To be successful, writers need to step away from their career goals (whether that’s getting a book published, maintaining a personal blog, or freelancing for national magazines) regularly. We need to jump off the merry-go-round of pitching ideas, researching books or articles, and blogging our hearts out to figure out where our career is going!
A quip about goals:
“It must be borne in mind that the tragedy of life does not lie in not reaching your goal,” said Benjamin E. Mays. “The tragedy of life lies in having no goal to reach.”
Writers need goals – and they also need to know when to re-evaluate or even give up on the goals they’ve set. Click Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time for help with goal setting (it doesn’t sound like it’s about career goals, but it is!). And, read on for signs it’s time to reevaluate your career goals…
4 Signs It’s Time to Reevaluate Your Writing or Getting Published Goals
1. No forward momentum. Whether or not you have specific writing goals, you can still determine if you’re forging ahead. For instance, are you earning more money as a writer now than you were a year ago? Are you writing more words per day or per week? Has your writing improved – do you feel more confident as a writer? If you don’t feel like you’re gaining ground, you may need to take a “time out.” Look at your career goals. Fiddle with them, and then take action towards achieving your goals for six months. Repeat.
2. Boredom or lack of motivation. You may have reached your goal of getting an agent, finding the right publisher, and getting your book published…but it may not be what you expected. Maybe you’re disillusioned, frustrated, disappointed, or just plain bored with the whole process. If you’ve lost your spark and you’re not excited about your writing career, then it’s time to figure out if you’d rather be freelance writing, blogging for money, or embarking on a whole new career. But, if you’re just being lazy, read 10 Tips for Increasing Motivation to Write.
3. Low ROI (Return on Investment). If you’re a freelance writer who spends hours researching article ideas, finding sources, pitching query letters, and (hopefully) writing the actual article – and you only earn twenty or thirty cents a word, then your ROI may be too low. Of course, every freelancer needs to determine how much money makes writing worthwhile, especially if you’re earning a living as a writer…but it’s important to reconsider your ROI regularly. And, remember that ROI isn’t just about money – it’s getting writing experience, making connections in publishing, and learning to be a better writer.
4. Negative – or no – feedback. Are you a blogger who isn’t seeing an increase in page views, new visitors, RSS feed subscribers, or reader comments? Are you an aspiring novelist who hasn’t heard back from the literary agents or publishers to whom you’ve sent your manuscript? Are you a freelance writer who isn’t getting hired by magazine editors or web content managers? These are harsh realities to face, but if you’re not receiving positive feedback or encouragement from the editing or publishing industry, then it might be time to look at your writing goals again.
What do you think of these signs it’s time to reevaluate your writing or publishing goals – am I way off base or have I hit the nail on the head? I’d love to hear from you below!
And if you need motivation to keep writing books, pitching agents, sending query letters to magazines, or blogging, you might find 10 Tips for Achieving Your Writing Goals helpful.