3 Keys for Setting Writing Goals You Can Actually Stick to in 2018

Hey there, friend! It’s been awhile, but I’m finally back after the holiday whirlwind. I hope you had a very Merry Christmas and happy new year. Can you believe it? It’s 2018! Time to jump back into life; work, writing, housekeeping, school, and all that fun stuff.

If you’re like me, you’re a planner. You like goals. Maybe you’ve already set some goals for yourself in 2018. I know I have a few. But maybe you’re still pondering—or even struggling to figure out what goals you should set. After all, it’s one thing to set goals, and another to actually stick to them.

2017: A Year in Review

We all have a lot of goals in life. Goals pertaining to fitness, health, family, relationships, education, and all kinds of great things. But today, I want to focus on writing.

Last year, 2017, was kind of a rebuilding year for me. Starting out, my writing life suffered. Partially, I blame full-time work and new marriage, but mostly I blame my familiar, monotonous view of the craft. I’d lost touch with what was driving me to write—my creative passion. Wonder. Magic. But as the year wore on, I began to rediscover that, oh yes, it was still alive.

Don’t get me wrong, writing was still difficult. I didn’t finish any big projects. But I learned some valuable lessons—many of which led me to write this post.

Once the flame of passion and creativity had been rekindled, it was time to find balance with the rest of life’s responsibilities. Over the past year, I’ve learned more and more that being a committed and successful writer is all about learning to manage one’s time.

And on that note, let’s talk goals.

Setting Writing Goals for 2018

We’ve all got the desire to move our lives in an upward trajectory—and that includes our writing. Perhaps you’ve got a goal of publishing, finishing a draft of your novel, or even just writing a little bit every day. Whatever the case, I want to talk about three keys to setting writing goals you can actually stick to.


First off, it’s important to consider your situation and stage in life. What commitments do you have? What nonnegotiable responsibilities put demands on your time? Goals should be ambitious. They should be challenging. But they should also be realistic—at least, if you don’t want to drive yourself mad.

Maybe publishing is a bit out of your zone for the next 365 days. It certainly is out of mine. But that’s okay. Perhaps a better goal for you would be to finish the current draft of your WIP so you can move to the editing phase? If you have a hectic work schedule, don’t try to write 1,000 words per day. Instead, write 200.

Be intentional about setting goals that will force you to stretch, but aren’t entirely out of the realm of achievement.


When going somewhere new, you consult a map. And just like your GPS will increase your likelihood of reaching your destination, mapping your goals will increase the probability that you will achieve them.

This was, perhaps, the biggest lightbulb of 2017 for me. Life is busy. Duh, right? But despite the hustle, it is possible to achieve balance. It is possible to make progress. It’s possible to still be a writer. It just takes discipline.

Balancing your life as a writer can be tricky, but I promise you—you have more free time than you realize. And setting up a schedule is a great way to find exactly where that time is hiding, as well as create more.


Scheduling your goals is like drinking a magic potion for your productivity. Intentionally blocking out time each day to take steps toward your goal is a game-changer. After all, you can’t eat an elephant all at once. But you can eat it all—if you have a plan.

A good plan takes shape in the form of mini-goals. Want to write a novel? Write 500 words every day. Want to write 500 words per day? Write for half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the evening. Want to find a publisher? Do a little bit of research each day, and maybe send one email each week.

Set one goal for yourself each day that’s so small, it’s impossible to fail at. Little by little, your progress needle will move. Your word-count will grow, and your projects will take shape.

Let’s chat!

  • What is your #1 writing goal for 2018?
  • Do you have a roadmap of mini-goals planned for how you can achieve it?
  • What was your biggest lesson on writing from 2017?

Hey! If you enjoyed this post, please leave a comment and share it with a friend, or reply on Facebook or Twitter. I’d love to hear about your goals!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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6 thoughts on “3 Keys for Setting Writing Goals You Can Actually Stick to in 2018

  1. Great Job Emily. Great job. Hard to believe this is you and at the same time it’s not. I enjoy reading your posts. Keep it up.

    • Hey! Long time no talk. Great to see you here. 🙂 Thanks for reading and I’m glad you enjoyed it! Hope to see you again sometime.

  2. Thank you for writing this post! I am a Junior in Highschool and for THREE YEARS I have been trying to finish my book. Thank you for all of your advice! It’s really helpful. 😉

    • Hey, Jenna! Wow, that is some serious commitment! I definitely wrote more than I do now when I was in high school, but finishing something was still a difficult task. You’ve got this, girl!