I think setting goals and staying passionate and motivated is a huge part of being a successful writer.  We can have all the talent in the world, but without the stick-to-it-iveness to sit down on a regular basis–preferably every day–and actually pound out those words, especially when we don’t feel passionate or motivated, we’ll never reach our true potential.

Despite the importance I put on this idea, I still struggle with staying disciplined and sticking with it.  Sometimes I blow off writing.  Sometimes I decide to do something else–procrastinate!–like play a video game or watch the television.  I know it’s not what I should do or need to do or even what I want to do, but I do it anyway, and ignore the nagging voices in the back of my head saying I’m letting myself down.

There are no easy answers to this problem.  The cure to “not writing” is to “write”, as often and as much as possible.  But it is also easy to let days and weeks slip by and not be honest with myself about how little I’ve actually done.

So, to address this troubling dilemma and find a way to stay on target, like many of you, I occasionally identify goals and then measure my performance accordingly.  Publicly stating my goals works well because either I’ll show you all what I’m really made of, or I get to stand here and admit my embarrassment. 

I’ve said it before: fear of failure is a huge motivator for me, but I’ve found over the years that the way to make the fear real is to ensure there are witnesses.  Making the possibility of failure public helps me succeed.  Sounds twisted, but it works for me!

So without further adieu, here are my writing goals for 2011:

  • One hundred WSMG posts
  • Ten draft short stories
  • Five short stories ready for critique
  • Three shorts submitted for publication
  • One short story published
  • DAISY ready to query
  • First 50k words of SHOOTER NUMBER ONE (my next novel idea) completed/Win NaNo 2011
  • Start Twitter account
  • Climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Kenya
  • Read a ton of good fiction
  • Support my fellow writers

Obviously this list is pretty ambitious, but I guess I’ve always been a “go big or go home” kinda guy.  Call me crazy.  Anyone got any pointers on getting a Twitter account set up?

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  1. Kristi said:

    Great goals! I like the GO BIG approach…I think it's a great way to make sure you accomplish a ton because even a few of those would be HUGE.

    And I recently set up a Twitter account, it was MUCH easier than I thought and alot easier to maintain. If you get it up and running, come find me! @kristikay13 😉

    January 10, 2011
  2. Ted Cross said:

    Oh, man! This is exactly what I have been kicking myself over for months now. I don't really WANT to procrastinate, yet I keep doing it. It is so much easier than getting on with the hard work of writing. I keep telling myself that I AM writing simply by continuously thinking about my story and allowing it to ferment in my imagination. There's some truth to this, yet I still feel terrible, as if I am wasting all of my time.

    January 10, 2011
  3. Liza said:

    As a result of this post, I am signing out of blogger this morning and working on draft revisions until I have to go to work. Thank you JP.

    January 10, 2011
  4. I love how you have climbing Mt Kilimanjaro right next to setting up a Twitter acount. Tweet, baby Tweet!

    January 10, 2011
  5. Summer Frey said:

    I think these are kickass goals. And I have the utmost faith in you!

    January 10, 2011
  6. Travener said:

    Yikes. Ambitious. My goal: actually write something this year instead of just talking about it.

    January 10, 2011
  7. glnroz said:

    well hell, that's a start.. a mighty fine start, that is too.

    January 10, 2011
  8. Lola Sharp said:

    A fabulous list. The twitter part is easy…5 seconds and you're in. And then let the ultimate procrastinating begin! It can become a time suck, but it's fun. I'm @LolaSharp…friend me when you're in. (Summer is @summerbp Portia is @portiaalex and DL is @DL_Hammons)

    Go Big!

    January 10, 2011
  9. Claire Dawn said:

    CLimb Kilimajaro! I climbed Fuji in 2k9. NEVER AGAIN! lol.

    Good luck with your writing goals. I haven't really written since Nano. lol. But I have to do my 'hashtag' edits b4 the end of January. I'll be back on the horse in a minute.

    January 13, 2011
  10. DL Hammons said:

    You're going to be one busy puppy this year…and that's awesome!!!!! Good luck!! :)

    January 15, 2011

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