How To Set Effective Writing Goals

Do you ever feel that you set goals but struggle to move them beyond the act of writing them down? If so, this is the blog post for you.

Setting effective writing goals is the key to moving forward in our writing lives and achieving those literary dreams. So, let’s break it down together.

Specifically define success. 

What is the goal? If you want to write a novel, ask yourself what the endpoint is. If it’s to publish the work and promote it, the goal doesn’t just end at writing the novel. Being specific about what success will mean for you is key.

Understand the actions involved. 

Yes, we can write down ‘Write a novel’, or ‘Publish’, but that doesn’t really tell us what is involved in the act, and so can mean that success will be harder to reach. To set an effective writing goal, break down the actions that are involved in the task.

  • How will you achieve your set goals?
  • What is involved in writing a novel?
  • What will you need to learn to publish?
  • Will you hire an editor?

There are lots of questions to consider. If you need a hand with this bit, don’t be afraid to get in touch and ask for help!

Set a Timeline. 

Once you know what is involved in your writing goal, you can set a realistic timeline for the process. Be generous and realistic. If you need help with planning your writing week, check this post out here!

Remind yourself. 

It’s time to set up that writing habit. Look at your calendar and slot in those actions, setting reminders to help you remember to do the work. If you struggle with finding the time, The Time to Write Workbook can take you through the process. It’s an investment in yourself for the price of a cup of coffee!

Get to work.

Once those effective writing goals are set, the only thing left to do is take action. Getting to work on your goals can be made much easier by setting rewards for each task and keeping that final stage in mind.

If you’re looking for some further help, why not take a look at my Novel Writing Masterclass – It’s Time to Write Your Novel. This course takes you from idea to publication and will make setting those goals so much easier.

What writing goals do you have? Let me know – I would love to help you achieve them!

Found this blog post useful? Share it with another writer.

Want to read something similar? Check these out:

The Time Blocking Tools That Can Help You Write Your Novel
Tips and Tricks for Dealing With Procrastination 
Ten Tips For Planning Your Writing Week

Coaching Craft

Writing Coach Vs Editor: What’s the Difference?

Should you hire a Writing Coach or a Developmental editor? What is each for, and how do you know how to move forward?

I have noticed that this question is bringing people to my website organically, so I wanted to answer it clearly so that people have that answer.

What is a Writing Coach?

A writing coach, also known as an Author Coach or Book Coach, is a trained coach who helps you through any writing issues. I have helped writers find the time in their busy schedules to write, create a writing routine that works for them, develop their novel ideas, and much more.

What is a Developmental Edit?

A Developmental Edit is an edit that focuses on the story. It is concerned with narrative, consistency, characterisation, dialogue – basically everything but the copy edit! When I provide a Developmental Edit to an author, it consists of my going through the work at least twice, and providing the client with an Editor’s Report and in-text comments and corrections, as well as an hour-long discussion/coaching session afterwards to discuss the work.

What is the difference between a Writing Coach and a Developmental Editor?

The difference is the focus. For example, I am both a Writing Coach and an Editor who offers Developmental Editing. When I am hired to coach, I have a series of sessions with the writer, and we work toward their goals through a series of jointly agreed action points. When I am hired to provide a Developmental Edit, I focus on the draft of a novel and write up an Editor’s Report, instead of live sessions with the author.

What stage should I be in to hire a Writing Coach?

You can be in any stage to hire a Writing Coach, from idea to fifth edit! As a coach, I can focus on whatever you would like to focus on. Sometimes that’s at the very start of a novel and is all about your idea, and how you would like the book to be written. At other times it’s after publication, and you want to work on marketing. As a writing coach, we can work together on any writing goal, however varied.

What stage should I be in to hire a Developmental Editor? 

To hire a Developmental Editor, you need to have a novel pretty much written. It could be that you hire someone to edit at a date a few months into the future, with the understanding that you will have completed the novel by then. However, the most important thing to know is that you will be required to hand over a manuscript to the editor on the agreed-upon date, so get writing!

What are the pros of hiring a Writing Coach?

