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How to Stop Procrastinating and Attain Your Writing Goals

Stop Procrastinating and Attain Your Writing Goals by Janalyn Voigt

I overcame my procrastination and lived to tell about it.

Writing that sentence reminds me how far I’ve come as a writer. I don’t have life neatly sewn up in a bag, but I have learned valuable skills that helped me become a traditionally-published and agented writer at a time when that’s remarkable. I can’t claim entire credit for my accomplishments (since much of went into achieving them lay outside my control) or promise you the same results. However, had I not followed the practices listed below, I would not have succeeded. The flip side of the same coin is setting and attaining your writing goals. I’ll cover why goals are important and give you a glimpse of the ones I set for myself.

  • Self-control: When a local homeschool group invited me to write a newsletter article on how to teach children how to apply the Biblical fruit of the Spirit to their lives, I took on the challenge. The only problem was that I didn’t really know how to do this myself. I scoured Scripture for passages and discovered an amazing truth. No matter which fruit I studied ( love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control), the answer was always the same. Parents are to teach their children by example. That message hit me between the eyes in a life-changing way. Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit, and the one I most lacked whenever I gave way to procrastination. This led me to the next tool on this list.
  • Prayer: I took my deficiencies to God in prayer and asked for help. It sounds simple, and it is. That’s not to say this solution is simplistic. One of the reasons prayer is so powerful is that it changes the person praying for the better.
  • Will Power: Freedom of choice can be a friend or enemy, depending upon an act of the will. All the solutions in the world won’t amount to anything without a commitment.
  • Habit: Knowing my tendency to let distractions turn my head, I set up routines to keep me on track. Not everyone can keep as tight a schedule as I do, but even a loose routine is better than none.
  • Accountability: Being self-motivated, I use this tool less than some, and now deadlines mostly take the place of accountability partners. It’s still a good practice, especially when you have no deadlines yet, to take advantage of opportunities for accountability. Having someone waiting to read what you write, as in the case of critique partners, is a great way to develop self-discipline.
  • Goals: If you’ve ever embarked upon a spontaneous day trip that didn’t turn out, you already have an idea of why it’s best not to leave your writing journey to chance. Viewing writing as a career choice clarifies the need to set and maintain viable goals. Can you imagine any other company leaving its products and expansion tactics to whim? A successful business researches and reaches its target audience in manageable ways. It positions itself for maximum impact and establishes a brand identity to shortcut finding its products for customers. It takes its resources into account to set a marketing strategy and adheres to its plan. Writing at a professional level means going into a business. It means setting, maintaining, and monitoring goals.
  • Setting Goals: Use the S.M.A.R.T. system to set writing goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timed. I’ll write in more detail about goal-setting in future posts. For our purposes here, suffice it to say that specific goals contain details that pull them out of the ether and make them measurable so you know when you attain them. They lie within your power. For example, I could not set goals to become published or find agent reputation because attainment rested on the decisions of others. Those were my dreams. Goals should also have a time designation (or deadline). Increments often used are lifetime, 5-years, 3-years, 1-year, monthly, weekly, and daily.

I’d love you to sound off and let me know your thoughts. What writing goals do you plan to set?

Written by Janalyn Voigt

Janalyn Voigt

© Janalyn Voigt
Join Live Write Breathe

I’m Janalyn Voigt, an author, speaker, and former social media mentor. DawnSinger and Wayfarer, the first two books in my epic fantasy series, Tales of Faeraven, released with Pelican Book Group and will be followed by at least two more installments. I’m also working on a romantic suspense novel set in an Irish castle, but then historical fiction has a grip on me too. Being unabashedly multi-genre makes me into what some might term a reluctant rebel, but I prefer to think of myself as a storyteller.

14 thoughts on “How to Stop Procrastinating and Attain Your Writing Goals”

  1. Thank you for this!!! I have spent the last few months planning (procrastinating) about a goal to finish 3 short stories to include in a self-published anthology by the end of August. (My FIRST ever short story has been included in an anthology to be published June 2019!!) This is new to me, I’m a Playwright-producing 2 plays a year. I think putting incremental deadlines for each short story will be the key to completing them on time.

  2. These are all great reminders of what is necessary to succeed. Commitment. Habit. Accountability. I especially like your points about what it takes to be a successful business. Personally, I need to re-commit to a set of writing goals I made several months ago — finish a fantasy short story collection. Thank you for the post!

  3. Great bullet points to remember! As I am just beginning the writing journey, homeschooling my kiddos and doing the usual keep-me-busy daily routines, these are great. PLUS, my kids just went through a month and a half series in Church about Fruits of the Spirit so this is very timely.

    Thanks! 🙂


    1. You’re welcome, Joleen! I’m happy to help a beginning writer. It’s quite a journey, and I’m happy to be part of yours.

      1. And we live so close to each other. Always a fun thing to realize there really are other authors around you.

          1. So sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you! No, at the moment I don’t belong to a writing group. I have met members of the NWCA, I just haven’t made it down to one of their meetings yet. So far, I’m just a part of ACWA; it’s how I found you. 🙂

          2. Hi, Joleen! I hope you will be able to find a local group. I’ve found mine beneficial to my writing career and have formed lifelong friendships.

          3. Joleen, if you don’t have a writing group near you, consider starting one. All it takes is one other writer willing to invest a little time in growing together. It can be as simple or complicated as you make it. I once met once a week for about a year with another writer for lunch at a local restaurant.

    2. Jolene, I went to your website and clicked the Pinterest pin to follow you but it came back “Page Not Found.” What’s your Pinterest URL?

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