Thursday, July 26, 2012

What are you doing with the Rest of Your Life: Intermediate Goals

Last week we discussed the concept of a long-term goal. We compared it to taking a trip. You need to know the destination otherwise you're likely to end up someplace you don't want to be. But experienced traveler knows that having a destination is not enough. You need a plan to get to that destination. This plan will include many intermediate destinations. They are not the final goal. However, they are places you must reach before you get to that final destination.

Likewise, with your writing goals you need midrange targets. So, how do you determine how you reach those intermediate destinations?

To determine your midrange goal, you must ask yourself one simple question. What do I need to accomplish in order to achieve my long-term goal.

For instance, if your goal is to become a full-time freelance writer, what things do you have to do to prepare for that. For instance, you are not going to quit your job hammer out a couple of stories in a week to get a paycheck at the end of the month. One of the things you're going to have to do is have some sort of income during the year to year and a half that it will take to build up a stable revenue stream from your freelance work. So, your list might look something like this:

  • Save six months income
  • Cultivate at least five steady writing clients
  • Develop at least twenty article queries to begin circulating
  • Develop a marketing package for my business 

You may have several of these midrange goals that you have to accomplish first before you reach your ultimate goal. For instance, if your goal is to write a novel, your list might look something like this.

  • Write character dossiers
  • Write short descriptions of each scene in the novel
  • Research any aspects of the novel that need a factual basis
  • Write a first draft of the novel
  • Edit the first draft of the novel
  • Prepare the final copy of the novel

Now, the above list is based largely on my process when I right or not. Obviously, everybody's process is different. But whatever your process, it can be broken down into a number of discrete steps. Each of these steps constitutes an intermediate goal.

In my case, my five year goal is to produce half my income from freelance writing and teaching activities. So, here are a few of my intermediate goals:

  • Complete 10 novels over the next five years at a rate of two a year
  • Self publish five mini-ebooks a year on a variety of how-to and self-help subjects. 
  • Develop at least four writing courses to be taught online
  • Develop a marketing website for my writing business
  • Develop local writing clients
  • Develop and monetize the Keeping Up with Tech website. 

Okay, so now you have developed your intermediate or midrange goals which will bring you closer to your long-term goal. Next time, we will discuss the short term goals you need to establish to operationalize the whole process.

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