miss, I still might land on Everest. That's the big difference, and that's the motivation you have to be able to give yourself as a freelance writer in order to really make huge strides forward in your writing career: whether it's online, offline, passive income, or some combination of all three.
So why am I making absolutely ludicrous freelance writing goals (and creative writing goals as well - when you consider them tied in with everything else I'm doing this month) for the month of May when I'm almost certainly destined to fall at least a little short?
- The larger the goal, the more work I'll get done even if I fall short.
- Having huge goals is an adrenaline rush that keeps me on track and on task.
- IF, and it's a big if, but IF I somehow nail the goal and make it, accomplishing that level of work (or even coming close) will be the type of victory and confidence builder that will give me the drive and the ability to run through brick walls for months to close in on my much larger goals for this year.
So here's my favorite time: put up or shut up. So here are the goals I'm sharing:
Freelance Writing Goals
- Over $5,000 in freelance writing income. This does NOT include passive income or increases in passive income sources like AdSense or eHow. Does not include editing jobs, either. Writing job means writing job. This alone will require a ridiculous amount of writing for me.
- Double my AdSense income in one month. I've been on a plateau for about 4 months now. It's time to get the work out and get my passive income to some actual serious numbers that can make a dent in the monthly budget.
- Double my eHow income in one month.
- Get the AdSense income to over $100/month for me and my brother's business. We hit $20 starting for scratch (and AdSense isn't anywhere close to being the main income stream of this business, but we're all about passive and diversify), and now I'd like to see that make a huge jump in month 2.
- Finish 3 more zombie short stories, including an outline for the one I'm really excited about. I'd share the title, but I'm jealously guarding the plot and the title would give it away.
- Finish 2 more chapters of the novel "Broken" I'm helping to co-write.
- Finish 4 chapters of the novel I'm writing for my sister.
- First 20 pages of my novella "Pawprints to Saskatoon," which currently as 15 pages of random scenes and an outline.
- First 10 pages of "Men with Beards" screenplay I'm helping to write on spec.
- Write, complete, revise, and send out 2 additional short stories.
(Yes, I realize AdSense earnings could technically fall here)
- Write 100 InfoBarrel articles
- Write 100 new HubPages
- Write 15 new Squidoo lenses
- Write 30 new Xomba articles
- Minimum 8 blog posts on this blog this month
- Minimum 12 blog posts over at my "Fixing my life" blog (going swimmingly, by the way, thanks for asking)
- Rough scripts out for YouTube parodies (pet project)
- 100 articles for backlinks via the KWA directories
- 30 articles for UAW (which is really 90+ since you have to have 3 versions of each plus hand put in all those annoying boxes at the end)
- Revise my poetry portfolio (I know, creative, but I told you I wasn't any good at organizing anything)
- 10 personal hand written letters through the month of March.
You know how much of a "writing god" I'm going to feel like if I pull ALL these goals off...or even come close? No blasphemy intended at all (note the lower case 'g'), but the point I'm making is that by putting this out there, this is how I'm going to absolutely kick ass in March of 2010, and get some much needed momentum and strength heading into what's going to be a difficult personal time no matter what happens of the situations coming to bear.
So how are you going to take your writing career to the next level? How are you going to challenge yourself to see what you REALLY are capable of? Leave a comment and let me know. And oh, yeah. 1st blog post of March is down. Feels like I'm already have way there :)