Are Your Writing Goals SMART? – Part 2
Earlier this week, you were introduced to (or reminded of) SMART goals. I covered the first three criteria of a SMART goal and today I’m going to cover the last two.
First, let’s review what a SMART goal is:
- Specific - The goal should be as specific and well-defined as possible.
- Measurable - You should have some way of measuring progress toward and completion of your goal.
- Attainable - There should be some reasonable expectation that you can achieve the goal.
- Relevant - The goal should apply to your own life, dreams, and objectives.
- Time-based – The goal should have a clear deadline.
At this point, you should have goals that are Specific, Measurable, and Attainable. Let’s look at the last two SMART criteria now.
Are my goals Relevant?
Just as determining if a goal is Attainable is extremely subjective, deciding whether a goal is Relevant also depends on the person writing the goal. Writing Relevant goals requires a bit of soul searching. What is it that you really want to achieve? Which of your goals are Relevant to your own life, dreams, and objectives? If your goals are not Relevant now, how can you modify them so that they are?
If what you really want to do is write a book, setting goals that don’t move you toward a finished book may not be relevant. In fact, setting too many goals that aren’t relevant to your own dreams may just distract you from getting what it is that you really want out of life. Take some time to look over your goals and choose to focus on the ones that will move you toward the life you truly want.
Is my goal Time-based?
In some ways, this is the easiest of all the SMART criteria to define, and in others it is the most difficult. At a basic level, making sure your goal is Time-based requires that you simply define a deadline or time period in which you will complete the goal. Unfortunately, we often over estimate what we can accomplish in the short-term and underestimate our abilities over the long-term. Keep this in mind when creating your SMART goals.
Make sure that your deadline is realistic so that you don’t become discouraged. Try setting short-term goals within your long-term goals so that you can quickly determine when you have over-shot your abilities and adjust your goals accordingly. Meeting your short-term goals will keep you motivated for the long-term, so really focus on making them attainable. Whatever timeline you set, stay committed to following it and do your best to meet your deadlines.
Using the SMART criteria to create your writing goals will help you focus on and take concrete steps toward your dreams. In fact, I’ve used the SMART criteria to update my own writing goals for the year and here’s what I’ve come up with:
- Finish the book proposal I’ve been working on for a client by completing each of the remaining three sections over the next two months and completing final edits by September 30th.
- Finish final edits on three “work-in-progress” essays by October 31st and complete the market research necessary to submit each one to 5 markets by December 31st.
- Rewrite website content for Biography and Services sections to focus on making it more “action-oriented” and “client-oriented” by July 31st.
- Write and send out at least 10 letters of introduction to potential clients/publications in an effort to obtain new freelance clients.
- Develop a more detailed premise and write an outline for my own book by December 31st.
That’s actually a pared down list, because I realized that in order to get some of these goals finished, I’d need to let others go. I’m also working on breaking each of these goals down into more SMART short-term goals to help fend off the feeling of overwhelm, keep me motivated, and make sure I meet my deadlines.
What are your writing goals for the remainder of the year? Why not share them in the comments here? Sometimes making your goals public is the perfect motivation to start making progress on them. Just remember, your goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.
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