Creating a Plan to Achieve Your Writing Goals for 2009

January is almost upon us and with it, a new year in which to pursue your writing goals. You do have goals, right? Because writing without a goal is like driving without a destination. Sure, you can get a lot of driving done without knowing where you’re going, but all that does is put miles on your car. You never actually get anywhere interesting or useful. Writing without a goal is the same. You can get a lot of writing done, but without some goal, what’s the point? It’s just aimless writing.

For 2009, set some writing goals for yourself. It doesn’t matter what your goals are, only that you have them. For example, you could:

Once you have some goals determined, you need to figure out how to get them done. Two methods from my project management days for achieving your goals are Start Forward and Finish Backward.

Start Forward

The Start Forward method involves starting where you are right now and scheduling from that point forward.

So let’s say you have an idea for a novel. In the Start Forward method you would :

  1. write out the steps to take you from idea to finished manuscript
  2. estimate how much time each step would take
  3. set target dates for each step
  4. evaluate your finish date and see if it meets your expectations (for example, if you want to write a finished manuscript this year, but your plan ends in February 2010, you’ll need to make some adjustments to your plan to get it done by December 2009)
  5. begin working your plan

Start Forward gives you an end date based on how long each step will take you.

Finish Backward

The Finish Backward method involves starting at the end and working backwards.

So let’s say that you have an idea for a novel and you want to get the novel written by December 2009. In the Finish Backward method you would:

  1. start at the end – a finished manuscript in December
  2. determine what step needs to occur before that (editing and revision of the story)
  3. determine the step before that (rough draft finished) and continue backward until you reach the idea stage
  4. estimate how long each step will take
  5. starting in December, schedule backwards using the time for each step to determine when you will need to start working on your story
  6. begin working your plan

Whichever method you choose, set writing goals for 2009 so you can make progress toward your writing destination. What are your writing goals for 2009?