Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Do You Need to Have Writing Goals?

Becoming a writer is such a strange phenomenon. You start out just wanting to tell a story, and that soon evolves into wanting to tell it better, so you dive head-first into craft books and classes.  Then you get fussy over character development. After that, you start thinking about your writer's voice and style. And before you know it, more established writers are asking you about goals.

If you're going to be a writer, do you have to have goals?

The short answer is yes! But don't close out of this blog post just yet.

Yes, you do need to have goals, but your goals don't have to be about money or fame. Remember that you sat down and started writing a story because you wanted to tell a story. That was your goal. Sure, your writing goals have grown and shrunk over the time that you've worked on your writer's toolbox (skills and techniques), but your overall goal has stayed the same. You want to tell a story.

Now, there's nothing wrong with wanting to tell a story that is also profitable. That's a great goal too, but what I often see as I bounce from writing conferences to retreats is that the writers talking at these events are usually talking about making money with their stories. Again, this is a great goal, but it's not everyone's overall writing goal. Some people just want to tell stories, and that's a GREAT goal to have as well.

Just because we don't have the same overall goals doesn't mean that we can't work together as a community. There are so many good ideas and writing tips out there, and while one of those tips is having a writing goal, I wanted to validate all sides of the writing world regardless of your long-term goals.

Some of us want to write short stories, while others only write novels. You're all fabulous!

Still others want to remodel their kitchens off the money they make from their stories. To which I say, You go writing friend!

To those who love to write fanfic because they were that invested in a story. I see you, and keep it up!

Writing friends who haven't fallen in love with a singular genre, so you keep trying out new ones. Go you!

To the awesome humans who write every day, yay! And to those who don't: those words are coming!

And to anyone in between, your goal was to tell a story, and that is the loveliest goal of all.

Happy writing.



Nancy Gideon said...

Thanks for your encouragement today, April! Sometimes we forget that all of us need cheerleaders, reminders that all our goals, large and small, are important. Not all of us aim for the bestseller list. Some just want to get from page one to page end. Some of us need to just turn on the computer, to sit down and create words. Some of us need to take a cleansing break to rediscover our passion for the written word. Some of us (like me this past week) need to reconnect in person with writer friends to relax and recharge. Yay, us!! May all our goals, large and small, be met!!

Diane Burton said...

Great post, April. Nancy said it all very succinctly. Some days, my goal is to open the WIP file. I've read all kinds of articles, like how to write 5k words a day. Yeah, right. Having an unreachable goal isn't good. Now some people can write 5k words/day. But if it feels unreachable, most people won't even try. Putting one foot in front of the other, baby steps, is more manageable. Keep on keeping on.