Goal-Setting for Writers

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Writing

You are WRITER.

You are a wizard who takes funny-shaped squiggles on the page and weaves them into stories that mean something. Your words have the potential to tug at people’s emotions and even change their minds. This is magic in its purest form.

Other people go through life completely oblivious to the magic that surrounds them, like muggles in the Harry Potter world who muddle through each day not realizing that there is an epic battle going on around them.

Writing is a super-power and can have serious repercussions, but as writers, we don’t have to take ourselves seriously in order to respect the seriousness of our craft. This is why some time ago, I began referring to the DIY MFA community as “word nerds.” Most people saw that word nerd status as a badge of honor. Others got persnickety about it, like the guy who wrote me an angry email saying “I am not a word nerd. I am a writer.”

I stand by the moniker, however, because I want to challenge this community to embrace what makes us different, what makes us writers. Ours is a weird vocation, after all. It does us no good to whack non-writers upside the head until they “get it.” Instead, we have to own our word-nerdiness and recognize that what makes us different is also what makes us AWESOME.

Writers are weird, and that’s OK.

We word nerds are full of contradictions. We have a LOT to say, in fact if you get us talking you’ll likely have a hard time getting us to shut up. At the same time, most of us are pretty introverted so instead of speaking our minds eye-to-eye and face-to-face, we hide behind our computers instead.

We are relentless in growing our stories. We cultivate and prune our words until they are just right. Then we harvest up the fruits of our labor and gently lay them on the literary altar, only to have the crows swoop in and tear it all apart. Then we start the process all over again because that first round of suffering just wasn’t enough.

Finally, we are passionate about experiencing the vibrance and wonder of the world, but we’d rather lock ourselves in a room and write about it than actually go out into that world in the first place. We writers are total weirdos, and that’s amazing.

Two Sides of Writing

Over the years, I’ve devoured books and articles about creativity. I’ve tested countless productivity strategies and motivation methods, but I keep coming up against the same fundamental problem: Writers are not like other people. We’re weird. We’re awesome. We don’t fit into any one box, so most people don’t know what to do with us.

Writing is a creative no-man’s land. On one hand, it’s an art. It’s intuitive and driven by inspiration. It’s brings together emotion and beauty and other right-brain things. But then there’s the left-brain side of writing: the logic of story-telling, the engineering of plot, the complexity of the research we often must do. Writers take left-brain concepts and marry they with right-brain artistry. We are the corpus callosum of the creative universe.

There’s a lot of advice about productivity, creativity, and goal-setting on the web. The trouble is most of that advice either focuses on the analytical or artsy end of the spectrum, but never the middle where we writers often fall. Either it’s all about making to-do lists and scheduling every action item, or it’s about crafting a beautiful, freeform vision board. Either you have discrete, measurable action steps, or a broad sweeping vision. Either it’s corporate and strategic, or artsy and intuitive.

But what happens if you’re both?

This is why I’ve created the special Stop Dreaming, Start Doing video series, an online workshop that will help you exercise both the logical and creative sides of your brain. And it’s FREE. We release this workshop a few times each year so stay tuned because more awesome is coming soon.

If you want to be the first to hear when this video series is re-released, just hop on over to DIYMFA.com/join and sign up with your email. You’ll also get a free DIY MFA Starter Kit and other goodies.

In this workshop I break down the goal-setting process and show you how to set milestones you can actually reach without squelching your beautiful, masterful vision. I’ll also dig into all that mindset stuff behind the goals, the stuff that can either make or break your chances of reaching success.

Will you join me?



Enjoyed this article?