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  Create Effective Goals to Write Your Novel
By Lee Masterson

Most writers have goals and dreams that encompass writing. Your goal might be to write a novel and see it on those shelves finally. Or you might have the goal of being able to quit your day job and write instead. You may be happy to just enjoy the act of writing regardless of the income it might produce.

No matter what your goal, there are some things you can do to increase your chances of seeing your dreams come true.

Write Down Your Goals

Successful business people, top athletes, entrepreneurs, wealthy investors and high-achievers in all fields of life use goal setting techniques.

It’s been proven time and again that people who write down clear, focused goals with realistic outcomes and achievable deadlines are 97% more likely to reach those goals.

Similar studies also show that people who create random, vague goals tend to achieve some minor milestones, but nothing like the results created by those in the first group.

Then there are people who don’t write down clear-set goals at all. While they seem to do okay with their ambitions and goals, imagine how much better they could have done with a clear set of written goals?

Writing Your Goals Effectively

To Do List:
- Go Shopping
- See a movie
- Do laundry
- Fill the car with fuel
- Write a novel

Your goals are not the same as a ‘to do’ list. They should be created to represent a clear aim or achievement that you’d like to accomplish. Always be specific about what you want and include details to narrow your focus even further.

In this case, let’s assume your goal is to write a great novel. That’s an excellent goal, but it also means creating a few other goals around this one so the first is more likely to be achieved.

For example:

- I will dedicate at least 4 hours every week to writing my novel
- I will write a minimum of 2,000 words every week on my novel
- I will switch off the TV for one hour each night and use that time to write my novel

These are just examples of small things you might decide to add to your goal list in order to make your main achievement possible. They are each small steps you’ll need to take in order to make the end goal of writing your novel possible and so they become equally as important as the main end-goal.

Keep It Positive

If you read the previous tip carefully, you would have noticed the example goals were written using specific, positive words. Don’t include negatively worded goals in your list.

“I won’t be tempted by chocolate this year.”
“I won’t procrastinate with my writing”

Negative goals have the opposite effect and actually make your mind focus more on the action you’re trying to avoid. Keep your goals positive and focused on what you really want – and not the things you want to avoid.

Realistic Expectations

Writing down a list of goals and aspirations is great fun. It forces you to think about those things you’ve always wanted to do and never got around to doing. It also forces your mind to be honest about a lot of things you’ve put off doing, too.

It’s important to be realistic about your goals. You could write down that you’d like to write more books than Stephen King over the next 12 months, but you know deep down inside that this isn’t possible, so you’re setting yourself up for failure before you begin.

Despite this, don’t be afraid to write down some really big goals. Just make sure you include some smaller, easily achievable ones too. The human mind works best when it recognizes real results.

By setting and then reaching the smaller goals, your mind will be rewarded by the achievement which will increase your confidence as you strive toward the bigger goals.

One of your smaller goals might be to write 2000 words this week. When you reach that goal, you’re not only showing yourself that it is possible, but you’re increasing your motivation levels at the same time.

Your bigger goals may include writing a novel before the end of the year and getting a publisher to accept it.

Time Frame

Despite the fact that there are too many books around the place promising to teach you to write a novel in absurdly short amounts of time, you need to remember that these type of ‘books’ are usually written and promoted by people who make their living by selling these books to you, not by writing novels every month.

You need to determine your own realistic time frame based around your time table and how long you have in each day to devote to writing.

If you expect your novel to be around 85,000 words, then divide this figure by 52 weeks in a year and you know you must write at least 1,652 words each week to see your novel written before the end of the year.

However, if your goal is to write an 85,000 word novel by the end of the month, then you’ll need to write at least 2,833 words every DAY for 30 days to reach that goal.

Just as your goal needs to be realistic, so does the time frame you’re allowing to reach that goal.


A goal without a deadline is just wishful thinking. You could write down “I want to write a novel” on your goals list, but without direction and purpose, you’ll be still wanting to write that same novel 5 years from now.

Be more precise with your goals and actually give yourself a deadline to work towards.

“I will write my novel by [insert date here]”

Take a little time to work out exactly how much time you’ll need to commit each day and how many words you’ll need to create to meet your deadline. When you’re sure it’s realistically achievable for you, add a specific date to your list of goals.


Writing a list of goals on your computer and then hiding them away in a folder somewhere isn’t going to have the same effect as writing them on paper with a good old fashioned pen.

Write down your clearly focused goals, including deadlines and time frames. Don’t forget that smaller goals are equally as important as the big ones.

When you’re done, pin that sheet of paper somewhere prominent. You might hang it on the fridge or on the wall over your desk or on the back of your door. Just be sure it’s somewhere you can see it regularly.

The more often you read your goals, the more likely you are to remind yourself to keep working towards them. Obviously, the more time you spend working towards your goals and dreams, the more likely you are to accomplish them.

Every time you read them, make sure you take a little time to daydream about what your life will be like when you reach those goals. Daydreaming is a positive form of visualization and each time you indulge in a day dream about your goals, you’re helping to train your mind to make your dreams become a reality.


You must believe you’re capable of achieving every goal you write on your list. Belief and confidence are both vital to you reaching your goals and if you’ve included goals that are just outrageous, then you’re setting yourself up to fail before you’ve even begun.

This doesn’t mean you should only strive for things you already know you can do. It’s important to stretch your abilities a little so you keep growing and achieving.

Good luck with your goals!

Copyright Lee Masterson. All Rights Reserved.


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    Novel Writing tips for fiction writers