After going back to assess how 2016 went, it’s time to look forward to your writing goals for 2017. I love setting goals for the new year. It helps me gather up all the potential that’s floating in the air around me and focus it. I love imagining the ways my life can improve. I find this time of year inspiring in so many ways.

Let’s take a look at what you’d like to accomplish in 2017!

writing goals for 2017

Why set goals?

Goals are the mile markers that let you know you’re making progress along the roadmap of your life. They help you come up with a long-term vision for your priorities (in this case writing). Goals also provide short-term motivation for taking steps that will get you there.

Remember to keep it SMART

I wrote a whole post about using the SMART method to set your writing goals, but here’s a quick refresher. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Following this method, will help increase your chances of success.

Name Your Goal(s)

You can’t accomplish your goal if you don’t identify it. This is why the S in SMART stands for Specific. If your goal isn’t specific, it makes determining your progress difficult. You can have more than one goal, or maybe a related set of goals, but make sure they’re all specific and write them down somewhere.

My goals for 2017: (1) Establish a consistent writing routine of at least one day a week. (2) Journal once a day.

Break it down into actions

Ask yourself what you’ll need to do (daily, weekly, monthly) to ensure you make progress toward this goal. It’s important to take into account what did and didn’t work last year when coming up with this breakdown. Continuing to do something that wasn’t working can lead to frustration, which won’t help you make progress.

You might have noticed my goal hasn’t changed since last year. Continuing to make progress toward a goal you set for yourself the year before is completely valid. If you are continuing to work on a goal, it becomes even more important to consider the previous year.

Actions: (1) Schedule day/time to write and put it on my calendar so I can’t schedule other things during that time. Find a new writing community in my new city. (2) Put a notebook and pen on my nightstand to remind me to journal before bed or when I wake up. Print a list of personal writing prompts in case I can’t think of anything to journal about.

How do you feel about these goals?

Emotions are super powerful. They can be great assets or huge hindrances. So acknowledge the emotions these goals invoke, the good and the bad. Are you intimidated by how ambitious your goals are? What intimidates you and can you take any steps toward minimizing that? Are you super pumped? Write down the most exciting part and put it somewhere you can see it every day.

For me, I’m hopeful that I’ll make more progress on my first goal this year.  I’m worried because last year I let myself get off track, but I know why that happened and I can take steps toward avoiding a repeat of history. As far as my journaling goal, this is a thing I’ve wanted to be good at for a while. I’m nervous I won’t be able to get into the habit, but I’m also hopeful that the benefits will outweigh those concerns.

Download your goal-setting worksheet!

I made worksheets for you! The first is to help you look back and assess 2016, and the second is to help you look forward.

Get ready for 2017!

Download two helpful goal-setting worksheets to start 2017 off on the right writerly foot!

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Author: Whynott Edit

Hi, I'm Megan! My mission is to help underrepresented writers refine their words, strengthen their skills, and tell the best possible versions of their stories.

If you have questions/comments/concerns about writing, editing, or publishing, or want to suggest a post topic, feel free to reach out to me! megan[at]