Ready, Get, GOOOOOOAL!
One way of setting writing goals, is to organize them by phase:
b. Refining, and
I find it helpful to compare writing to other business processes, which generates a tangible image. If you compare writing to a traditional business like building a better car; creation, refining and marketing could be compared to R&D (research and development), production and sales. Every opportunity we have to compare our writing to a business process adds urgency and helps us to realize our time is valuable, every single second. Including the research you do right now.
What are your writing goals in reference to these 3 phases?
a. Creation may be coming up with an outline for your new web series, or brainstorming a TV pilot. Framing these goals in the context of your writing portfolio is helpful – what are your strengths and how do you illustrate them in your writing portfolio? If you have seven completed screenplays, but no other type of writing, maybe a good goal would be creating a work in digital or new media, like a game, short script, TV idea, reality programming treatment, or app. Or perhaps some new genres of screenplays in which you have not written before.
b. Refining your writing includes all the various editing activities, input by other readers and soliciting opinions and commentary, reading your script out load to see how it flows, the copy editing, grammar checking, proofreading and improvements that you use to transition your screenplay from raw to perfectly cooked. If you don’t spend at least one-third of your allocated writing time on editing and refinement, take a good hard look at this. Rarely does a first draft of any writing deserve to leap headlong into the marketplace. Editing is a friend of all writers; whether it is formal, working with your writing coach, at class, with a writer’s group; or something more informal, you need to develop a refining process that works effectively for you.
c. Marketing for screenwriters is equally important as creating and refining because that’s when others have the opportunity to read and consume work. This phase is when you can gauge the reaction of your target audience, and the impact your writing has on others (including a potential impact on your bank account when you sell your work). Marketing includes writing and sending query letters to managers, agents, producers, directors, and production companies, entering contests, attending a pitchfest or film festival for purposes of networking.
Ok, so let’s take each of the three phases and prepare to set goals for each of creating, refining and marketing.
When setting goals, it is important to know the environment you are setting the goal in – because you’re more likely to win a race if you know some specifics about that race – are you biking or walking? Walking on your hands? Tied to another writer? Underwater? How long is the race? These details frame the work required to achieve your goal.
Any improvement requires setting goals, acting on them, and adjust accordingly – whether you reached, exceeded, or missed the goal.
In honor of your dreams, let’s set 3 Goals.
1. Know your now.
2. See your then – increased by 5%.
3. Take actions for growth.
Here’s a way to get specific with the details – as writers know, it’s all about the details!
1. Know your NOW. Quantify where you are now. We don’t have to recreate the wheel, use a calendar – how many words do you write every day? How many pages will you edit in a day? How many scripts do you have completed? How many contests have you entered this month, and agents contacted this week? The takeaway from here is that if you don’t know, you need to establish a routine so that you will know. A word document, sticky note, or other vehicle containing that info living in the cloud or on your desktop works just fine (I like Excel).
2. See your THEN – increase now by 5%. Add 5% to your now – and there’s your goal – you need a specific number – there’s your goal. 5% is specific, realistic and attainable, as you are planning to succeed.
3. Take ACTIONS for growth. Do three things every day to get that 5% – act, don’t think, plan and ruminate – write, call, write, submit to agents, enter competitions, practice your pitch, update your social media – whatever the action is.
Commit to your success by making yourself accountable and sharing your goal with a friend who roots for your success – or with us! We’re rooting for you!
Do you need help quantifying goals? Many of us do, as well as easy ways to stay organized and set goals. If you are someone who likes using apps, there is an excellent app called Strides, and it allows you to use the goals that are in there, or create goals of your own.
If the digital realm isn’t enough, do you have a writing schedule on your calendar – full of reminders and alarms that go off when you need to write, when you need to change tasks – go from writing to editing, to marketing to research (subtext – poke around on the Internet to see what other writers are doing, watch clips on YouTube to get ideas and find people on Facebook that are inspiring).
Do you have a partner or artist or writing group, to help you with accountability – people who will ask you nicely about meeting your goals, and how it went – some type of support group can be a real pillar of support for a writing lifestyle which has inherent difficulties to it. Writing is a solitary activity and we writers need the human touch, whether it’s formal and organized or more informal, or takes the shape of an online check-in for you and your writer pals to cheer you on, doesn’t matter, what matters is that you get regular doses of encouragement.
There are many resources inside social media, whether you join a screenwriting platform or an online group – like this group ‘Writers Anonymous’ on Facebook. Find a support group for writers, no matter how public or anonymous their writing endeavors may be – the point is that support is key. Whether you join an online group like Insecure Writers Support Group, declare your goals.
Futureme.org – go on be futuristic and stalk yourself. Cheer on your goals by writing emails to yourself in the future regarding your goals.
Script Magazine (Hello!) you have so many writers here to support and cheer you on, use us (connect with us on Facebook)!
Scribeophile – Respectful online writing group.
Writer’s Café – online writing community.
Review Fuse – online writing group for honest, quality feedback.
Scriptchat – a weekly screenwriting chat on Twitter, using the hashtag #scriptchat.
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