Let’s face it. We’ve all been there. We try to set writing goals for ourselves, and we totally fail. It can be hard to work on your screenplay when you have another full-time job, a family to take care of, or any access to the biggest distraction of all…the Internet.
No need to feel bad; it happens to us all. Let’s look to the future and start leaving those feelings of disappointment behind! Let’s set some strong writing goals using these 6 tips!
- Create a calendar.
While it may feel frustratingly time consuming, take an hour and write your goal deadlines out on a calendar. This can be a physical, paper calendar or a digital calendar. Whatever suits your style! Clearly outline the dates on which you plan to complete your goals. You can also add reminders within your calendar that alert you when a new deadline is coming up.
Get into a routine. Schedule dedicated times to write during the week. It doesn’t have to be EVERY day, but it should be a consistent schedule that gives you enough time to reach your goals.
- Find a writing buddy.
According to a study completed by Brandeis University, 70% of participants who sent updates to a friend reported successful goal achievement, while only 35% of participants who did NOT send updates to a friend reported successful goal achievements.
Find a writing partner or community to help keep you accountable for meeting your writing goals. Ask them to check in with you periodically along the way to make sure you are on track to meet your goal. No one wants to admit to their friend that they haven’t been writing as much as they should!
- Be specific.
Clearly outline EXACTLY what you want to achieve with this goal. If your goal is not well-defined, it will be easy to not meet it. You can’t make it to the destination if you don’t know where you are going.
For example, instead of setting a non-specific writing goal like “I will work on my script this week,” try instead something like “I will complete 15 pages on my script by Friday.” Setting specific goals gives you a clean-cut, straight-forward guide of what exactly you need to meet that goal.
- Make your goals realistic.
Don’t get ahead of yourself or overpromise. It is likely not realistic to write a full, polished screenplay in a week.
There is only so much time in the day for you to write, and that is okay! Many writers have other full-time jobs or commitments in addition to their writing which makes it hard to meet big goals quickly. Be honest with yourself and your schedule. Set valuable goals, but remember to be realistic.
- Celebrate small achievements.
While your overall goal may be to write an entire feature screenplay in 2 months, be sure to set smaller milestones along the way. It can be discouraging to work towards a HUGE goal if progress is never recognized.
Celebrate your work every time you complete a small goal: 30 minutes…15 pages…a full act! Whatever works for your schedule. Be sure to acknowledge the efforts that you are putting in to reach your small goals. It will motivate you to keep working towards that BIG goal.
- Give yourself a break!
There is already a tremendous amount of pressure surrounding the screenwriting industry. While it is important to meet goals, let’s try to alleviate some of that pressure by remembering to give ourselves a break if things don’t work out exactly as planned.
Life is busy and sometimes other things get in the way of our writing goals—that is perfectly okay. As long as you are not working on a firm deadline (i.e. you need to send Spielberg your script next week), there is no reason to beat yourself up over not meeting an internal goal. Writing is tough. Stay positive, give yourself an extension! There’s no harm in that.
Now, let’s get out there and start achieving our goals! Best of luck to you, writers!
Until next time,