S.M.A.R.T, in this blog, means Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.
Writers are not left out in using the principle of “smartness” to develop their writing careers. In one of my blogs, I wrote about how to write a 20,000-word book in 7 days, which can be viewed here. In that blog, I mentioned how developing a strategic calendar would be instrumental in sticking to timelines for writing such a lengthy book under such a short time constraint.
How can you be a SMART writer who is able to mint out good quality books while being disciplined with your time? You can become one by creating a concrete plan under each SMART milestone which will tell you exactly what you need to do under each milestone, with rewards that you will gain if you can accomplish them!
I will outline each milestone and provide an example of what you could create for yourself under each as your goal.
As a writer, whether new or already with a book or more under your belt, becoming successful is not random. An articulated plan is a requirement. This means you will have to state exactly what it is you ‘intend to become as a writer.’
Let me give an example. You may be thinking that you want to write a legal fiction book like John Grisham; and you want to make it to the USA Today’s Bestseller list with that book. That is pretty specific. If you wrote down your specific goal, it would read like this:
“I want to write a fiction novel that resembles a John Grisham book, and which will get me on the USA Today’s Bestseller List after I have published it. I want to write this book because I need to prove to myself that I can succeed as a writer.”
This goal has a “What”, a “Why” and a “How.” The What is that you will write a John Grisham-like book. The “How” is that it will be such a good book that it will make the USA Today’s Bestseller List. Your “Why” is that you need to prove something to yourself – That you are a successful writer.
Measuring Your Goal
It is good to be specific about what you want as a writer – But are you able to measure what needs to happen so that you will know you succeeded in the specific goal that you set for yourself?
For example, what are the numbers that will tell you you have “succeeded” in writing a John Grisham-like book that will make it to the USA Today’s Bestseller list? This is an opportunity to expand on your specific goal. Under this measurement goal, you can further state:
“I will write my book within the next two years and publish it by year three. I want to have at least 100,000 sales within the first year of release.”
You see, your specific goal is becoming more concrete! You know that you are giving yourself three years to become a bestselling book. (In my other blog, I wrote about how to write a 20,000-word book within 7 days, as opposed to three years!)
You know that you are expecting 100,000 book sales as a marker that you have succeeded in this goal.
Make It Achievable
You may be thinking at this point that my blog about writing a 20,000-word book is not achievable – But check out that blog to see that it can be. On a related note, you are trying to create a journey through this blog that will help you to make some concrete plans that for becoming a successful writer.
To have an achievable goal of writing a John Grisham-like book that will become a USA Today Bestseller in three years, ask yourself the question – Do I have the tools to make this goal achievable?
For example, have you ever written a book before? This does not man you cannot become a bestseller with your first book. It is simply asking the question of whether maybe you may need to take some writing course or brush up on some writing skills in order to attain a bestseller writer status.
If you think your writing may need some help, then achieving your goal of a USA Today bestseller may be achievable only if you improve on writing.
Relevancy of Your Goal
Ask yourself – How relevant is this goal of writing a John Grisham-like book to the overall career goals that you have for yourself? Is this simply a hobby? A bet with your buddies that you can make the USA Today Bestsellers’ List? Or is it a career strategy indeed to raise your writer profile?
Consider how relevant your goal is to your overall life plans. For instance, you can craft a sentence for yourself like this:
“Becoming a USA Today Bestselling book is relevant to my dream of becoming a published author that will eventually focus primarily on writing as my sole career.”
Your goal’s timing as to be realistic. In the paragraph about having a “measurable” goal, we already talked about some time limits you would set for yourself to measure whether you succeeded. For instance, if you spend ten years on acheiving this goal instead of three, you would measure this as an unsuccessful project.
In the same way, having a ‘time-bound’ goal means that you have a specific period wherein it must be completed. That time period will let you know whether you have succeeded in the goal. For instance, the three years indicated earlier is a good ‘time bound’ goal that will help you stick to a calendar that must end by year three for this goal.
With this example, you now have a SMART goal that sounds something like this:
“I want to write a fiction novel that resembles a John Grisham book, and which will get me on the USA Today’s Bestseller List after I have published it. I will write my book within the next two years and publish it by year three. I want to have at least 100,000 sales within the first year of release. I will take some writing courses to brush up my writing skills. Becoming a USA Today Bestselling book is relevant to my dream of becoming a published author that will eventually focus primarily on writing as my sole career. I want to write this book because I need to prove to myself that I can succeed as a writer.”
There you have it – Being a SMART writer is very easy!