To be a successful freelance writer, you must set clear goals for your writing business and the other important areas of your life. Psychological studies show the usefulness of setting goals, as long as those goals are set properly and pursued diligently.
3 Reasons Why Goals Are Important for Freelance Writers
1. They Provide Energy and Motivation
When you know what you want to accomplish, why you want to accomplish it, and how you will accomplish it, you’ll be primed to do what’s necessary. You’ll feel more energetic and your brain will focus directly on what you need to do.
For example, if one of your highest priorities is to write a high-quality book on a certain subject, finish it by a certain date, and then get it published, you’ll find that your desire to have it completed will give you the fuel and fire you need to get it done.
2. They Guide Your Activities
When you have clear goals, you’ll always have good guidelines for what you should do: you’ll know what is the best use of your time at any moment. You will always have a plan for your minutes and hours, your days and weeks, your months and years.
3. They Help You Adjust and Learn
As you pursue your goals, you’ll learn better ways to achieve what you want more quickly, or what you want may shift over time. You’ll also have to accommodate to new information and new circumstances.
Having an initial set of goals and action plans provides you with a blueprint for what you want; you can always adjust both as you move through life.
How Not Having Goals Hurts You
If you aren’t clear on what you want to do, whether with your writing career, your health, or your relationships with family and friends, you will likely choose the easiest and most expedient actions, not the ones you need to do to reach your full potential. You’ll wander from one idea to another, bringing very few to completion. You’ll squander time and energy, make less money, and get less fulfillment from life.
On a very practical level, you need to know where you want to go in life; otherwise you’ll drift aimlessly.
Make SMART Goals…
You must clearly state exactly what you want. The more clarity you have, the more likely you are to succeed.
You must have ways to measure your progress. In freelance writing, it can be finishing two articles a week, or contacting ten editors/potential clients a week. In weight loss, you must set a specific number of pounds you want to lose.
You want to set challenging yet realistic goals. If you set a goal that you really don’t think you can reach, you will become discouraged and lose motivation.
For example, if you set a freelance writing income target of $20,000 per month starting next month, yet you’ve never made more than $2,000 in a month, your brain will rebel and you may find it very difficult to write anything.
But if you currently make $2,000 per month, you can realistically make $3,000 per month at the end of 6 months, and $4000 per month at the end of 12 months. At the end of one year you will have doubled your income.
However, what is a realistic for one person may not be a realistic for another. Only you know what you are truly capable of, and only you know how badly you want a certain goal and the resources you have — time, skills, money, energy — to devote to reaching it.
You must set goals that are relevant for what you truly desire so you will have a high level of commitment.
Your goals should inspire you and make you want to get out of bed each day ready to take on life.
You must set specific deadlines. Break them down into weekly and monthly milestones, and if you have an especially big goal, like a college degree, by year also. Setting definite dates will keep you focused and motivated.
Also Set Good Process Goals…
Let’s use your freelance writing business as an example.
Process goals encompass important activities that are crucial for your freelance writing success, but aren’t measured in terms of dollars earned, clients landed, or pieces published.
They include learning important things necessary for your business, such as improving your writing skills or learning new marketing techniques. They also include the attitude you take when working, such as one of relaxed confidence, and also physical aspects such as sitting at the computer with proper posture.
Set Goals for All Areas of Your Life…
I’ve focused primarily on your freelance writing business in this post, but you also need goals in all areas of your life, including
- Spouse/life partner
- Stress reduction
- Personal growth
Do you set goals for your writing and your life? If so, have you followed the guidelines I discussed here? What’s been your experience?