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The Beginning Writer Magazine

Motivation Revisited


Motivation Revisited

Cheryl Wright – All rights reserved



Previously, I talked about setting goals, and sticking to them. I thought it appropriate to revisit this topic and see how you’re going.


First of all, did you print out and complete the goal worksheet? If not, why not?


If you did complete the worksheet – congratulations! Well done! Once completed, did you display it somewhere visible for your family and friends to see and read?


You may recall that being accountable is one of the main motivators. So having your goals prominently displayed is an extremely important step in the process.


Achieving goals is a step-by-step progression. You won’t go from A to Z in one giant leap. It takes lots of planning and baby steps along the way. And of course, patience. (You know, patience - that annoying little creature that all writers must possess if they’re going to make it in this industry!)


Because I really want you to achieve your writing goals this year, I’m going to walk you through my goal worksheet.


Here goes:


*What do you want to achieve?


My goal for 2006 was to complete two books – one fiction, one non-fiction. I also wanted to double my writing income.


*What date do you want to achieve your goal by?


The deadlines were mid-April, mid-July, and 31 December 2006 respectively.


*What steps were needed to achieve that goal? Write down each necessary step.


Since two books needed to be completed, I worked on one at a time. (Trying to write more than one book at a time has been my downfall in the past.)


The novel needed immediate attention, so I started on that.  Writing 2,000 words every day moved my word-count up quickly. That yielded 20,000 words in two weeks. (Ten working days.)


The word-count is around 20,000 words, so that meant the book needed to be finished by mid-April at the latest – including editing and polishing.


The non-fiction book had a deadline of September and already 18,000 words were written. I started on that book as soon as the novel was completed, and wrote at least 2,000 words per day, it was totally written, edited, and polished by end of July.


To double my writing income, I needed to do more freelance work. To this end, I sent out a number of queries to both fiction and non-fiction magazines.  I targeted national (Australian) magazines. Apart from the name recognition factor involved with these, the payment is generally higher.


*What obstacles would stand in the way of achieving your goal? List them in the table below.


1) Due to the state of my health, pneumonia is always a possibility.


2) Family issues with either my elderly mother, or my small grandchildren who live with me.


3) Being disorganised.

*How can you overcome these obstacles? List the steps you’ll take to overcome

your obstacles.


1) Resting often could be achieved by incorporating relaxation techniques (i.e. Yoga) or exercising for at least several minutes per day.


2) This was not something that was predictable, so I just had to keep ahead of my projected word-counts in case something unavoidable came up.


3) My plan was to organise my workspace on a daily basis. Twenty minutes per day for a week or so will get the space sorted and workable, then ten minutes per day should keep it that way, and keeping away from sick people. De-stressing will also help.


*How convicted are you to meeting your goals? (i.e. Very, not very, not at all.)

Very, extremely, absolutely!


*What difference will it make to you and your writing career to achieve those goals? List the end result/s.


Meeting my goals made a big difference to my writing career. To start with, the novel was started before I became very ill. I wanted to finish it as I believed it was a worthwhile project.


The non-fiction book was a boon to my career because of the publisher involved.


In regard to doubling my writing income, this is more personal satisfaction. If I’m more organised, I’ll put out more work, which is turn means more sales, which then means more money. It all works in sync.


*Make a list of each step needed to achieve what you’ve set out to do, including anticipated time frame for each.


1) Finish novel – by mid-April (In my case).


2) Continue with non-fiction book. Finish by mid-July. (Which was done)


3) Send out regular queries, and write more short stories with a view to selling more regularly.


* * * *

I couldn’t guarantee the plan would work, but I was sure ready to give it a shot. I sent out several queries and introductory letters, and have so received a few positive response.


I was writing a minimum of 2,000 words a day, endeavouring to finish my novel.


I wanted to hear back from other markets, all of which had three months or more response time, and I had a number of others bookmarked to contact.


Sending queries is not as time-consuming as it sounds, and if you work this into your daily schedule it can help a lot. (And the more you send, the easier it gets.)


Set specific days for tasks and you will be more organised. For instance, Monday: website update day. Tuesday: send out queries, and so on


Setting goals is not a task only for January, it’s a year long process, and needs to be monitored and reviewed often.


When thinking about the goal/s you have set for yourself, ask this question: "Where will I be in one year’s time if I don’t reach my goal?"


Only you will know if you need to continue.




About the author: Cheryl Wright is an award-winning Australian author, freelance journalist, copywriter, and editor. In addition to an array of other projects, she is the owner of and the Writer to Writer monthly ezine for writers.  Her publications include novels, non-fiction books, short stories, and articles. Visit Cheryl’s website