So, 2023 is going to be your year? The big one in which you write your best work whether it be an anthology of poems, a novel, a screenplay or a play script.
What if we told you that the hard work starts now? If you are reading this at the start or 2023 or halfway into it, that is fine; all our top tips for sticking to your writing goals will be relevant at any time of the year!
Each writer will have their own individual goals that they are setting out to smash over the next twelve months. When setting them, ensure they are goals that are achievable and ones that you are actually going to want to work towards. Someone else’s goals are going to be of no use to you!
If you are looking to get started in writing as a hobby, check out our Tips and Advice for Beginners.
Let’s go! Here are our top ten tips to help you stick to your writing goals in 2023! All of these can work for the professional and hobby writer, writing for the first time, or the first time this year.
1. Make your Goals SMART
SMART goals are a common construct used in the corporate sectors, but they can also be applied to us as writers.
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. To set an effective goal, it is important to consider all of these, and give yourself the best opportunity to tick that goal off your list at the end of the year!
An example of a goal you could set is:
SPECIFIC: I am going to write a feature-length script.
MEASURABLE: The script will be one hundred pages long.
ACHIEVABLE: I will write two pages per day for five days per week.
REALISTIC: I will set up a manageable and creative writing routine.
TIMELY: I will start writing on *date* and will complete the script in fifty days on *date*.
2. Give Yourself a Challenge
That feeling of accomplishment is a unique one and is usually all the sweeter when you have been ambitious in your goal setting. You need to be energized to pursue your goals, so stretch yourself in some way.
But find the balance too; if your goal is just too much of a struggle to complete, is it worth it? Remember, your goals must work for you.
Be excited, not burnt out by your writing!
3. Create a Schedule
Everyone’s life is different with infinite things to juggle. Do not allow writing to become a chore, and plan in time (little and often works great) to free yourself of all distractions and sit down to write.
If your writing time is planned in advance, you are much more likely to stick to it. Suddenly deciding at the last minute to bash something out in a notebook or on a laptop will soon grind you down, and you will become frustrated.
Be strict with yourself and those around you with your pre-scheduled writing time. If writing is something you love and want to prioritize, it is wholly worthwhile to be precious when it comes to your schedule.
4. Be Flexible
Life is constantly changing and so will your plans, so it is useful to keep in mind the bigger picture. If you find yourself always struggling to work towards your SMART writing goals, you can always revisit and tweak them.
If you cannot quite finish a project in the time that you have allotted yourself, tag on a reasonable extension. By being more flexible, you are less likely to burn out and achieve what you have set out to.
5. Start Small and Build Up
Start your year with small goals that you can easily achieve in a few weeks. Once you start to make headway with these smaller goals, you will find you will naturally move on and smash the bigger ones.
Alternatively, you can break down your larger goals into smaller ones.
For example, if you want to break your 100-page movie script into Acts I, II and III, set a goal for each act with its own time frame. Remember, your goals must work for you and your circumstances.
Or perhaps you can break down the scriptwriting process. Start with honing your story idea, before moving on to the outline, then the individual scenes before collating them together into your full script. Finally, end on rewrites and edits.
If, like most writers, you find yourself up against a case of writer’s block, here are some ways you can overcome it!
6. Write it Down!
No, we do not mean your stories! Also, write down your goals and your schedule and place them somewhere you can regularly see them. Or use a dedicated planner for your writing work. That way you can easily track your progress, and write reminders or inspirational quotes to keep you going.
7. Create a Dedicated Writing Space
By spending some time creating a comfortable and distraction-free space for you to sit down and write. It does not necessarily need to be an office or a separate room, but a nook or corner of your home where you can fully focus on your writing.
If you prefer writing on the go, try your local library or coffee shop. These can be great places to set yourself up for a few hours where you can catch snippets of authentic conversation and draw inspiration from the sights, smells and sounds around you.
8. Immerse Yourself
It is possible to become consumed by your writing, leaving little time for anything else. Make sure you are reading, spending time with friends and family and doing everything else you enjoy.
Remember, anything can be the inspiration for your writing and can usually be found where and when you least expect it!
Need inspiration for your next screenplay? Click here for our 9 Creative Ideas to Start Your Next Script.
9. Join a Writing Group and Enter Contests
Writing groups are springing up everywhere, both in the real and virtual worlds. Social media is full of groups, pages, and forums where writers congregate, ask questions, and share ideas.
Writing groups are also a great place to share and seek feedback on your work. Sometimes there is nothing better than a fresh pair of eyes giving you tips and praise for what you have written so far. On the flip side, it is also a terrific opportunity for you to put your editor’s hat on and give feedback yourself.
Bounce ideas off each other and get creating! You never know who you could meet or what you could get out of such a group. Plus, the social aspect is awesome!
If you prefer to join a virtual group, Facebook can be a great place to find like-minded writers with all the benefits of an in-person group in the comfort of your own home.
Enter your work into contests. The writing world is full of competitions, some with cash prizes and others a chance to have your work featured in publications and your name given a boost. Another wonderful way to get your work out there.
Competition deadlines can also be great milestones to work towards and include within your SMART goals!
10. Celebrate Every Achievement
As you spend the next year smashing through your writing goals, make sure to take a second to pause and reflect every time you complete one. It can be quite easy to pass by an achievement and not give it a second thought.
Do not immediately move on to starting your next goal on the list as you will quickly become overwhelmed. Take a break or reward yourself with something, anything from a coffee to potentially a vacation depending on the goal. The possibilities are endless!
By rewarding yourself, you recognize all the hard work you have put in as well as give yourself ample time to prepare for your next goal. Review what went well and what tweaks you may want to make to ensure you tick off every single goal on your list.
There we have it!
Ten ways to ensure your 2023 writing goals work for you. Self-motivation, like most hobbies, is the key here. You have to actually want to write in the first place to go forth and set yourself goals. If you have little to no interest in writing, then unfortunately you are going to struggle.
Be consistent, flexible and your biggest fan! You are in charge of your goals and ultimately what you can achieve. The sky truly is the limit!