As a writing coach, I can help you achieve your literary dreams. By holding space for you, identifying action points, and asking the questions that drive you to dig deep, you will leave a session with more clarity and purpose. Ultimately, coaching can help you succeed in your goals.

What are the pros of hiring a Developmental Editor? 

A Developmental Edit can give you expert advice on your novel. It will leave you with a roadmap of how to move forward, what needs improving, and how you can make your story the best it can possibly be.

Can I hire someone to do both?

Yes! In fact, I offer a great deal for someone who is looking for a coach AND an editor. This consists of six months of weekly coaching AND a full Developmental Edit when you are ready. If you want to know more about it, click here to find out –

So, now you know the difference between hiring someone to be a Writing Coach or a Developmental Editor, and what is best for you.

As a Certified Professional Coach, trained by an ICF company and with an ILM Level 2, you can trust that my coaching skills are tried and tested. As a writer with a PhD, MA and BA in Creative Writing, and over six years of lecturing in adult education and at universities, I’m a professional writer specialising in helping others find their way forward. 

Any questions? Feel free to get in touch.

Want to read something similar? Check these out!

What is a Writing Coach?
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How to Get Back Into Writing After a Break

Sometimes we need a holiday, and our writing breaks are planned, and at other times they creep up on us, and we realise that it’s been weeks, or maybe even months, since we last wrote. When that happens, how can we get back into writing after taking a break? Here are five ways. Oh, actually, I’m feeling kind. Have ten!

1) Be kind to yourself. 

It’s okay to take a break from your novel. Seriously – it is. You might have heard about writers who write 1000 words a day with ease and three novels a year, but all that does not matter. Being a prolific writer is how you define it. I try and write 4,000 words a week, but in the last few months, I have had a lot of editing to do as well, so I have split my time between two projects. This means that I’ve been writing more like 2,000 words a week. That’s okay. Whatever your situation, the fact that you are reading this means that you are ready to get back into writing, and that’s great. Be kind to yourself; a writer doesn’t have to write all the time to be a writer.

2) Mindmap. 

Get all of those ideas down on paper – whether they are reasonable, excellent, or you’re not so sure. Just the act of allowing yourself to think through ideas for your work in progress will create new inspiration, ideas, and inspire you to take action.

3) Writing exercises.

One of my favourites. I love to partake in writing exercises to get myself in the writing mood! I teach one of my favourite ways of coming up with novel ideas in my Novel Writing Masterclass, so if you’re a fan of exercises too and want a hand going from idea to publication, go ahead and take a peek!

4) Real-life research. 

From cooking the meals your characters enjoy to saddling up and experiencing their way of travel, there are many ways to enjoy real-life research. You could even sit down to create a map (I love Inkarnate for this). Doing things that relate to your novel but are not writing can help get those creative juices flowing.

5) Re-organise that routine. 

Writing routines change, and that’s okay! It might feel a bit dusty and stilted if you are coming back to an old routine after a break away from writing. Spend some time refreshing that writing routine and working out how you want it to be moving forward. If you want a hand with this, take this fun quiz on my website!

6) Chat to other writers. 

Get involved in the writing community. Whether you join a local writing group, a private Facebook group, or the fabulous writing community on Instagram, there are many wonderful places to find other writers. Within them, you will get accountability, warm conversation, and like-mindedness that’s hard to beat. Plus, there will be others who would like to get back into writing too, so you can share your thoughts with them.

7) Read, read, read.

Remind yourself of your writing passion by picking up those books again and digging in! The more you read, the easier it will be to write. Why? Because through reading we get more entertainment. We get an education on what it is to write, on tropes, grammar, and so much more. Most important of all, we get inspiration.

8) Write your favourite book. 

Well, no, not the exact same book. But, there’s a lot to be said for writing fan fiction if you want to get back into writing. If your creative faucet feels stuck, then slip into a world that you already know, with characters you already love.

9) Re-ignite your passion with a course. 

Writing courses are fantastic for getting us back into the writing spirit. If you are looking for a course to try, give It’s Time to Write Your Novel a go! It’s a 40 class course for only $99 and will take you from procrastination to print.

10) Create an experience. 

