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Achieve Your Writing Goals This Year (Yes, Really!)

Plan your yearly writing goals to make a ton of progress in 2019!

I love a new year. I love the fresh start and the clean slate and how everything feels like it has so much possibility. Despite how many wonderful things happened in 2018 (and how many blah things, too), I know 2019 can be even better.

The indie publishing market is only getting better, and that means the possibilities for getting YOUR writing out in the world are better, too. Here’s how I’m organizing my year to be the happiest writer ever—and how you can organize your year to be a happy writer, too!

Be a Happy Writer by Planning Your Yearly Writing Goals

Just 8% of people achieve their New Year’s Resolutions. New Year’s Resolutions are so much fun when you’re planning them, but how often do yours become one of those embarrassing statistics? It’s so easy to get bogged down with the weight of your responsibilities, desires, and obligations. 

So as we jump into a brand new year, I’d like to share how I’m organizing 2019 to be a happy writer and a productive writer, too!

Other fun stuff: Lifehacker’s got some other goals you can toss in with your writing resolutions!


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1 Big Thing + Quarterly Writing Goals + Weekly Sprints

TL;DR: I’m planning out my year in overarching quarterly writing goals, broken down further into 1 week sprints that all come together to achieve ONE BIG THING.

But why? Because when you only focus on a weekly to-do list, you can get bogged down in the minutia. You end up getting a lot of tasks done, but those tasks don’t build up into anything meaningful. And if you start with one huge goal, with no baby steps to lead you there, you can get so overwhelmed you just quit.

Solve this problem by using both large writing goals and weekly sprints. A quarter and a week are both good time frames to use. Here’s what you do:

How to Break Your Year into Achievable Writing Goals

Time needed: 1 hour

1. Choose your goal for the year.

What’s your main goal for 2019?

As in, if you can get only ONE THING accomplished all year, what do you want it be?

Here’s an example. My goal for 2019 is to grow a part-time income from my novels. That’s my ONE THING for the year. But how do I actually do it? Well, that’s where the quarterly goals come in.

What is your 1 goal?

Check Out: Heroine’s Journey? It’ll Help You Write a Book that Readers Love

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2. Break that goal down into 4 parts.

Experience, research, and educated guessing, tell me I need to get more books out and market them effectively. I’m a member of the 20BooksTo50K group and the theory there is if you get 20 good books out and market them well, you can make $50,000 a year off your writing. That pretty much makes you a full-time author! So to get that part-time income from my novels, I want to publish 3 full length novels and 7 accompanying short side stories next year.

I can break these down into 3 full-length novels and 1 set of 7 short stories, but I want to spread the short stories among the longer novel releases, so I can’t put wait to write them all in one quarter. How can I break these writing goals down into 4 quarters, then?

How about by…

  1. Word count: 3 x 50,000 words + 7 x 10,000 words = 220,000 words ➗ 4 = 55,000 words a quarter
  2. Releases: First quarter = 1 book and 2 short stories; 2nd Quarter = 1 book and 1 short stories; 3rd Quarter = 3 short stories; 4th Quarter = 1 book and 1 short story

I’m going by Releases. I need to add in publishing and marketing these books to reach my overall goal for the year.

What are the 4 parts you’ll break your goal into?

3. Break the first quarter down into 12 or more steps that can each be completed in a week or less.

Once you know your quarterly writing goals, all you have to do is break those down into bite-sized tasks that can each be completed in ONE WEEK. If you can’t complete the task in 1 week, it needs to be broken down into smaller parts.

Here’s an example:

My 1st Quarter goal to finish, publish, and market 1 book and 2 short stories can be broken down over 12 weeks, into weekly tasks like this:

Write, publish, and market 1 book and 2 short stories

  1. Outline book
  2. Outline short story #1
  3. Outline short story #2
  4. Write 5500 words each week (55,000 / 10 weeks, leaving 2 weeks each quarter to focus solely on marketing and publishing)
  5. Edit book
  6. Edit short story #1
  7. Edit short story #2
  8. Beta read for book
  9. Beta read for short story #1
  10. Beta read for short story #2
  11. Get book covers
  12. Contact 25 potential book reviewers for book
  13. Contact 10 potential book reviewers for short story #1
  14. Contact 10 potential book reviewers for short story #2
  15. Create social media accounts for book series
  16. Find my target audience and authentically engage with them each week
  17. and so on…

So now you know your priorities and your weekly sprints, your weekly to-do list pretty much creates itself. You never need to worry about what you’re working on this week because you’ve got every task you need to complete in the next 12 weeks written out already.

