Goals: Set or Forget?

cslewis119176Are you a goal-setter or a goal-hater? Some people thrive on goals: clearly mapping out their short, mid and long-term goals for the next decade. Others like to let things happen without a lot of planning.

There’s a plethora of information online about setting and accomplishing goals and how life-changing it can be. Successful indie author, Joanna Penn, talks a lot about it with guests (and fellow authors) on her popular podcast.

But are goals really all they are cracked up to be? Can’t we be successful authors without all that mapping and planning?

Maybe, but I believe it makes the journey harder. Let’s say you are preparing for a trip. Without setting at least some of your plans “in stone” (goals) you could wander aimlessly from locale to locale. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to visit the site of the largest ball of twine. I have no idea why you’d want to do that, but let’s just say you did. You leave your house and head west–a good start. But along the way you decide that you really don’t need this GPS or map so you toss them out the window. First of all, tsk-tsk for littering. But more importantly, you’re now unsure of where to turn, when to get off the interstate or which roads to follow to find your destination.

With one’s writing career it can be the same. Without goals set (even broad, generic goals like, “I want to someday be a bestselling author in YA fiction”) how will you know if you ever arrive at your destination? And more importantly, how can you CELEBRATE once you get there?

This week I met a significant book sales goal. Significant in my mind, anyway. While I’m far from bestseller status, I am thrilled to have sold many more books than I ever dreamed possible when my first came out in 2013. But if I hadn’t set the goal and then met the goal, would it be harder for me to keep going? Being an author, while wonderful in so many ways, can also be alienating, lonely and frustrating. Without goals I may have already given up on this dream.

What do you think? Are you a goal-setter and if so, how detailed do you get (spreadsheets? charts? bar graphs?)? If you don’t set goals, why not? 

J.P. Choquette writes and sets goals from her office in northwestern Vermont. She’s currently at work on her third suspense novel. This one features a spunky, sarcastic vigilante named Tayt who keeps the author on her toes. Learn more on the author’s website.


This entry was posted in Craft, J.P. Choquette, Opinion, Writers, Writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Goals: Set or Forget?

  1. Well worth thinking about, J.P.; thanks! I am trying to be careful about the differences between hopes, dreams, plans, and goals … and to keep goals attainable.

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