We don’t just have to be typing to write. You can create an experience based on your book too. From creating a collage on Pinterest to building a beautiful playlist that transports you straight into your world, there are many ways to develop an experience that will deliver you directly to your novel.

Do you have any to add? If so, I would love to hear them!

Found this useful? Please share it with another writer.

Looking for something similar to read? Check the following out.

3 Things I Did to Level Up My Writing Game
he Reset Week: Investigate Your Writing Process
he Ultimate Guide to Creating Your Writing Routine


How To Get Prepared For NaNoWriMo (Preptober)

November is National Novel Writing Month, a time when people across the world come together (albeit virtually) to stare into their computers and write 50,000 words in one month. So, when October rolls around, it’s time to get prepared. Preptober is a term that the writing community has given to this preparation period! So, how do you take full advantage of Preptober and get ready for NaNoWriMo? Let’s dig in.

Investigate Your Time 

Why do people manage to write more when partaking in NaNoWriMo than on a regular month? The answer is this: They prioritise their writing. Now, it’s much easier to prioritise writing your novel when there is an end in sight (that end being December in this case). However, there is a way to keep that word count growing after November, and it helps for finding the time to write those 50,000 words too. That is the magic of Investigating Your Time. To do this, I would recommend downloading your copy of The Time to Write Workbook. With this workbook, you can learn how to break your week down, create a writing routine that works for you, understand writing areas that you would like to brush up on before November, and set goals. All of this for the price of a cup of coffee? That’s a win-win. 

Create Your NaNoWriMo Survival Kit

Ah yes, the NaNoWriMo survival kit! They will all be a little different, but if you are looking for something to keep you going during those long writing hours, here is what I recommend:

1) A fresh notebook. Ah, the smell of the fresh notebook, there’s nothing like those clean pages just waiting to be filled!

2) Journal. Separate from the notebook, I like to keep a journal to work through any difficulties I am having with the process or personal things that might be keeping me from writing.

3) Caffeine. Because, well…obviously.

4) Candles. It’s all about that mood-setting! 

Confirm Your Goals

The common goal for many NaNoWriMo writers is to hit 50,000 words in one month, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be your goal, or even, your only goal. Set your goals ahead of time, break them down and understand how you will achieve them within those four weeks. The Time to Write Workbook can really help with this, too.

Sign Up on the NaNoWriMo website

When you sign up on the official website, there is a lot to get involved with. From forums to stickers, it is well worth joining in on there and finding your local NaNoWriMo group too. Sharing the experience can make it fun.

Whether Plotting or Pantsing, Get Your Idea Ready

Time is precious, especially when you are trying to write 50,000 words in one month. Save yourself some time in advance by thinking about the writing that you are going to do. If you are not a plotter, you don’t have to turn into one suddenly, but it can help to get a rough outline of your idea down on paper.

Create Your Cover

One of my favourite things to do is to create a mock-up of a book cover on Canva. There’s even space on the NaNoWriMo website for you to share, so have a little fun and visualise that complete and final product.

Find Your Incentives 

It’s time to find out what works for you in terms of incentives and rewards. The more you celebrate those words being written, the more likely you are to sit down next time – rewards are a big part of creating a writing habit, and a habit is precisely what is needed for NaNoWriMo! For me, I’ll be rewarding myself with Dairy Milk, cups of tea, and chapters of a good book.

Download Your Free Trackers!

Yep – if you are looking for a freebie to help you with NaNoWriMo, there’s one right here that I have created for you. Download your tracker/checklist today so that you can print it off and cross out those written words! I have made two, as I know some people like to move forward based on word count and others based on days of writing.

Click here to download a tracker based on writing days.

Click here to download a tracker based on word count.

You’ve got this writer. 

I cannot wait to hear all about your NaNoWriMo project! Get in touch today to tell me what you are writing about. And, if you know of another writer who is also taking part, send this to them so that they can take full advantage of Preptober too.

Looking for a similar read? Check out the following:

3 Things I Did To Level Up My Writing Game
The Time Blocking Tools That Can Help You Write Your Novel
ips and Tricks for Dealing With Procrastination