??? ???? ???????????: #merryandwrite wants to know how I feel about New Year Resolutions, and I’m here to say: ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ? I AM ? 100% ? HERE ? FOR ? RESOLUTIONS! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I love love love accomplishing things. It’s the Capricorn in me. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ? My resolution for 2019 is to create a part-time income from my novels, and I’ve got the work planned out so I can get there. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Want to know how I plan my years so I get everything I want to accomplish checked off + stay sane? I just shared my foolproof method (link in bio). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Proof it works? I used this method to write a novel AND a thesis while working full-time AND going to grad school full-time. Oh, and I also did Couch to 5K that year, too. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The best part is you can get it done in under an hour while drinking a cocktail. Check it out! Link in bio! __________ ?: Baby books to TKO ❤️: Getting to spend 2 weeks with my little bro, who’s in town! __________ #writersofinstagram #writersofinsta #writingcommunityofinstagram #novelwriting #writingvibes #amwriting #amwritingfiction #aspiringauthor #aspiringwriter #writingbuddies #instawrite #instawriters #writergram #writerscommunity #writerscommunityofinstagram #writingcommunity #write_on #writers_den_ #instawriterscommunity #instawrite #writersociety #writersconnection #writerssociety #keepwriting #amwritingfantasy #amwritingscifi #amwritingromance #amwritingmystery #writersfollowwriters https://www.booksandalchemy.com/yearly-writing-goals/

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The key is to never multitask. No one is good at multitasking. Not even you. You focus on just that one thing for the entire sprint. Then you finish and move onto the next thing. I promise you’ll get way more done (and done better) this way.

Now what about Quarters 2, 3, and 4?

You could plan out your entire year, but I prefer to leave the following quarters vague until I approach them. Priorities change. Don’t lock yourself into something you hate. This is just like outlining a novel: you need a skeleton for the whole thing, but you add most of the flesh as you go along.

And so there you have it! What do you think?

I’d love to know how YOU are going to plan your yearly writing goals for 2019. Got any tips or tricks? Share them with us in the comments below!

Let’s change some lives,

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Holly

PS — 🩵 When it feels right, here are 3 ways I can help you turn the page:

  1. The Book Map. Imagine having a GPS for your book-writing journey, guiding you from “I think I have an idea!” all the way to “OMG, I did it! I wrote a book!” That’s what the Book Map can do for you. It’s a supercharged roadmap for your writing journey. It’s not just about outlining chapters; it’s about diving deep into what you want to say and the best way to say it, ensuring every word pulls its weight. You’re not just writing a book; you’re crafting a masterpiece that feels as if it almost writes itself. Ready to make your book dream a reality? Let’s Book Map it!
  2. One-to-One Book Coaching. I have a vision of changing the world one book at a time, by teaching world-changers to create a book in a gentler, more effective way. A way that takes both you and your reader on a profound journey. I see a future where we build trust in our words, worlds, and work with our books, and where the world becomes a better place because of the books we write. My commitment is to bring to life books—fiction and nonfiction—founded on integrity. I’ll bring the map, and you’ll take us on the journey. If you’re ready to change the world with your book, your quest awaits. Apply for a free discovery call here. It takes 3 minutes.
  3. Listen to the Podcast. The Book Coach Chronicles: A podcast for writers of books, people who want to be writers of books, and y’all in the back who’ve been thinking about it but don’t yet consider yourself a writer. Listen on AppleSpotify, or Everywhere Else.

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Holly Ostrout is a book coach with a vision of changing the world one book at a time, by teaching big-idea entrepreneurs, coaches, speakers, and authors to create a book in a gentler, more effective way. A way that takes both you and your reader on a profound journey.
Holly Ostrout

Hi I’m Holly. If you’re going to change the world with your book, fiction or nonfiction, I can help you do it.

I'm a book coach for high-achieving, creative coaches, consultants, service providers, speakers, and authors who want to build a sustainable business around their book—whether that’s fiction or nonfiction.

I help you share your wisdom, ideas, and gifts by writing & publishing a life-changing book that helps you streamline your business, bring in more money, and change more lives.

I believe books are the most important human invention. And yours can change the world.

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Joyful, Easy Writing Can Be Yours​

Find that magical zone when the words flow like honey + everything you want to say comes across in perfect harmony. Write your book joyfully + easily with this Writing Ritual Tracker & keep the flow with my helpful newsletter.

Mockup of The Writing Ritual Creator from Holly Ostrout

Joyful, Easy Writing Can Be Yours

Writing Ritual Tracker from Books & Alchemy

Find that magical zone when the words flow like honey + everything you want to say comes across in perfect harmony. Write your book joyfully + easily with this Writing Ritual Tracker & keep the flow with my helpful newsletter.

Mockup of The Writing Ritual Creator from Holly Ostrout
Before you go...

If You Want to Change the World with Your Book, You've Got to Write It.

Find that magical zone when the words flow like honey + everything you want to say comes across in perfect harmony. Write your book joyfully + easily with this Writing Ritual Creator & keep the flow with my helpful newsletter.