How to Set SMART Writing Goals (Important for Authors)

There’s a lot going on this year, Gentle Reader. I have posted in the past about my tempestuous relationship with New Years resolutions. I prefer the idea of goals, and I try to make my goals as SMART as possible.

  • Specific – target a specific area for improvement.
  • Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress.
  • Assignable – specify who will do it.
  • Realistic – state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.
  • Time-related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved.

Given that I am a team of one, I prefer to substitute Achievable for Assignable. Which is to say, I must be realistic in the goals I set for myself. For example, I learned last year that I cannot write two different books at once, therefor my goals must reflect this fact. Also, there are some things over which I have no control, like making the New York Times Bestseller list. It’s simply not something I have power over. So I can’t have that be a goal. It can be a wish, but not a goal. However, turning in both of my books under deadline is something I have control over, if I plan properly and schedule my calendar to allow for this.

So give the SMART restrictions here are my work goals for 2014:

  1. Organize my writing schedule in such a way that I can take Mondays off, when possible, to focus on business and those unpleasant tasks that I tend to put off to my professional detriment, and weekend deprivation.
  2. Plan, write, and post at least three Dear Lord Akeldamas.
  3. Finish and turn in the last Finishing School book.
  4. Rewrite and turn in the first Prudence book.
  5. Attempt to get a handle on pacing and comfort level with writing, I’m beginning to feel the stretch of burn-out and I need to figure out how to organize my new career in such away that I don’t loose momentum and humor but stop pushing myself to the edge. I feel like last year I got control of the business end of the process, now for the creative side.
  6. Get the last short story I have written up for distribution in ebook form.

On the wish front, I have this great novella I’ve been co-authoring with a friend about a steampunk hotel on a world tour inside a dirigible within which great, comic, and disastrous events take place. I’d really like to get the rough draft of that finished. Just because it’s fun.

via British Paintings ~ Little Tea Gossip, Robert Payton Reid

In other news, Hachette tells me that in 2013 they made their entire ebook catalog available to public and school libraries. This means all of my ebooks should be available to virtually check out of the library, although I am not sure about the manga.

They also claim that in 2013 they significantly expanded ebook distribution internationally. What this means is that the Parasol Protectorate Books (just those first 5 in English in ebook form) should be much more widely available for purchase. This will not be the case for the manga, the Finishing School books, or the upcoming Prudence series as they still fall under this little complexity.


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Painting via www.carolinezhurley.com

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Detail from ‘La Moustache’ (c.1815-45)

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
Self-Publishing a Best-Seller

Book News:
Zemfirka Blogs about Curtsies & Conspiracies, “The Finishing School series is heating up my must read list with a delightful follow-up novel! Curtsies & Conspiracies is full of adventures, secrets, mischievous characters, and lessons in etiquette, espionage and most importantly – friendship. So, if you haven’t started on this series yet – you are definitely missing out!”

Quote of the Day:
“His digestion is poor. The chills and fever enlarged his spleen. He has frequent attacks of neuralgia. Once a week he has the sick headache. Once a week he has the sick headache. His liver is out of order. He has twinges of rheumatism.”
Around the Tea Table, by T. De Witt Talmage (1875) 


Posted by Gail Carriger

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  1. Skye said:

    Good luck with your goals! I also avoided making any 2014 New Years Resolutions – I barely accomplished one of last year's and certainly don't need the added stress of any this year. The novella sounds DELIGHTFUL, and I do hope you and your friend publish it some day!

  2. Nikster said:

    Good luck with your writing goals, I certainly hope to see the New Prudence book out. The novella sounds so entertaining and fun.
    I completed my big goal from last year, moving interstate, so this year I have set myself two goals. Learning my grandmothers native language and to not eat any McDonalds all year. I've already enrolled for the language course and have so far succeeded the second goal too.

  3. Gail Carriger said:

    Just so its entirely clear, that woudl be me turning in the Prudence book NOT it coming out. Goal = I have control over it. I have no control over publication release dates.

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