Blog, For Writers, Tools

The Importance of Having SMART Goals as a Writer and How to Make Them

SMART Goals are goals that have these five attributes:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Action-Oriented
  • Realistic
  • Time-Bound

Goals can be Immediate (1-30 days from when they are set), Short Term (3-9 months), and Long Term (1-10 years). As a writer it is important to know what direction you want to move in. If you are starting the first manuscript of your book, you know you have a lot of writing ahead of you. SMART Goals are the best way to organize and plan for the steps of creating your book.


Ask yourself “What am I striving for?” or “What do I want to accomplish?”. If you answer “Write at book!” you are half way there. With such a big project you need to break it down into smaller more specific parts. Start off with something like: “I want to outline my book and it’s characters” and then move into “I want to write and finish a novel” then you can even move on to set a goal about editing and so on. You need specific goals to keep you focused.


Ask yourself “How will I know I’ve obtained my goal?” For a goal to be measurable you need to have finish line. Lets use the “I want to write and finish a novel” and expand it. What characteristic does a novel have that we can use as a milestone? According to the internet a novel should have a word count of 50,000 to 110,000 words. Making an outline will also help you keep your goal measurable, since your plot points act as milestones towards your ending. So now our example goal will be: “I will write a finished novel that is 50,000-110,000 words.”


Ask yourself “Do I have steps in place to motivate me?” When making a SMART goal you need to make sure you can achieve your goal, by keeping yourself motivated. You need a system in place that will keep you working towards your goal. For example: writing X amount of words a words a day, or reading books and blogs to help you improve your writing. Sometimes staying motivated is the hardest part about writing, but whatever you do, don’t give up! Keep moving forward! Now our example has grown into: “I will write a completed novel that is 50,000-110,000 words, by writing every day.”


Ask yourself “Is my goal realistic? Can I actually achieve this goal?” It is harmful to set yourself towards a goal you can never achieve. In the end you will feel like a failure, even though no one could complete the goal. For example: writing best book in the world! This is an unrealistic goal, because there will never be a ‘best book in the world’. Everyone’s opinions on books is different, and so there is no ‘best book in the world’. However, you can write a good book. That is achievable and realistic. You just need to work hard and improve your writing skills every day. Here’s our example now: “I will write a GOOD completed novel that is 50,000-110,000 words, by writing every day.”


Ask yourself “When do I want to complete this goal by?” However, you have to take into consideration what your goal is. If you are writing a 110,000 word novel, you will need a considerate amount of time to complete that goal. For our example it would be safe to set it as a long-term goal. Lets say 1 year. This is our SMART goal:

“I will write a GOOD and completed novel that is 50,000-110,000 words, by writing everyday for the next year!”

Other things to keep in mind:

When it comes to large goals, like the one we just made, it is usually easier to break it down into smaller parts. For example: writing a specific word count on a schedules basis. Using daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, biannual, and annual goals you can help yourself achieve long-term goals. Basically you are making smaller goals to help you achieve your larger goal. For example: “I will write 12,500-27,500 words quarterly to achieve my goal.”

Here is our COMPLETED SMART goal example:

“I will write a GOOD and completed novel that is 50,000-110,000 words, by writing everyday for the next year. I will write 12,500-27,500 words quarterly to acheive this goal.”

I hope this helps you as much as it has helped me! I will be writing a post about my quarterly goals very soon.

Thanks for reading,

-Lalia LaRose


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