Setting a few realistic goals can help you get started with your writing. Goals can also encourage you to keep motivated throughout your writing journey. As you continue writing and learning, your skills will steadily develop.
Once you reach each goal you can look back and appreciate how much you have achieved, and how much your writing skills have improved. Even if you don’t succeed in reaching a particular goal, you will have put forth serious effort for God’s glory and even learned a few things along the way.
Choosing reasonable goals is not an easy process. We generally want to set highly ambitious goals. However, the more ambitious our goals, the easier it is to fall short of reaching them and get discouraged. You are setting these goals for your own benefit so be careful to make them attainable.
According to 30 Steps to Becoming a Writer by Scott Edelstein, “The most effective goals are those that are tough enough to make you stretch, and maybe even sweat, but not so distant or difficult that you’re likely to give up in frustration.” (Edelstein 1991, 2005)
Great writing goals are concrete and specific. For example, one goal might be to write two devotionals per week for a period of one month. Another goal might be to write one opinion article per week.
To set a goal like “I will write down my thoughts about art (or some other broad topic)” may be a good intention. However, these general topics are too open ended and consequently, they need to be narrowed down to one specific topic. For example, instead of writing “my thoughts about art” a writer could narrow the topic to “the famous paintings of Michaelangelo.” This topic is much more focused and easier to research and write.
Any writing goal that you set for yourself should reflect your own efforts rather than the decisions, judgments, or opinions of others. For example, the goal of getting one poem or story published each month may sound like a reasonable goal. However, the publication of your writing can be based on the decisions of editors who may have an overabundance of written manuscripts to sift through. They may not choose your article for various reasons, even if the writing is excellent. Many stories are rejected because they are not the exact material the magazine or book publishing company is looking for.
A better goal might be to write several poems or stories that you genuinely believe are worthy of publication and submit them to three or four magazines. This goal is based on your own ability and efforts instead of the decisions of other people.
If you are not sure that writing is something you want to pursue or you are not usually a goal- oriented person, consider starting with the following three goals:
- I will consider and follow God’s leading in my writing endeavors. I will pray and consider my special interests and my writing abilities. Then, I will choose one or two narrowed topics to write about.
- I will write for six months and evaluate my strengths and weaknesses as a writer. I will also evaluate the pieces I have written.
- I will pray and decide where to go from here. Has God called me to write? How can my writing benefit God’s kingdom and bring glory and pleasure to Him?
In his book 30 Steps to Becoming a Writer, author Scott Edelstein wrote, “A great many writers do their best and most productive work when they follow a regular writing schedule. One of your goals, therefore, may be to stick to a writing schedule of your own design. Other writers, however, respond better to the rhythms of their own psyches than they do to those of the clock. If this description fits you, or if your life is simply too unpredictable to allow you to schedule specific writing times in advance, then set a goal to write for a certain amount of time each week, but don’t commit yourself to a specific schedule. For example: ‘I’ll write three to five hours each week.’ If you’re not sure whether you’ll do better with or without a formal schedule, try both options. You should discover quickly what works best for you.”
Think about your writing and determine three specific goals. Try to schedule a specific time for writing each week and see if your schedule will work for you. If it doesn’t work, consider Scott’s suggestion of setting an amount of time each week for writing. See if you can achieve this goal. Determine what works best and motivates you to write more often.
 (Edelstein 1991, 2005)
 (Edelstein 1991, 2005), p. 30
Edelstein, Scott. 30 Steps to Becoming a Writer. Philadelphia PA: Running Press Book Publishers, 1991, 2005, pp. 28-30.