Updated: Jul 3
Hello there my lovelies! It’s Sunday, so I couldn’t leave you hanging, but also, I’m on a roll with a story I’m writing and I don’t really want to take too much time away. So today’s post will likely be short and sweet, because my inspiration tends to disappear, and reappear on it's own timetable, so I don't want to lose it. But that led me to a thought, so today I’m giving you My Two Cents on Setting Attainable Goals.
As most of you know, I’m in the midst of publishing a Kindle Vella story. It’s a dual POV mystery/thriller with a romance subplot and unlike my original plan, I published before the story was 100% complete. Heck, if I’m being honest, I published before it was 50% complete. Which was exactly the opposite the goal. I’d planned—when I announced a release date in January—to fully write the story and just have editing needed before I published.
But, like most indie-authors, I got a little overzealous, and may have jumped the gun on my ability to do everything necessary to self publish a serial story that releases weekly. I should’ve known—given my history with this blog—that best laid plans don’t always go the way I hoped. And I planned to write the ending before publishing, because I know myself well enough to know that my inspiration comes when it wants to, and not always on my time table.
But like I said, I got ahead of myself. My story started from a series of short stories I’d entered in a contest. The people who read them loved them and I got so excited about sharing them. They'd both been edited by the unparalleled professional services of Heather Hudec at Simply Spellbound Edits (check out her guest blog post here if you haven’t already). And I was well on the way of writing the remainder of the story and had also submitted what was written to Heather to be edited.
So easy peasy, just write an ending, right?
The problem with being a pantser (see my blog about pantsers vs plotters if you aren’t sure what that means) is that often, the characters take on a life of their own. Which can sometimes mean reimagining the story mid-way through. Occasionally that means going back to the beginning and tweaking things to match the new direction of the story.
But since I’ve already published the beginning half, that becomes a little more difficult to do. And I have been forced to commit to decisions my characters made during the beginning part of the story. While this may seem completely normal, it also makes the places to which the story can go somewhat limiting, and therefore has made my inspiration for writing it somewhat elusive. And because I'm not a full time writer, the stress of trying to work through it during the few hours a week I get to focus on writing has been weighing on me heavily. And as the end of the portion I've written draws nearer, I’ve felt increasingly worried about my ability to finish successfully.
So what’s this all mean?
My advice for authors (indie or otherwise) is to not jump the gun. I have said it before, but sometimes we’re hard headed and need a reminder, so let me say it again for the people in the back.
Setting realistic, attainable goals is one of THE MOST important parts of becoming a successful writer. It’s true of this blog, it’s true of my serial story and it’s true of whatever writing and publishing goals you have.
Sure, the goal is to get to the end of the story and publish a wildly successful novel, story, etc. But to get there, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and heartbreak if you break that ending destination into manageable chunks. The S.M.A.R.T. system outlined above is successful for a reason.
Don’t set the goal at becoming a NYT Bestselling Author. Set the goal at finishing chapter one. When you reach that, move the line to chapter ten, then twenty and then the end. Set an editing goal, set a release date goal (but only announce it when you’re 98% ready to publish). The point is, break it into more digestible pieces and stick to that timetable and I promise you’ll be much happier and WAY less stressed by the outcome.
This may all seem pretty easy, and it's a stupid simple concept, but trust me when I say, it's so easy to get swept up in the excitement of a piece you want to share, and forget to slow down. So don't be like me.
Set your sights high, but work toward them slowly. Inspiration can be elusive, so don't get ahead of yourself. Set ATTAINABLE goals that will continue to help you move forward but will slow the process to a reasonable pace. And for the love of God, don't publish your work before it's ready. You only get one shot at a first impression, so don't waste it.
So that's it, folks. That's My Two Cents on Setting Attainable Goals. Follow the sage advice of those who've done it wrong first, and just don't get ahead of yourself. Lay out a plan and follow it, and I promise you'll be much happier and less stressed in the long run.
Have a happy week my friends, and HAPPY WRITING!
-Rose Rayne Rivers
Comment below and tell me what about your writing goals?
Also, let me know if you have any topics you want me to cover in the upcoming weeks!
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